Game time: 7 p.m. ET, Aug. 14, 2021
Venue: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Where to watch: NFL Network
2020 season results
Browns: 11-5 (3rd place, AFC North, eliminated in divisional round)
Jaguars: 1-15 (Last place, AFC South)
Statistical leaders in 2020
Passing: Baker Mayfield -- 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Rushing: Nick Chubb -- 1,067 yards, 12 touchdowns
Receiving: Jarvis Landry -- 840 yards, 3 touchdowns
Tackles: B.J. Goodson (91)
Sacks: Myles Garrett (12)
Interceptions: Three tied (2)
Passing: Gardner Minshew II -- 2,259 yards, 16 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
Rushing: James Robinson -- 1,070 yards, 7 touchdowns
Receiving: DJ Chark -- 706 yards, 5 touchdowns
Tackles: Joe Schobert (141)
Sacks: Dawuane Smoot (5)
Interceptions: Joe Schobert (3)
Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Jaguars -1, Browns +1
BetMGM: Jaguars -2, Browns +2
PointsBet: Jaguars -1.5, Browns +1.5
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Browns - Jaguars Preview
Welcome to the Trevor Lawrence and Tim Tebow eras in Jacksonville. Get ready for flea flickers, double reverse passes, and more.
At least that’s what you anticipate for a rookie quarterback and a former-NFL-quarterback-now-tight-end on offense, right?
At this point, the Jacksonville Jaguars should be prepared to try anything after a 1-15 season. But good fortune may be on the horizon with Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick in this past spring’s draft out of Clemson, now the man to lead this dysfunctional franchise from the abyss.
The Jaguars will begin their preseason against QB Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, who will try to build off their stunning 11-5 campaign that included a playoff win for the first time since the Clinton Administration.
Fortunately, it’s a preseason game, and another new era in Jacksonville. But there is pressure on Lawrence once he makes his first start to save this franchise from obscurity. You can only do one game worst than 1-15, and Lawrence’s winning ways at Clemson do not warrant him losing the way his new team did. DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault provide an exciting receiving group for their top quarterback.
The Jaguars defense needs as much work after a dramatic dropoff from almost reaching the Super Bowl in 2018. The Jags defense was 31st in points and yards in 2020. It’s a task that Urban Meyer will need to address early if he wants to turn Jacksonville around in a hurry.
The Browns may not need drastic improvements, but the key for Cleveland is sustaining that success. Last year was only the Browns’ second double-digit win season since 2002 and third since 1994. They even beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in said playoff game. Everything went right for the reviving Browns.
Cleveland has the talent to make a charge for the AFC North crown, but the Browns defense fell apart late.
Defensive end Myles Garrett will need to build off that 12-sack season he had in 2020 and provide some leadership on that defensive line. It also feels like a leap is coming for top secondary star Denzel Ward.
Offensively, eyes are on Mayfield to have another strong season. Nick Chubb was a 1,000-yard rusher, and Kareem Hunt makes the Cleveland rushing attack a matchup nightmare for most defenses.
A defensive game favors the Browns, and that seems likely while Jacksonville tries to figure things out. The Browns are 27-4 against the spread when they allow 14 points or fewer. Given the current state of the Jaguars, it doesn’t matter if they’re home games or road games. Things tend to go sideways, and at least for the moment, they’re expected to.
The first quarter will play a role here. If this game is lopsided, but not by score, it’s going to favor the Browns. Browns 20-10, under cashes.
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