Enemy Intel - Cleveland Browns vs. WFT
The Washington Football Team is set to take on the Cleveland Browns this Sunday in northeast Ohio.
Both teams sit at 1-1, and have seen some highs and lows this season. Cleveland was shellacked by the Baltimore Ravens in week one, but righted the ship last week against Cincinnati.
Washington on the other hand is licking its wounds after a thorough beating in Arizona.
Now the teams square off this Sunday in Cleveland at 1pm, and we got you covered here at Washington Football at SI.com. In our third installment of the Enemy Intel series, I take an in-depth look at Washington’s opponent, so you don’t have to. I will look at projected win totals, dig in to key losses/additions and find key quotes that relate to the Washington Football Team.
Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Vegas Projected Wins: 8.5 Wins
2019 Record: 6-10, 3rd in the AFC North
Offensive Ranks, 2020: 28th Passing, 2nd Rushing, 16th Overall
Defensive Ranks, 2020: 27th Passing, 6th Rushing, 17th Overall
LT Jedrick Wills Jr. (10th Overall Pick), TE Austin Hooper, RB Kareem Hunt (retained, second-round tender), QB Case Keenum, FB Andy Janovich (via trade), T Jack Conklin, TE Austin Hooper, S Karl Joseph, DI Andrew Billings, CB Kevin Johnson, S Andrew Sendejo, EDGE Adrian Clayborn
S Damarious Randall, LB Joe Schobert, CB T.J. Carrie, T Greg Robinson
What they are saying:
Baker Mayfield, on Washington’s Defensive line, complements of ClevelandBrowns.com:
"They're really good up front," Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said. "That's the challenge for us. The game starts up front, and we have to bring the intensity, and they have great players all around. We have to find completions, get the ball out and establish our run game. We can't let them be the game-wreckers."
Players to Watch:
- Mayfield’s hot first half propelled his team to a win in the “Battle of Ohio” last week. The quarterback was 11/14 for 161 yards and two touchdowns before deferring to his running backs after halftime.
- Speaking of running backs, Cleveland has a dynamic duo in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The pair combined for 34 attempts, 217 yards and three touchdowns last week. Chubb was second in the league in rushing last season, and now has 12 career games of over 100 yards.
- Tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. is finding his place as the starting left tackle for the Cleveland Browns. The 10th overall pick played his collegiate career at Alabama, where he mostly played right tackle, and ended his time in Tuscaloosa with 28 straight starts. He now faces off against the vaunted Washington front four, which leads the league in sacks. He suffered a leg injury in week one against the Ravens, but played every snap against the Bengals.
- Key free agent Jack Conklin will return to the lineup after sitting out week two with an ankle injury. The former Tennessee Titan is known for being one of the most physical right tackles in the game, and is a former All-Pro. His strength is running blocking, which coincides with what Cleveland wants to do on offense.
- Chase Young isn’t the only rookie defensive tackle making a name for himself. Third-round pick Jordan Elliott heads into Week 3 as the league’s second best rookie defensive lineman according to PFF. His current PFF grade of 78.2 is slightly behind Young’s at 81.1
- Edge rusher Myles Garrett is still a force to reckon with. He is tied for second in pass-rush win rate with Joey Bosa at 26%, second only to T.J. Watt (32%). He will pose a problem to an embattled Washington offensive line.
This Sunday’s matchup against the Browns will be a true test for Washington’s defensive front. Although the more glamorous players such as Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry generate headlines, it's Chubb who truly is the engine to Cleveland’s offense.
The standout runner had 1494 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season. This year he ranks fourth in the NFL with 184 yards and three touchdowns, behind only Adam Jones (234), Derrick Henry (200) and Ezekiel Elliott (185). He could easily be higher on this list, but the Cleveland coaches allowed for Hunt to close out the game last week. Chubb is a true workhorse and three-down back.
Can Washington’s defensive line stop a premier rusher? We have yet to see them tested in this regard. However, Washington should do a better job containing a more conventional offense this week.
In terms of Washington's offense, this where the concern truly lies. The team comes into the game ranked 31st overall and has a difficult time generating chunk plays. In fact, Washington’s 358 passing yards is second worst in the league. Washington needs the passing game clicking in order to match the output of the Browns.
This game will be difficult for the Burgundy and Gold. Cleveland has the capability to flip the field with Beckham Jr. and the speed of Hunt. They also have reliable pass-catchers in Austin Hooper and Landry. So the Washington defense must be truly smothering, and allow for the offense to play on a short field. Something that may be a common theme this season.
Ultimately, I think this team is better than what we saw in Arizona. I think Kyler Murray is simply playing at another level and their unique style of play caught Washington off guard. However, the Browns have too much fire power for Washington to keep up. I’m thinking 24-17 Cleveland, and Washington falls to 1-2.
Westgate Sportsbook: Over/Under 45. Browns -7
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George Carmi joined "Washington Football" on SI.com in April. He is also an editor/contributing writer to FullPressCoverage.com or @FPC_Redskins. He is a native of the DC metropolitan area and is an avid fan of DC Sports. A former journalism major at the University of Maryland, his focus is now in public education. His earliest memories consist of Darrell Green, "The Posse" and Super Bowl XXVI. Follow him on twitter @Gcarmi21