By: Luke Wondolowski
After a great defensive game on Monday night, the Browns look to start a win streak on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams. The Browns won Monday night by a score of 23-3, while the Rams won in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game from last year, taking down the the Saints by a score of 27-9. There’s a lot of anticipation for this game, which is why it’s Sunday’s feature game, with the Browns serving as an up-and-coming team and the Rams being an established NFL force under head coach Sean McVay.
The Browns have been shredded by the injury bug this week. The Browns have a bunch of questionable for the Sunday night game. Both tight end David Njoku and linebacker Christian Kirksey were placed on the IR. Njoku could return after 8 weeks but Kirksey is done for the season with what’s believed to be a torn pectoral muscle. Just this morning ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that cornerback Denzel Ward is not expected to play with a hamstring injury. Greedy Willams has dealt with a hamstring injury this week as well but should be ready to play. The Browns also won’t have Damarious Randall or Kendall Lamm. For the Rams, the only notable injury is a major one as Aaron Donald is listed as questionable with a back injury.
By the numbers: 360.5 ypg This stat is a bit alarming. For an offense that was so hyped up all off-season, the Browns have not yet lived up to their potentia. There are currently 14 teams ranked ahead of the Browns in total yards per game, including the Bengals who are projected as the bottom feeders of the AFC North. This week will serve as a good test for their offense against the defending NFC champs.
Here are 3 keys to the game in order to make their record 2-1, not 1-2.
1) Offense finding an identity
As stated before the offense is still working on their game, but when they come out very flat against the Titans then mosied along to score just 23 points against the Jets it’s a bit concerning. Baker Mayfield, needs to have be at his best against the Rams or things will only get from bad to worse. Additionally, Freddie Kitchens needs to get Nick Chubb more involved than he has through the first two weeks.
2) OBJ getting going
Odell needs to find a way out to get clear from a very good secondary. Sure he had a touchdown last week but he needs to do more and that means Mayfield needs to look his way even more than he already has. If you get the ball to your biggest playmaker good things are going to happen and the Browns will need some explosive plays to keep up with the Rams offense.
3) Defense needs to stay consistent
The defense is amazing already, but this will be a good week to test them, especially with some key members of that unit missing with injuries. They are going against a very high powered offensive unit in the Rams. If they play like how they played against the Jets they may be able to hang in there with LA. But if they revert back to the defense we saw in Week One, it’s gonna be a long game.
Where to watch: The game will be on NBC if you are watching it on tv, and you can always listen to it on 98.5 or 92.3 FM.