4:05 P.M. KICK-OFF
TIPICO LINE: BROWNS BY 2 1/2
STADIUM AND WEATHER INFO
BROWNS POWER RANKINGS
USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY: 8th (Previous Rank: 4th)
NFL: 9th (Previous Rank: 10th)
In wins over the Bears and Vikings, the Browns authored two of the most dominant defensive performances we've seen by any team all season. On Sunday, Cleveland's D entered The Twilight Zone. Kevin Stefanski's team surrendered 493 total yards -- and 26 points in the fourth quarter alone -- in a 47-42 insta-classic loss to the Chargers. Disappointing outcome aside, the Browns' beat-up defense should recover, while a huge bounce-back performance from Baker Mayfield and the offense offered promise of better days. If these Browns can put both sides of their game plan together, they'll be tough to stop.
ESPN: 9th (Previous Rank: 6th)
Though it came in a losing effort, Njoku continued his strong start to this season and delivered a career performance Sunday against the Chargers. He finished with a team-high 161 receiving yards on seven receptions, including a career-high 71-yard touchdown catch in which he shed a defender before racing into the end zone. Njoku, a first-round pick in 2017, has had trouble finding his place in Cleveland. At one point, he even asked for a trade. But as Cleveland's leading receiver through five games, Njoku might finally be hitting his stride.
BLEACHER REPORT: 9th (Previous Rank 7th)
Will the real Cleveland Browns defense please stand up?
Over the first two weeks of the 2021 season, the Browns struggled to make stops against the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, especially on third down. Then the Browns absolutely stymied the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, giving up just 13 points in two games combined.
The Browns surrendered twice as many points in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss in Los Angeles, giving up four touchdowns in as many drives.
Injuries played a part in those struggles to be sure; the Cleveland secondary in particular is all kinds of banged up. But the Browns offered no resistance to Justin Herbert and the Bolts on Sunday, surrendering 47 points and 493 total yards.
"The Browns are a good team to be sure," Davenport said "But the injury-ravaged defense is a real problem, especially ahead of a home date with Kyler Murray and the undefeated Cardinals. If Cleveland can't iron out the kinks on both sides of the ball quickly, it's going to be same old sad story by the shores of Lake Erie: a season that starts with promise but ends with bitter disappointment."
BROWNS POSITION FANTASY RANKINGS
Quarterback: Baker Mayfield-18th
Running Backs: Kareem Hunt-14th; Nick Chubb-17th
Wide Receivers: Odell Beckham-43rd
Tight Ends: Austin Hooper-20th
Kickers: Chase McLaughlin-25th
CARDINALS POSITION FANTASY RANKINGS
Quarterback: Kyler Murray-4th
Running Backs: Chase Edmonds-30th; James Conner-39th
Wide Receivers: DeAndre Hopkins-9th; Christian Kirk-41st
Tight Ends: None Listed
Kickers: None Listed
Cardinals Keys to Victory:
Arizona showed in Week 5 against the 49ers that it doesn't need a big game from QB Kyler Murray and the offense to win. Murray had a good game, and the defense held rookie QB Trey Lance grounded. Arizona will need a better game from its rushing attack and have success with its defense attacking the Browns' injury-limited offensive tackles. Getting pressure on the quarterback and finding a more balanced attack on offense will be the keys to the Cardinals pushing their record to 6-0.
Browns Keys to Victory:
Can the Browns have a game when both their offense and defense have good days? Against the high-powered Arizona offense, DE Myles Garrett will need to limit Murray. Getting DE Jadeveon Clowney back from an injury will be helpful in keeping Murray contained in the pocket as well. On offense, RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will need to continue to be the foundation on offense while QB Baker Mayfield builds on his 305yard, two-touchdown game in Week 5.
Cardinals' QB Kyler Murray vs. Browns' EDGE Myles Garrett
Murray has inserted himself into the MVP discussion, while Garrett leads the league in sacks. If Murray is able to avoid the pass rush of the Browns and push the ball downfield, Arizona will be tough to beat.
Matchup to watch according to Browns Backers of North Jersey:
Browns Secondary vs. Cardinals WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk
No matter who is playing in the Browns secondary this week, they need to slow down the Cardinals receivers.
Who will win and why according to USA Today Sports Weekly:
Cleveland needs a bounce-back win and gets it at home, using an emphasis on running the ball to keep Murray and the Cardinals' offense off the field as much as possible. The Cardinals' undefeated season ends
Who will win and why according to Browns Backers of North Jersey:
Nick Chubb and Kareen Hunt win this game for the Browns. Keep the Cardinals offense off the field.
Who will win according
to Browns Backers of North Jersey President Steve Stavrenos:
2021 SEASON STANDINGS:
USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY: 5-0
BROWNS BACKERS OF NORTH JERSEY: 3-2
BROWNS BACKERS OF NORTH JERSEY PRESIDENT STEVE STAVRENOS: 3-2