The Cleveland Browns come off their bye week by hitting the road for a game against the Miami Dolphins.
The Browns are looking to capitalize on what they hope was a season-altering win against the Cincinnati Bengals that provided a much-needed AFC North victory and broke a four-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have yet to lose a game this season that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa started and finished, and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are on pace to rewrite the record books.
It is never easy when the Browns play the Dolphins in Miami, but Cleveland needs to leave that history in the past if they plan to stay in the playoff race and run their record to 3-0 after the bye week under head coach Kevin Stefanski, so here is everything you need to know about the game.
Records: Cleveland is 3-5. Miami is 6-3.
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami
Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta and AJ Ross (sidelines)
Radio: ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX
Announcers: Jim Donovan, Nathan Zegura, Jerod Cherry (sidelines)
Last meeting: The Browns won the last game between the two teams, 41-24, in Week 12 of the 2019 season.
All-time series: The all-time regular season series is tied 9-9. The Browns, however, have lost six of their last seven meetings against the Dolphins in Miami, counting playoff games, and are 2-6 all-time in Miami.
Uniform: The Browns will be looking good in their brown jerseys and white pants.
bringing out some heat for Miami pic.twitter.com/fCcRYDnKye— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 11, 2022
Weather: 82 degrees and sunny, with a six percent chance of precipitation and 4 mph winds from the Northwest. (weather.com)
Injury report: Browns - Questionable: offensive guard Michael Dunn (back). Out: tight end David Njoku (ankle) and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (knee). Dolphins - Questionable: offensive tackle Terron Armstead (toe/calf), offensive tackle Austin Jackson (ankle/calf), tight end Tanner Conner (knee) and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee).
The line: Browns +3.5 (Draft Kings)
A Few Things to Watch
Slowing down the Dolphins: Miami’s offense presents possibly the biggest challenge that Cleveland’s defense has faced this season as Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL in passer rating, while wide receiver Tyreek Hill is first in receiving yards (1,104) and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is fifth (812).
Tagovailoa has been doing a lot of damage in the middle of the field so linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah missing the game is a tough blow for the Browns. But Cleveland will welcome cornerback Denzel Ward back to the field after he missed the past three games with a concussion.
Two keys to slowing down the Dolphins is to stay away from man-to-man coverage as Tagovailoa is feasting when teams try to play man and put pressure on him as Tagovailoa drops from No. 1 when operating from a clean pocket to No. 15 when facing pressure.
Dolphins @Tua is the *Best* QB against man coverage in the NFL this year and it's not even close— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 11, 2022
Defenses are now so scared of playing Tua in man coverage that they're only playing it 33% of his dropbacks. That's the lowest rate any QB has seen in a season since tracking started pic.twitter.com/DN0kcdudEp
Ward’s return gives defensive coordinator Joe Woods a healthy stable of defensive backs to (hopefully) keep the Dolphins guessing with zone coverage, and another week of rest for defensive ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney should mean the Browns can bring enough heat to keep Tagovailoa off his game.
Control the tempo: Another way the Browns can slow down the Dolphins is to limit how often their offense has the ball.
Miami enters the game ranked No. 27 in run defense DVOA and are allowing 117 rushing yards a game, which puts them in the middle of the pack in the NFL. The Browns, of course, have one of the league’s top running attacks, so after a week off this could be a prime opportunity to rely on a healthy dose of running backs Nick Chubb (841 rushing yards 5.6 yards per carry and a league-high 10 rushing touchdowns) and Kareem Hunt (422 combined yards from scrimmage and three combined touchdowns).
Related: Derrick Henry calls Nick Chubb the league’s best RB
Perhaps more important than simply running the ball is the Browns ability to run the ball when they want to and break the opposing defense. And as offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt pointed out this week, the Dolphins have to worry about Cleveland’s offense as well as the Browns are actually outscoring Miami on a per-game basis this season.
They are not getting as much credit as the Dolphins, but the Browns can bring it on offense behind the running game (and quarterback Jacoby Brissett avoiding the key mistake) and being able to put up another solid effort in the running game will go a long way toward the Browns picking up their second consecutive win.
- Under head coach Kevin Stefanski, the Browns are 2-0 following their bye week, a huge improvement over the 2-7 record they posted in the nine seasons prior to hiring Stefanski.
- Myles Garrett is currently the only player in the NFL to have at least seven sacks in each of the past six seasons.
- Miami running back Raheem Moestert, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, head coach Mike McDaniel, assistant head coach Jon Embree, defensive assistant Ryan Slowik and pro scout Andy Howell have all either played or worked for the Browns in some capacity.
- The Browns have rushed for 100 yards or more in 31 games under Stefanski, tied with the Tennessee Titans for the fifth most. Cleveland is 21-10 in those games.
The bye week came and went and Nick Chubb *still* leads the NFL with:— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) November 7, 2022
10 rushing TDs
51 missed tackles forced
27 runs of 10+ yards pic.twitter.com/G85LXFY2tA
- With 94 rushing yards, Nick Chubb will have the fifth most in franchise history through the first nine games of a season. A touchdown will tie Jim Brown (1965) for the second most rushing touchdowns in the first nine games of a season.
- The Browns have scored three rushing touchdowns in a game three times this season and nine times overall since 2020, the most in the league.
- Garrett has 32.5 sacks in 36 career road games, fifth best in the league.
- Quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s 146 completions are the fifth most by a Cleveland quarterback through the first seven games of a season.
A Final Quote
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods on Miami wide receiver Tyreek Hill (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“He can go from Point A to B right now when he puts his foot in the ground. He is a vertical threat, but he is also an underneath threat. They do things in terms of handing him the ball, and he is in the backfield. They know how to use him for sure as a weapon. There are different guys based on what we call they are going to have to try and defend him.”
Those are just a few things to keep an eye on; now it is time to have your say. What are you looking for from the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Dolphins?