How have the Browns fared in 2021?
The Browns come into Sunday with a record of 2-1.
Week 1 they had a strong performance against Kansas City and came up short when our old friend Mike Hughes picked off Baker Mayfield with just over a minute left. 29-33 L to the Chiefs
Week 2 was a very unimpressive win against the 0-3 Texans. The Texans had that game tied at the half before Tyrod Taylor went out injured. Davis Mills came in for a 3 and out and an Interception to help build Cleveland’s lead to 10. 31-21 W over the Texans
Week 3 the Browns got Justin Fields in his first start. The passing offense netted 1 yard for the Bears after taking into account the sacks. The Browns defense is pretty good, but not that good. 26-6 W over the hapless Bears
Browns injury concerns
Odell Beckham Jr. came back last week after missing considerable time with a knee injury. Fellow WRs Jarvis Landry and Ryan Switzer are on IR. Starting LT Jedrick Wills JR and C JC Tretter are both on the injury report Wednesday and Thursday as DNPs. Starting RT Jack Conklin and his backup Chris Hubbard were both limited in practice as well. That bodes well for our revamped DL to be able to get pressure on Baker and hold the strong Browns running game in check. Starting CB, rookie Greg Newsome II has already been ruled out of the game.
Vikings injury concerns
It looks like Cook might be good to go with a limited participation on Wednesday and Thursday. Anthony Barr was limited as well and might make his first appearance of the season. Tyler Conklin did not participate on Wednesday, but was back in practice on Thursday on a limited basis. Kick Returner ISM was also out with a toe injury, but I don’t think that would impact the team significantly if he did not play.
My game prediction
I think this will be a lower scoring game than most seem to think. I think the Browns will chew up some clock on the ground and the Vikes will need the DTs to show up this week. I felt the DEs held the edge well last week against the Seahawks and they’ll need to do it again to funnel the RBs inside to Kendricks and Vigil/Barr. I don’t think Baker has enough to beat the Vikings through the air. The Browns are a little beat up on OL and the Vikings offense has been humming. I’ll predict a 23-20 victory for the team in purple. If it was on the road or the Browns were completely healthy, I’d probably feel a little different.