CLEVELAND (6-9) at WASHINGTON (7-7-1)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, FOX
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Commanders by 1½
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Browns 7-8; Commanders 7-7-1
SERIES RECORD: Browns lead 34-12-1
LAST MEETING: Browns beat Commanders 34-20 on Sept. 27, 2020, at Cleveland.
LAST WEEK: Browns lost to Saints 17-10; Commanders lost to 49ers 37-20.
BROWNS OFFENSE: OVERALL (10), RUSH (5), PASS (22), SCORING (14)
BROWNS DEFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (25), PASS (18), SCORING (21)
COMMANDERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (19), RUSH (13), PASS (19), SCORING (24)
COMMANDERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (4), RUSH (13), PASS (7), SCORING (12)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Browns minus-3; Commanders minus-3
BROWNS PLAYER TO WATCH: DE Myles Garrett was benched for the start of last week's loss by coach Kevin Stefanski for an unspecified team violation. It wasn't a good look for the Pro Bowler or the Browns. Garrett needs three sacks in the final two games to break his single-season team record of 16.
COMMANDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Carson Wentz gets his first start since Oct. 13 at Chicago, when he broke the ring ringer on his right, throwing hand and underwent surgery. Coach Ron Rivera picked Wentz to start over Taylor Heinicke in part because the 29-year-old veteran has a stronger arm and is more polished in running an NFL offense. He needs to avoid ill-advised throws that turn into interceptions and three-and-outs to justify that belief.
KEY MATCHUP: Browns CB Denzel Ward vs. Commanders WR Terry McLaurin. Defenses facing Washington have to choose between doubling McLaurin and daring others to make plays or letting the No. 1 wide receiver catch a bunch of 50/50 balls. Cleveland also needs to pay attention to rookie WR Jahan Dotson, who leads the Commanders with seven touchdown catches.
KEY INJURIES: Browns DE Jadeveon Clowney is back after missing one game with a concussion. ... Browns starting LT Jedrick Wills Jr. missed practice time this week with a back issue. ... Commanders RB Antonio Gibson is dealing with foot and knee injuries that could sideline him. ... S Kam Curl could return after missing the 49ers game with an ankle injury.
SERIES NOTES: Cleveland has dominated overall, but Washington is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings. ... The Browns are 16-5-1 in Washington. ... The previous time the teams played, Baker Mayfield and the late Dwayne Haskins were the team's respective quarterbacks. ... The Commanders are 0-2-1 in their past three games. ... Washington can clinch a playoff spot with a win and losses by Seattle, Detroit and Green Bay. It can also get eliminated with a loss and wins by the Lions and Packers.
STATS AND STUFF: No longer in the playoff chase, the Browns are embracing the spoiler role these next two weeks against the Commanders and Pittsburgh Steelers. ... Cleveland needs to win out to match its record from last season. ... Cleveland has had just three winning seasons since 1999. ... The game-time temperature Sunday is expected to be more than 50 degrees warmer for the Browns than a week ago, when they played in the coldest regular-season game (6 degrees Fahrenheit, -14C at kickoff) in their history. ... QB Deshaun Watson will make his fifth start since returning from an 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct allegations. Watson is 2-2 as a starter so far with 703 yards passing, two touchdowns and three interceptions. ... Browns Pro Bowl RB Nick Chubb is third in the NFL with 1,344 yards and first with 450 yards in the fourth quarter. He has 12 rushing TDs, matching his career high. Chubb had 108 yards rushing and two TDs against Washington in 2020. ... Browns WR Amari Cooper leads the team with 1,004 yards receiving and 73 receptions. ... Wentz was 12 of 16 for 123 yards passing and a TD in relief of Heinicke last week at San Francisco. ... Rookie RB Brian Robinson Jr. has rushed for 710 yards and two TDs in 11 games since returning from being shot twice in an attempted armed robbery. ... McLaurin had 77 yards receiving and his fourth TD catch of the season last week. He and Minnesota's Justin Jefferson are the only NFC receivers with 70-plus catches and 1,000-plus yards receiving in each of the past three seasons. ... Dotson's seven TD catches are a team high and most among rookies around the league. ... WR Curtis Samuel caught Wentz's TD pass against San Francisco. ... Heinicke is expected to back up Wentz after getting banged up in the 49ers game. ... DT Daron Payne leads Washington with 9½ sacks. ... Pro Bowl DT Jonathan Allen is tied for third in the NFL with a career-best 16 tackles for loss. ... DE Chase Young is on track to play his second game back from a torn ACL in his right knee. He had a pass defensed and two tackles in his season debut.
FANTASY TIP: With Gibson either absent or not 100%, Robinson could get 20-plus carries and make a dent against one of the weakest run defenses in the NFL.
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