Week 12 of the Cleveland Browns 2022 NFL season has been circled by many since the season started. The team gets QB Deshaun Watson behind center for the first time since acquiring the star in a huge trade this offseason.
For the Browns, turning the page from their Week 12 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be an interesting task. Jacoby Brissett helped lead a huge comeback over Tom Brady and the overtime victory but now takes a backseat to Watson.
For this week’s StoryStream piece for the Browns versus Houston Texans (where you can find anything and everything we cover about this week’s game in one place), we look to turn that page as well. A few leftover thoughts from last week’s victory and a few early notes looking ahead to the game in Houston:
Will the team respond better this time after a big win?
Cleveland’s last big win came on Halloween Night against the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite having a bye week, the team came out and got eviscerated by Miami and struggled mightily against Buffalo before a late comeback made the score closer than the game really was.
Even their Thursday Night Football victory over Pittsburgh was followed by four straight losses.
Now, after beating the greatest of all time (GOAT) in most people’s opinion, will the Browns ride the wave into the following game or stall their momentum quickly?
Why did Tampa Bay stop running the ball?
Cleveland’s defense has been bad against the run most of the year. Despite that, the Bucs ran the ball just 20 times, including one rush by Brady, for under 100 yards while throwing the ball 43 times.
Did DC Joe Woods make such great adjustments that Tampa Bay decided it wasn’t worth it to run the ball? Was the absence of Leonard Fournette just too much for them to feel comfortable rushing more often?
If the Browns defense has figured it out against the run, 6-0 or 5-1 could be possible to finish out the year. If the Bucs failures led to the poor output, it might be tough to beat even Houston.
Offensive struggles in Week 12 a blip or a problem?
Without Ethan Pocic and with others struggling with nagging injuries, Cleveland’s offense really struggled in Week 12. Nick Chubb needed 26 carries to get to 116 yards and the offense didn’t score a point in the last three quarters until David Njoku’s amazing catch with 32 seconds left in the game.
Watson’s talent is obvious but he’s returning after not playing a snap for almost two seasons. Will his return set the offense back even more or will his talent help take it to the next level right away?
Under 300 total yards in regulation isn’t going to get it done very often in the NFL. The offense has been playing at an elite level but that was not true in Week 12. What happens this week against the Texans?
Myles Garrett’s health
Garrett played closer late in Week 12 against the Bucs:
.@Browns @Flash_Garrett took this game over and finished it in OT. Browns also played inspired football throughout and especially on 3rd down a day long. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/uC1vOOi8mg— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) November 29, 2022
Unfortunately, he could barely lift his arm after the game. Will he be able to play this week against Houston? Is it in the team’s best interest to rest him this week to get him ready for back-to-back AFC North games? Would those games even matter if they lose in Week 13?
Garrett’s health going into the weekend will be a big story.
Everything Deshaun Watson
As we’ve mentioned and will be the big story, Watson’s return to the NFL also comes against his former team, one that he demanded a trade from. It also comes in the city he called home to start his NFL career.
Watson talk, both on and off-the-field related, will lead most media coverage this week and going into early next week. How does he respond when he gets on the field? What about his teammates who showed just how much they love Brissett? How will the team’s offense be different with him under center?
So many questions that will only get answered when we get to Week 13.
As we ramp up to this week’s Browns vs Texans, turning the page from Week 12, we will have all the coverage lined up right here for you. Check back daily for anything and everything related to this week’s contest including injuries, betting lines and so much more.