A big measuring stick is in town this week for the Cleveland Browns. For the first time since 2008, the Browns will be playing in primetime on Sunday Night Football. That’s what the presence of Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham can do for a team. Instead of getting caught up in the attention this week, Baker must be focused on the monumental challenge that he has coming his way.
He was able to handle the spotlight at Oklahoma, but this is the biggest game of his NFL career. It’s not coming against any regular team, either. The defending NFC Champion, Los Angeles Rams, will be at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday night.
The Browns will be back home for the first time since their embarrassing performance against the Titans in Week 1. They got beat up by a score of 43-13 for a shoddy effort by the Browns to open the season. The Browns just didn’t look prepared to play and may have taken the Titans lightly in that one.
Taking the Rams lightly would be kind of hard to do. However, the Rams looking at the Browns as a free pass would be easier to explain. Having said that, the Browns were able to respond on Monday night with a nice win.
Cleveland got out of New York with a 23-3 victory. After Trevor Siemian went down early in the game, it was clear coasting from there for the Browns. Or, I should probably say, after Sam Darnold caught mono, the Browns had a clear path to a win on Monday night. The Browns didn’t need to do much offensively, but it was a big night for Odell Beckham.
Beckham went off for 161 yards and a touchdown on 6 receptions. With Jarvis Landry opposite Beckham, it places a lot of stress on the secondary to defend. The absence of tight end David Njoku hurts, though. He was a nice option underneath for Mayfield until he broke his wrist against the Jets. The Rams will be out a tight end as well, with Tyler Higbee officially out as well. Aaron Donald is expected to play, though, despite being listed as questionable. Head below for our free Rams vs. Browns pick on Sunday Night Football.
L.A. Rams vs. Cleveland Browns NFL Week 3 Betting Odds:
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Rams vs. Browns Pick:
Expect the Browns to be amped up for this game. They are certainly going to be excited to be on Sunday Night Football. Baker Mayfield hasn’t played in a spot like this since he was in college with Oklahoma. He did embrace the spotlight when putting up staggering numbers as a Sooner, but this is a different story against one of the top teams in the NFL.
The Rams are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league, with a defense and offense who can equally share the load and contribute. The worst news for Baker Mayfield and the Browns is that Aaron Donald is going to be playing. Donald may be listed as questionable, but barring any setbacks, he will be out there. His presence totally changes this game. The Browns would have had a better chance of setting the pace getting some offensive flow with Nick Chubb in the backfield on the ground.
Instead, Donald is going to be causing havoc up front on the line against some pretty bad blockers on the Browns. The Rams are 5th in the NFL with 293.5 yards allowed per game. We don’t really know much about the Browns’ offense yet. Beckham put on a show last week, but that was against the Jets. The playmakers were invisible against the Titans in Week 1.
LA are going to be going into Sunday with a banged up and struggling offensive line. Starting right guard, Austin Blythe, is questionable and hasn’t been too productive to begin with. The Rams have been using a couple of new starters on the offensive line this season, which is not going to be effective against the Cleveland pass rush. Look for the Browns to cause confusion and pressure often Sunday night.
Myles Garrett is coming off a monster game with 3 sacks against the Jets to go with 2 sacks in Week 1 against the Titans. Expect him to do whatever he wants against this Rams’ offensive line on Sunday night. Look for the defenses, especially up front on the line, to take control of this game. Both offensive lines will be struggling to give their quarterbacks enough time to find open receivers downfield. This should lead to a low-scoring contest, with a likely outcome of 24-20 or 26-20.