Game Overview ::
By mjohnson86 >>
- Pace is a major concern in this game with both teams bleeding the clock and operating methodically.
- Cleveland’s playoff chances are on the line, with a loss likely knocking them out of contention.
- Green Bay is looking to hold on to the #1 seed and will be looking to make quick work of the Browns and get out of here in one piece.
- The strength of the Cleveland offense matches up pretty well with the “path of least resistance” offered by the Packers.
How cleveland Will Try To Win ::
If the Browns want to make a return trip to the playoffs, they are going to have to earn it. Sitting at 7-7 and playing on a short week with COVID issues still hovering, a trip to Lambeau for a nationally televised game is the last thing they need right now. Baker Mayfield is likely to be cleared for this game, but regardless of his status, the Browns will need some magic to have a chance here.
Cleveland is 6th in the league in situation-neutral run-rate, and with Baker Mayfield set to be taken off the COVID list on Friday, they are likely to become even more run-heavy in this matchup. The Packers are ranked 25th in run defense DVOA while their pass defense has been very good against middling competition, especially at home. The Browns have so many unknowns, with 18 players still on the COVID list (as of Thursday) and uncertainty around exactly how many of those will be available so we should expect them to continue to lean heavily into their identity in this matchup with their season on the line. Many of the Browns issues have been with offensive linemen, making communication and protection issues more likely, which is just another reason to lean on the running game. The Browns will obviously still have to pass some, but we should expect short-area work and screens to be their primary focus. If Jarvis Landry is cleared in time to play, that would obviously help provide a “safety blanket” for Mayfield, and the Browns will also look to take some intermediate shots off play action with extra blockers held in to protect the quarterback.
How green bay Will Try To Win ::
The Packers are rolling this season at 11-2 in games Aaron Rodgers has played in. They narrowly survived last week against a pesky Ravens team but the ball is in their court this week as they are at home on Christmas day against a Browns team that is playing on five days’ rest and will not have practiced with their starting quarterback in two weeks. The Packers have the #1 seed in the NFC at the moment and their focus is to “survive and advance” through each week at this point to hold on to their playoff positioning and perhaps give them a chance at a “double-bye” if they can lock up the #1 seed before Week 18 and take the week off against the Lions.
The Packers play at one of the slowest paces in the league and we should expect much of the same here. The Browns play a lot of zone type coverages but will likely need to dial up some blitzes against the Packers in order to get pressure. If they sit back in zones and give Rodgers time, he will pick them apart. The reason the Packers play at such a slow pace is because Rodgers is so good at the pre-snap and identifies what the defense is doing to get the Packers into the right play call. The Browns are unlikely to implement a strategy like the “17 Bulldog” tactic employed by the Ravens where they lined up two or even three defenders on Davante Adams every play. This means that the offensive engine of the Packers will operate in that role again here, with a high likelihood of targets attacking the holes in the Browns zones or quick hitters against man coverage that the Browns will be forced to play if and when they blitz. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have been complementing each other very well recently and should combine for 25 to 30 opportunities (carries plus targets) again in this game. The respect Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams demand plus the scheme of the Packers running game will allow them to have moderate to above-average success on the ground, despite the Browns run defense being a relative strength.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
This game has all the makings of a boring, slow-paced island game (something we have seen far too much of this year). Both of these teams are in the bottom-five in the league in situation-neutral pace of play, and the way in which they operate keeps the game clock moving as they are bleeding the play clock. As mentioned earlier, the Browns are built around their running game, and this matchup will encourage them to lean into that strength. They should also have modest success throwing the ball off play-action, and in the short areas, meaning that they should sustain some drives that kill a lot of clock and keep them at least “in the game” to the point where they don’t have to abandon who they are. The Packers, meanwhile, are content to play slowly and use their two-headed backfield at a high rate to preserve and protect Aaron Rodgers. Their slow pace of play allows Aaron Rodgers to acquire as much information as he can about the Browns zone schemes and get the Packers in the correct play calls. Rodgers is so efficient throwing the ball that the result is a running clock after nearly every Packers offensive play. The likeliest game flow here is a quick moving (as in, very few plays) and relatively close game in the first half with the Packers gradually taking control and pulling away in the second half. The Packers are not a “step on their throat” type of offense and will keep running the clock once they have a lead, making it likely that Cleveland is able to hang around in that 7-to-10 point range where the game looks closer on the scoreboard than it actually is.
saturday slate DFS breakdown::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- CLE has allowed multiple TDs to just 6/14 QBs
- Rodgers has multiple TDs in 11/14 games
- CLE has allowed just two 300-yd passers (Mahomes, Herbert)
- Rodgers has four 300-yd games (three in last four)
- Rodgers has 13 TDs in the last four games of shootouts of 31-34, 36-28, 45-30, 31-30
- Teams to score 30+ pts vs CLE: KC, LAC, ARI, NE
- Mahomes, Herbert, Kyler, Mac all threw for 3+ TDs vs CLE
- MVS since return: 2:19 // 1:41 // 4:123:1 // 4:50 // 3:20 // 5:98:1
- MVS is currently on the COVID list
- Lazard without MVS: 2:33 // 2:6 // 3:27:1 // 5:60:1
- Cobb is also gone, and he scored 4 TDs in the games without MVS
- Davante without MVS: 6:64 (11 tg) // 11:206:1 (16) // 4:89 (5) // 6:76:1 (7)
- Adams received 9+ targets in 14/16 total games last year, with the two short being an injury-shortened game and the other a Week 17 blowout
- In first two years with Lafleur, Adams averaged 91.2 yds/g on 10.6 tg/g, and scored 27 TDs in 30 games
- In 2021, Adams is averaging 96 yds/g on 10.4 tg/g with 8 TDs in 13 games
- CLE has allowed the 9th fewest WR DK pts/g (33.5)
- WRs with 8+ tg vs CLE: Hill (197:1) // Cooks (78:1) // Jefferson (84:1), Thielen (46) // Williams (165:2), Keenan (75) // Kirk (75:1) // Diontae (98) // Chase (49), Higgins (78) // Brown (51) // Bateman (103), Brown (41) // Zay (67)
- CLE has allowed the 10th fewest RB DK pts/g (21.8)
- RBs with just 50+ rush yds vs CLE: Ekeler (66:2) // Conner (71) // Najee (91:1) // Mixon (64:2) // Stevenson (100:2) // Swift (136:1) // Freeman (52 // 64) // Jacobs (52)
- Rush att since W8: Jones (15, 12, 7, –, 10, 5, 13) // Dillon (16, 8, 21, 11, 20, 15, 7)
- Yards since W8: Jones (110:1, 53, 86, –, 23, 65:2, 70:1) // Dillon (78, 90, 128:2, 97, 90:1, 71, 35:1)
- CLE ranks 16th in def rush DVOA
- CLE has allowed the 7th fewest RB rec yds and the 9th lowest success rate on RB tg
- 8 QBs have multiple TDs vs GB, including the last four straight (Cousins, Stafford, Fields, Huntley)
- Baker has just 5 games of multiple TDs, and none more than 2
- GB has allowed the 9th fewest pass yds and has 14 INT
- Baker has just two games all season above 250 pass yds (321, 305)
- Baker has thrown 13 TDs to 7 INT and has one game all year of 20+ DK pts
- Chubb yds without Hunt: 69 // 163:2 // 144:1 // 93:1
- GB has allowed the 5th fewest RB rush yds & 8th fewest RB rec yds
- GB ranks 25th in def rush DVOA, but a lot of that is due to significant QB rushing production allowed to Winston, Goff, Fields, Heinicke, Kyler, Russ, Huntley
- RBs with 15+ att vs GB (rush yds): Kamara (83) // Najee (62:1) // Herbert (97:1) // Williams (70) // Cook (86:1) // Henderson (55)
- GB has allowed the 6th fewest RB DK pts/g
- RBs with 20+ DK pts vs GB (total yds): Najee (91:1) // Cook (115:1)