I’ve said for two years that Nick Chubb is the MVP of the Cleveland Browns. After sitting out the last several weeks recovering from a minor MCI knee injury, the Browns star running back is back and should help steady the ship as the Browns move into the second half of the season. Add in a recovered right guard Wyatt Teller, tight end Austin Hooper and the Browns should be looking at an equally successful part two of the season.
It’s always funny to me to hear Browns fans always talk of how this is a “must-win” game. To be honest, Browns fans say that about every game. In years past, winning was much more remote, like that mirage you see in the desert. This year, however, the Browns legitimately have a realistic chance at a playoff berth, especially since the NFL has added an extra wild card team to allow seven teams from each league into the playoffs.
So having Nick Chubb back will only enhance the Browns chances at the playoffs. Outside of running back Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans, Nick Chubb is the best running back in the NFL. This season, Chubb was off to a fantastic start in his first four games. In the Browns wins against the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Football Team, he had four touchdown runs and ran for over 230 yards.
When Chubb runs well, the Browns do well. They can control the game clock and manage the game better. Without Chubb in the lineup, the Browns haven’t had a single rushing touchdown in any game. Teammate running back Kareem Hunt has caught a couple of touchdowns and run the ball decently in Chubb’s absence. But getting the workhorse Chubb back in the lineup will help.
Leading the blocking for Chubb will be right guard Wyatt Teller, who has been sidelined as well with a calf injury. Before Teller exited the Dallas Cowboys game, he’d graded out at a 94.9 (according to PFF). The best single-game run-block grade in six years.
Add in tight end Austin Hooper, who was out after having his appendix taken out, should fortify the Browns’ offensive ways. Before he was sidelined, Hooper became more of a consistent target of the Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. In the Browns big win against the Indianapolis Colts, Hooper had five catches that helped move the chains for 1st downs several times.
The Browns are standing at 5-3, one of the best starts for them in recent memory. As I mentioned in my last article about how the Browns defense should aim to force more turnovers to help the Browns’ winning ways, having Chubb, Teller and Hooper back can only help the Browns offense as well.
One note on the game against the Houston Texans.
The weather, like in the game two weeks ago against the Las Vegas Raiders, will be very unpredictable especially with wind gusts of 40 to 50 MPH. I look for both teams to run the ball a lot early and expect the Browns, with Chubb leading the way in carries, will really help control the game clock and eventually win the game. In the Browns’ five wins this season, they have scored 30 points or more. However, I just don’t see that in this game against the Texans especially with the predicted weather forecast.
My prediction: Browns beat the Texans in a windy affair, 26-17.