Writer: Dan Gilinsky
The last Browns game, in terms of the offensive side of things, was just what the doctor ordered. Baker Mayfield didn’t look like a Hall of Famer, no, but he was a different player in comparison to the Ravens blowout L in Week 1 and had a QBR of 98.1.
Cleveland and head coach Kevin Stefanski leaned heavily on the run game, as Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 32 rushes for 210 yards, and those were anything but empty. Granted, the Bengals defense is not close to the Ravens’ elite one, but the offense got the job done, and the offensive line did not allow a single hit on Mayfield.
In this Week 3 matchup against the Washington Football Team, I expect the Cleveland Browns to take care of business again. Washington had eight sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles in a stunning Week 1 comeback, and while their d-line had a 180 performance against Kyler Murray and the Cards in Week 2, the Browns won’t not allow a QB hit.
Nonetheless, the Orange and Brown should be able to keep things plenty on-script here with extra time to prepare. And Chubb and Hunt could feasibly have some nice screen and/or delay production in this one against Chase Young, Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat and company. Austin Hooper could very well get going more here, in addition, and could get in the end zone for the first time as a Brown via play-action.
On the defensive end, while I’m probably higher on Dwayne Haskins than most, this Washington offense isn’t loaded with playmakers aside from Terry McLaurin, and their offensive line has conceded the third-highest QB pressure rate thus far in the league, per Pro Football Focus. With that in mind, and I see the Browns jumping out to an early lead, Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson and the d-line will be licking their chops here.
I’d expect Karl Joseph to be especially active in the box in this one as well, and the defense gets another strip sack this week, while the linebackers rebound from Week 2. Unless the offense has two or more turnovers, I personally see the Browns winning this one going away, and I do NOT predict that often. Enjoy this one, Browns fans.
Week 4 at Dallas could definitely be a rough one.
Prediction: Cleveland 28, Washington 14