3 keys to victory for the Cleveland Browns vs Denver Broncos in Week 12

    The Cleveland Browns can find themselves at 8-3 with these 3 keys to victory.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns are gearing up for their trip to the Rockies for their Week 12 matchup against the Denver Broncos in the Mile High City. The Browns and Broncos are no strangers, having faced one another 31 times since 1970. Cleveland has fallen to Denver 24 times in those meetings, including the historic heartbreak known simply as ‘The Drive’ which kept the Browns from advancing to the Super Bowl in 1987. 

Cleveland has won their last three games, and according to Lou Brown, that's a winning streak. The Browns will once again rely on their defense to take a majority of the load while Rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robison looks to keep the ball moving on offense and put Cleveland in a position to get points on the board.

Here are three keys to a Cleveland Browns victory this Sunday in Denver: 

3. Don’t Let Russ Ride

Russell Wilson has been terrorizing defenses around the league for over a decade, and despite a few bumpy seasons as of recent, Wilson is still the playmaker he was in Seattle. This season, Wilson is averaging 206.5 passing yards per game and is completing a career-high 69 percent of his passes. Not only can Wilson sling it through the air, but he can still get out of the pocket and hurt teams with his legs. On 42 rushes, Russ has scrambled for 232 yards, 22 first downs, and is averaging 5.5 yards per rush. 

  • 10 Games 
  • 205/297 Passes Completed (69% Completion Percentage)
  • 2,065 Passing Yards (7.0 Yards Per Attempt)
  • 94 First Downs 
  • 19 Touchdowns 
  • 4 Interceptions
  • 42 Rushes 
  • 232 Rushing Yards (5.5 Yards per Per Attempt)
  • 22 First Downs 
  • 5 Fumbles 

Cleveland needs to make Russell Wilson feel the pressure early and force the veteran quarterback to hurry his passes and make critical mistakes. Cleveland’s top-ranked defense will need to lock in on Wilson, who has been sacked 32 times through 11 games, 12 of which have come in the last three weeks, and have another sack-filled Sunday.   

2. Ground Denver's Pass Game 

Denver’s one-two-punch combo of Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy has been the talk of the NFL since 2020. The duo has a combined 80 receptions for 929 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. While Sutton has brought in more receptions and all but one of the nine receiving touchdowns, Jeudy averages 1.2 yards per catch more than his counterpart. Cleveland’s secondary will be without star cornerback Denzel Ward, who will miss multiple weeks with a shoulder injury but has plenty of talent to step up into Ward’s role and keep the duo out of the endzone. 

The Browns will need to continue to lock down opposing receivers, keeping the ball out of the air and making the Broncos rely on their running backs to move the ball. Denver’s run game, on the other hand, has rushed for just 1,102 yards this year and only reached the endzone once, but has the seventh highest yards per carry average at 4.5 YPC. 

1. Keep DTR Comfortable

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the Rookie quarterback out of UCLA, is making his third start of the season in place of Deshaun Watson, who will miss the remainder of the 2023 season after requiring surgery on his right shoulder. Thompson-Robinson's first start in the NFL didn’t go as planned, completing 19 of his 36 passes for 121 yards and three interceptions in the Week four loss against the Ravens.

DTR made the second start and first win of his career last week against the Steelers, and the 24-year-old quarterback looked far more relaxed facing the Pittsburgh defense. While his numbers were only slightly improved from his debut, Thompson-Robinson threw just one interception. 

If the Browns offensive line can keep the pressure off DTR long enough for him to execute quick passes that will move the chains, and the offensive playmakers can help their quarterback by coming back to passes, the Browns will be able to put themselves into scoring position. 

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