The Cleveland Browns travel to Mile High for an important Week 9 showdown with the Denver Broncos. Cleveland are in desperate need of a good performance after hitting a slump with three straight losses. Perhaps more than anyone, Freddie Kitchens needs a win here.
You can argue that’s Baker Mayfield, but regardless of what happens the rest of this season, Mayfield is going to be the starting quarterback for the Browns next season. It’s tough to say that Kitchens will be the head coach of the Browns next year if the season continues to trend south.
Kitchens is working with enough talent on this team to garner good results. Whether Baker is the guy or not, the Browns still have the services of Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Nick Chubb. That’s a nice core that Kitchens should be able to work around. There is no secret that the Browns have to focus on improving their offensive line in the offseason.
Baker has been under fire in the pocket, and he isn’t able to roll out as much as he did in college to complete a big play. He did it all the time at Oklahoma, and even to an extent last season, Baker was able to roll out and find receivers. With a year under his belt and tape out on the guy, defenses aren’t allowing that, though.
If the Browns come in ill-prepared after their loss against the Patriots, expect the Broncos to frustrate Baker all afternoon. For the Broncos to get a win, that’s going to have to happen. The defense must take control Sunday afternoon, because don’t expect much out of Brandon Allen.
Allen, who will be making his first start in the NFL on Sunday, has bounced around since coming into the league in 2016 with the Jaguars. Denver is his third destination after spending time with the Jags and Rams. He hasn’t taken a snap in the regular season, but that’s going to change on Sunday. Head below for our free Browns vs. Broncos pick.
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Brandon Allen is best known for his time at Arkansas with the Razorbacks. NFL fans aren’t going to know who he is, for the most part, but people that watch SEC football is aware of who Allen is. He wasn’t much of a game changer at Arkansas, but was capable enough and put up some pretty nice stats. In his final season at Arkansas, Allen threw for 30 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
As a junior, Allen threw for 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Passing for that in the SEC will get the attention of scouts. And while he hasn’t impressed his coaches at the NFL level, he parlayed that college career into an NFL paycheck.
Allen can get the attention of the Broncos’ coaching staff with a nice performance against the Browns in this spot. His only professional experience has come in the preseason. Allen struggled to generate much offense against backups in his time on the field in the preseason.
He was working with backups himself offensively, though it isn’t like the Broncos are surrounding him with talent to target in this game. Their biggest downfield threat, Emmanuel Sanders, was traded to the 49ers so that doesn’t help Allen out here. He was not sharp in the preseason against backup defenders.
Allen passed for no touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The preseason finale was a bad outing against a bad Texans’ defense. Teams dig into their third-team in the last preseason game and Allen failed to come out of it with any positives. He passed for 120 yards with 2 interceptions.
Philip Lindsay appeared on the injury report this week, but should be given the green light for Sunday. Expect a heavy dose of Lindsay and Royce Freeman in this contest. Heads will roll in Cleveland if the Browns can’t neutralize this offense and Baker doesn’t get into a groove in Denver.
Myles Garrett is likely going to have a field day against a Broncos’ offensive line which isn’t too great. They’ve had issues on the line this season, and they’re going to look worse with Allen at quarterback. He’s likely going to hold onto the ball too long and the Browns should be able to force errors. The Broncos have a top-5 defense, but they’re likely going to be put into bad field position often. They will also be without linebacker Corey Nelson after he landed on the IR. Look for the Browns to take advantage of no Flacco at QB, as they win in a must-win spot by a touchdown or so.