The Las Vegas Raiders will be looking to get back over .500 this week when they travel to Cleveland to take on the 5-2 Browns.
As stated in my first preview, though, the Raiders will be catching Cleveland without arguably their two best offensive weapons -- running back Nick Chubb and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
There’s a reason that this offense still ranks as the 10th-best scoring offense in the league, however.
That’s because quarterback Baker Mayfield can still rely on targets such as Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Austin Hooper and Kareem Hunt.
It also helps that Cleveland’s new head coach Kevin Stefanski has focused the offense on a run first approach.
Aided by new additions to their offensive line like 10th overall pick Jedrick Willis Jr. and former All-Pro Jack Conklin, the Browns have managed the third best rushing offense in the league.
Many pundits would say this emphasis on running the football would be to cover for Mayfield’s shortcomings.
Coming off a sophomore season in which he turned the ball over 23 times and largely disappointed, Mayfield has been up and down this season, tied for second in the league in interceptions with seven.
He even threw an interception on his first throw last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Mayfield found a way to rebound, though, and completed 21 of his next 22 passes with five touchdowns to lead Cleveland to a win.
Coming off a performance like that, the Raiders can’t take it for granted that if they’re able to stop the run that Mayfield won’t find a way to beat them.
That Mayfield was capable of that kind of performance without his best receiver again speaks to the depth of Cleveland’s skill position players.
It all adds up to another challenging game for the Raiders defense, which seemingly can’t find a way to catch a break while they’re struggling.
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