Top 3 keys to victory for Cleveland Browns vs Rams in Week 13

• Competent quarterback play

• Establish the run game

• Defense needs to continue to lead the way

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Cleveland Browns / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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1. The defense needs to carry the load yet again

Since the return of the franchise in 1999, Cleveland has not had a better defense than it does right now. They lead the league in giving up the fewest yards this season and that is due to how this unit was reconstructed in the offseason. There were a lot of key moves made that are paying off nicely for Andrew Berry and company.

With the additions of Dalvin Tomlinson, Za'Darius Smith, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, and Shelby Harris, Myles Garrett has lined up with the best defensive line of his career. In turn, Garrett is in contention for NFL Defensive Player of the Year and should be in MVP talks, even if he doesn't win the award. He hasn't practiced this week but is looking to play after a shoulder injury. He was doing pushups on a medicine ball at practice with no visible discomfort, so that's a good sign.

If Garrett doesn't go on Sunday afternoon, this team has plenty of quality depth that can help pick up the slack. This team will also be motivated - both galvanizing around Garrett should he play or play for him in his absence - and the fact they gave up 29 points to a not-so-great Denver defense. The last time the Browns thought they played a bad game was in Seattle when the Seahawks marched down the field with ease for a game-winning drive.

Grant Delpit, who is having a Pro Bowl season, acknowledged that this unit hasn't played that well on the road, but vows they'll be better. One reason he has confidence in that is the fact that the Browns stayed out west this week, as opposed to coming home and then flying right back out. This allows the team to further cement bonds and chemistry, as well as having fresh legs.

The Rams have weapons galore on offense, including wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Puka Nakua, but the key matchup in this game will be linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah vs running back Kyren Williams. Typically, JOK would be used as a spy for opposing mobile quarterbacks, and since Matthew Stafford is not that, Williams fills that role nicely. JOK is third in the NFL in tackles for loss, only behind Maxx Crosby and Danielle Hunter, and that could be a major x-factor if he can get to Williams early and limit his gains.

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