Lions-Browns Preview: Lions look to get above .500 versus winless Cleveland
Detroit comes into this game fresh off of a strong performance versus Green Bay in Lambeau, and will look to begin a winning streak as they fight for playoff position. Cleveland comes in on the other end of the spectrum, having lost their first eight games and are looking to climb into the win column. It feels like the Browns have been in rebuild mode for decades, but let us not forget the amount of young talent that they do have, having had an assortment of lottery picks in recent seasons. Cleveland also may be getting Corey Coleman back, their electric 2nd year receiver, as he recovered from an early season injury.
My prediction is based on the following category battles: Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Defensive Pressure, Run Defense, Pass Defense, Turnover Battle, and Momentum. The leader of the most categories should, in theory, win the game.
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford
No brainer here. Stafford is the experience signal-caller and is coming off his cleanest performance of the 2017 campaign.
Running Back: Crowell/Johnson > Abdullah/Riddick
Numbers do not lie, and the Browns’ RB duo is leading both their rushing yards and receiving yard categories. Meanwhile, Detroit still has had one game so far this year that one would deem as an efficient running game.
Wide Receiver: Lions
No question the Lions have the upper hand with more experience at the position, better chemistry with the QB. The Browns are on the up here with Coleman returning and Josh Gordon set to return soon.
Offensive Line: Lions
This is extremely close, but the Lions just came off two consecutive strong pass blocking performances. The run blocking still has major room for improvement, though. TJ Lang in question hurts, but not nearly as bad as not having Joe Thomas for the Browns.
Defensive Pressure: Tie
Both the Lions and Browns have 16.0 sacks on the season. Both teams have lacked the consistency to do it game in and game out.
Run Defense: Browns
As said above, Browns are slightly better against the run on the season.
Pass Defense: Lions
Browns have been more efficient against the pass than Detroit in regards to yards, but they have also given up 16 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. Detroit has given up only 10 touchdowns and has 10 interceptions on the season. Points are what wins games in the NFL.
Turnover Battle: Lions
Detroit is an extremely opportunistic defense. Green Bay kept their offense as simple as possible to cut down on the turnovers, but Cleveland leads the league in interceptions thrown. Detroit currently has a +6 turnover differential, whereas the Browns are tied for last at -12.
The Detroit Lions are off of a win versus Green Bay in Lambeau. The Lions did not have to punt once, the first visiting team in NFL history to do that in Green Bay. This is a pure definition of what momentum is.
Results: Lions 5.5 – Brown 2.5
Overall, this is a game the Detroit Lions should win handily. It is now week 10 and teams are starting to show what they are, and the Lions are a team on the verge of making the playoffs for the 3rd time in four seasons. They cannot do that, however, without taking care of business at hand. This is a game that if Cleveland hangs around long enough, anything can happen with the amount of young talent they have.
Prediction: Lions 30 – Browns 14
Matthew Stafford throws for over 250 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Lions take care of business. Detroit also manages to force a few turnovers and by the 4th quarter, the game is out of reach. At least, this is what should happen.