This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 10. Below, we analyze a few advantages, disadvantages, or general thoughts about the two teams before getting to our predictions for the game.
Reasons to be Optimistic
- We're back from the bye week and ready to see if Kevin Stefanski's Browns can win after the break just like they have in the past couple of seasons.
- It sounds crazy because the Browns had a four-game losing streak not too long ago, but this is the most optimistic week of the season for a few reasons. Let's get into them.
- First, the Browns are coming off that dominant win over the Bengals. They are 2-1 in the AFC North, and damn sure know they could've beaten Baltimore. In that locker room, this team knows they are good enough to win the division. The challenge is to dig themselves out of the sub-.500 record.
- The bye week allowed defensive players like Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney to be even fresher. Cornerback Denzel Ward also returns from concussion, and right guard Wyatt Teller will be back from his calf injury.
- Aside from the egg against the Patriots, no one has been able to stop Cleveland’s offense with regularity. The defense has turned in their two best efforts of the season before the bye, with guys like Sione Takitaki stepping up to the occasion. And, in a few weeks, the team knows they get their (love him or hate him) franchise quarterback back.
The Buzz-Worthy Dolphins
- What was funny against the Bengals is that the Browns tried to be cute on offense in order to pull out all the stops early on, and that backfired (the interception thrown by Amari Cooper). I still support the potential of creative wrinkles like that in the offense, but it's also not necessary: the offense can be as efficient as they come.
- The unique part about that statement is that they still aren't built to play from behind with Jacoby Brissett. Brissett can help lead scoring drives in a shootout type of game, but he's not the type of quarterback who will rally you from being down three possessions.
- That's the big concern that fans have when they see Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on Miami's offense, and the success that Tua Tagovailoa has had in getting them the ball. They've had incredible success, and the offense deserves a ton of credit. But in some of the plays I've seen, I've also thought, "Yeah...that was a bit lucky." The gunslinger mentality has paid off, but it won't always. Cleveland has not had the same breakdowns in coverage, and John Johnson has probably been waiting for a team to challenge him on deeper passes over the middle. This could be the John Johnson game, make or break.
- Our Dolphins affiliate made the interesting point that Miami's run defense has held opposing running backs in check; the reason they don't rank better statistically is that they've had trouble stopping running quarterbacks. Look at what Justin Fields did to them last week. I'll just throw this out there: one if Stefanski plants a seed early on by swapping Brissett for Joshua Dobbs, and allows Dobbs to run the ball? Hmmmm.
- Running back Jerome Ford is back from injured reserve and should return kickoffs against the Dolphins.
- Whether it's missed kicks or blocked kicks, Cleveland is still working on getting things right for rookie Cade York. Weather shouldn't impact kicking conditions this week.
- According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns are 3.5 point underdogs against the Dolphins.
Here are predictions from multiple staff members at DBN.
Chris Pokorny: “The Browns have me feeling confident again. Are they setting me up for a dagger in the heart? I know Miami has generated a lot of buzz with their offense, but if Cleveland can stay composed and not be picked apart early on, I think they have the better offense and defense, and can pull off the road upset.” Browns 27, Dolphins 23
Thomas Moore: “It is hard to imagine the Browns winning a shootout with the Dolphins given the explosiveness of Miami’s offense and the memory of wide receiver Tyreek Hill lighting up Cleveland’s defense the last time they faced him to the tune of 11 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown. But then you realize that the Browns are actually averaging more points per game than the Dolphins and suddenly a tiny Lee Corso appears on your should screaming “not so fast my friends!” The Browns have the capacity to exert their will on opposing defenses via running back Nick Chubb and one of the league’s fiercest offensive lines, so the unimaginable suddenly appears attainable. The Browns have reached the point in their season where it is time to stop being their own worst enemy and start taking control of the situation.” Browns 35, Dolphins 31
Barry Shuck: “I believe the pass-happy Dolphins have the league’s Offensive Player of the Year with Tyreek Hill, and possibly the league MVP with Tyreek Hill. Miami can throw and score points at will it seems. Hill leads the league in receiving yards and is fun to watch. His teammate Jaylen Waddle is ranked fifth in receiving yards. The Browns are not equipped to handle this offense although they have a horrible rushing attack.” Dolphins 38, Browns 20
Jared Mueller: “I don’t know how, I don’t know what it will take and I don’t know why I believe but I believe that the Cleveland Browns will take care of business against the Miami Dolphins. In the end, the reasons will be a well balanced offense and a defense that forces Tua to try to beat them on the outside and quickly. Myles Garrett and a few key blitzes, but not many, along with solid zone coverage with a little man sprinkled in, will make all of the difference. Coming off the bye week with possibly winnable games coming up if Josh Allen can’t play and Tom Brady’s team looks bad gives a lot of motivation for the team.” Browns 28, Dolphins 24
Ezweav: “This one is so tough to try to handicap. The Dolphins are a legit NFL offense with one of the most dangerous weapons the league has ever seen. Tyreek Hill isn’t just fast. Tyreek Hill hits top speed at every gear. Dude is a total freak. Oh and he also does everything else well at the WR position and is having the best year of his career. So there’s that.
Having Denzel Ward back should help, but ultimately this game is probably going to come down to our defensive play calling versus their offensive play calling. If we win the majority of those plays we should win the game. However if the Dolphins are pulling the pin and crossing us up on misdirections all day, it’ll be a wrap.
The good news is that we should be able to move the ball on them. Their defense hasn’t been stellar generally but it’s really unimpressive against exactly what we do. Teams have been able to pile up huge TOP advantages against this team and so should we be able to.
If we can muck up the passing lanes we should be ok. Coming off a bye week we should have an advantage. This one is winnable.” Dolphins 25, Browns 22
Matt Wood: “I said it when everyone expected the Browns to lose to the Bengals, funny things happen in the NFL when no one expects them. Dolphins are the darlings of the nfl world with the high flying offense but… the Browns are a funky matchup. They can keep the ball away from the offense and pound away with Chubb.
Plus the way to get to Tua is pressure (I know captain obvious reporting for duty) but I really like Myles against this Dolphins OL. Tua has been deadly on deep throws this year so not giving him time will be key.
Lastly? Stefanski is 2-0 after the bye as the Browns head coach, mix it all together and the Browns get the 27-23 win.” Browns 27, Dolphins 23
Who do you think will win, Browns fans? Let us know in the comments section below.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.