It used to be that a trip to Cleveland in the NFL would be looked like a game to mark off for an easy win, no second thought whatsoever.
This season, however, the Cleveland Browns have the look of a potential playoff contender. At 5-2, it would hard to say otherwise.
Admittedly, though, they’ve beaten teams with a combined record of 9-18-1. Against top AFC teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the Browns been blown out.
It’s interesting, since while the Las Vegas Raiders will be on the road, their marquee wins this year could lead them to be the favorite.
They’ll be catching the Browns minus arguably their two best players on offense, running back Nick Chubb and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The Cleveland offense as a whole ranks No. 10 on the NFL.
It helps when despite those injuries, that quarterback Baker Mayfield can still rely on players like Kareem Hunt, Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, and David Njoku.
That’s been new head coach Kevin Stefanski’s biggest improvement so far, finding more consistency with Cleveland’s offensive approach.
Defensively, while the Browns have forced the most turnovers in the league with 14, they also have given up an average of 31.6 points per game, fourth-worst in the league.
The talent is there with players like Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward, but the results so far have been lacking.
It could serve as an opportunity for the Raiders offense to perform closer to the way it did in a 40-32 upset of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Considering that the Raiders are one of the few teams that give up more points than the Browns, they probably will have to score that much to have a chance to win.
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