Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- We may all be exposed to the “Joe Flacco experience” in Week 13 if rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is not cleared from his Week 12 concussion.
- Both teams are likely to have a run-heavy approach to this game.
- This is a “must-win” game for both teams who are trying to keep pace in their respective playoff races.
- The Browns lead the NFL in man coverage rate and the Rams wide receivers have struggled against man coverage this season.
- Injury statuses for key players on both sides of the ball, especially for Cleveland, will impact how this game should be viewed.
How Cleveland Will Try To Win ::
The Browns continue to fly through quarterbacks this season as Deshaun Watson is already done for the season and they may have their fourth starter of the year this week if veteran journeyman Joe Flacco is given the nod. Rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson was concussed in last week’s drubbing by the Broncos and seems unlikely to be cleared for action. The Browns seem like they’ve seen enough from XFL star PJ Walker and Flacco is allegedly the next man up if DTR is unable to go.
The Browns rank 31st in the NFL in pass rate over expectation (PROE), ahead of only Arthur Smith’s ultra-conservative Atlanta offense. With Flacco under center, we should expect those numbers to hold or become even more run-heavy in Week 13. The Browns defense ranks #1 in the NFL in DVOA and they will attempt to make this game about defense and ball control while running the ball at a very high rate and being conservative in the passing game. Flacco has always been an immobile “statue” as a quarterback and at age 38 that will only be amplified. This means Cleveland will have to operate in a very traditional manner and their passing game concepts will likely focus on screens and the short to intermediate areas. Star wide receiver Amari Cooper’s status is also in doubt after sustaining a rib injury in Week 12. It seems likely that the running backs, tight end David Njoku, and slot receiver Elijah Moore will be very busy this week as Flacco is likely to have designed short throws and will check the ball down often against a zone-heavy Rams defense that is likely to flood their secondary with bodies and have zero fear of Flacco making plays with his legs. Flacco should also have some built-in chemistry with Moore after playing with him on the Jets last season. In Flacco’s three starts to begin the 2022 season, Moore averaged seven targets per game.