Game time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Where to watch: NFL Network, FOX
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Browns -3
BetMGM: Browns -3
Caesars: Browns -3.5
Broncos: 3-3 (T-3rd, AFC West)
Browns: 3-3 (T-3rd, AFC North)
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Broncos - Browns preview and analysis
Broncos: lost 34-24 vs. Raiders in Week 6
Browns: lost 37-14 vs. Cardinals in Week 6
Things are not meant to be easy for the Cleveland Browns ever in life. Last week against the Arizona Cardinals was yet another reminder that the Browns have a way to go.
But it wasn’t like Cleveland had just fallen off a cliff. The Browns were picked up and forced off because of the injuries as of late. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are hurt. Baker Mayfield somehow re-entered Sunday’s game despite being contorted like a pretzel.
After the drubbing at the hands of the undefeated Cardinals, the Browns have a chance to put that on the backburner rather quickly when they host Thursday Night Football against the struggling Denver Broncos at home.
Despite the struggling afternoon that saw Mayfield and the offense be silenced by the physical Arizona defense, Mayfield still threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He will try to complete his third game in a row with a passer rating of at least 100. The last time he faced the Denver defense in November 2019, Mayfield threw for 273 yards and a touchdown.
But the Browns have been bit by the injury bug in regard to Mayfield’s top weapons. As mentioned, Chubb did not play Sunday due to a calf injury. Then, Hunt went down late in the game Sunday with a calf injury that could keep him out to a month and a half. Mayfield has already been down the likes of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. for the better part of this season.
Cue the Browns are the Browns jokes and please spare them of any further misery.
But there’s also the prospect of Mayfield’s own dealings with a shoulder injury. His left arm was in a sling after the game, but that won’t deter him from playing Thursday.
"I mean, it dislocated again and then slipped out again on a non-contact play, so just got to figure out a way to get better," Mayfield said.
If that happened to me, you wouldn’t hear from me for a good month or so.
This game will come down to the respective pass rushes. Denver’s unit led by Von Miller and Cleveland’s from Myles Garrett will be tasked with determining this game featuring two offenses that are struggling heavily.
But the Broncos are coming into this matchup on a three-game losing streak after starting 3-0. Despite quarterback Teddy Bridgewater providing the best signal-caller play for this franchise since the days of Peyton Manning, Denver was held to 24 points in their 10-point loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at home.
Bridgewater threw 49 times for 334 yards and three touchdowns, but also found a way to throw three interceptions against a Raiders team mired in distraction after head coach Jon Gruden resigned. The Broncos had four turnovers to the Raiders’ zero. You see where the game was decided.
Noah Fant had one of his better games with nine receptions for 97 yards and a garbage touchdown, but Denver still has to find a way to right the ship before Jerry Jeudy returns to the lineup at some point. Courtland Sutton continues to be a strong No. 1 after he had 94 yards and a touchdown.
It’s still October and there’s plenty of football to be played for both of these clubs, but it might be must-win territory for both. With a short week, travel involved and on a slide, you can’t trust the Broncos this week. Look forward to a strong game from Garrett and this Cleveland pass rush, and that performance will carry the Cleveland offense to the finish line. Browns by 8
The Broncos are 9-1 ATS following a division game in the last three seasons.
Denver is 1-5 ATS the last three seasons off consecutive overs.
The under is 40-21 in Browns games since 1992 off a home loss by 10 or more points.
Players to watch
Broncos: Rookie running back Javonte Williams had 53 rushing yards last week, putting him second in the league among rookies with 300.
Browns: Wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who could see more targets this week, had four receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Passing: Teddy Bridgewater -- 1,514 yards, 10 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Melvin Gordon -- 332 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Courtland Sutton -- 471 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Von Miller -- 4.5 sacks
Passing: Baker Mayfield -- 1,474 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Nick Chubb -- 523 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: David Njoku -- 266 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Myles Garrett -- 8 sacks
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