This Sunday at 1pm the Cleveland Browns will return from the bye week to host the San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns Stadium. San Francisco is undefeated in 2023 and coming off an impressive Sunday Night 42-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers are arguably the best team in the NFC. They have a top 5 ranked defense in the NFL with an excellent pass rush. And their offense led by quarterback Brock Purdy is ranked in the top 5 of the NFL as well. This game will be a litmus test for Browns playoff contention. However, the Browns did go into the bye week with injury concerns.
Following the week 4 home loss to the Ravens, quarterback Deshaun Watson was nursing his sore throwing shoulder. DE Myles Garrett left the game in a walking boot. C Ethan Pocic was on crutches for a knee injury and had a chest injury. The bye week gave the team the right opportunity to get healthy. Deshaun Watson did not practice outdoors with the team last Monday. He also didn’t practice on Wednesday. Guard Joel Bitonio did not practice on Wednesday either. Bitonio and Watson are both listed as day to day. It has been reported that Watson has a Rotator Cuff Contusion. If he can’t play, then the more experienced backup QB PJ Walker will get the start. TE David Njoku (burns) and DE Myles Garrett (foot) missed practice on Wednesday too and are considered day to day. C Ethan Pocic did participate in Wednesday’s practice.
Some Browns fans are going into this game pessimistic about their teams’ chances against one of the NFL’s top teams. Other Browns fans are feeling optimistic knowing that the Browns have a top 5 NFL defense and if Deshaun Watson can play? He can play well enough to win the game. The Browns offense has been missing running back Nick Chubb’s production. Also, with Chubb out for the year. opposing defenses have less to account for when they game plan against the Browns offense. The Browns do have some advantage playing at home and coming off a bye week. Even though San Francisco has yet to lose a game this season. But we have seen it many times as regular NFL viewers. Anything can happen on any given Sunday. Also keep in mind after this Sunday’s game, the Browns schedule does get more favorable. It will get better for the Browns when the team and Deshaun Watson get healthier.