The Browns come into just their second road game of the season after a surprising and impressive win over the previously undefeated San Francisco 49ers. The Colts, on the other hand, have lost two of their past three games.
Deshaun Watson might be back under center for the Browns after missing two games with a shoulder injury. Watson was a full participant in practice on Friday for the first time in weeks and is still listed as questionable for the game, and head coach Kevin Stefanski said the team will wait to see how Watson’s shoulder feels before deciding on his status.
The Colts are dealing with their own injury issue at quarterback as rookie Anthony Richardson is scheduled to have season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder. In his place is veteran Gardner Minshew, who has never faced the Browns.
It’s Watson (or maybe P.J. Walker) vs. Minshew as the Browns take on the Colts! Here is everything you need to know about the game.
Records: Cleveland is 3-2. Indianapolis is 3-3.
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta and Aditi Kinkabwala (sideline reporter)
Radio: ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX, 89.1 FM La Mega (Spanish)
Announcers: Andrew Siciliano, Nathan Zegura and Jerod Cherry (sidelines)
First meeting: The Colts won the first meeting, 21-7, on November 11, 1956.
Last meeting: The Browns won the last meeting, 32-23, in Week 5 of the 2020 season.
All-time series: The all-time regular-season series is tied 17-17. The Browns have lost three of the past four meetings in Indianapolis.
Weather: 53 degrees and partly cloudy with no chance of rain. Winds at 7 mph from the north. It might be a nice enough day that the Colts open the roof at Lucas Oil Stadium. (weather.com)
Uniform: The Browns will wear their standard all-white uniform kit with the orange helmet.
White on white with the orange helmets for WK 7— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 20, 2023
Injury report: Browns - Questionable: Quarterback Deshaun Watson (shoulder), tight end Harrison Bryant (hip), running back Kareem Hunt (thigh) and cornerback Greg Newsome II (hamstring); Out: Linebacker Sione Takitaki (hamstring). Colts - Questionable: Wide receiver Alec Pierce. Out: Tight end Kylen Granson (concussion) and offensive tackle Braden Smith (hip/wrist).
The line: Browns -3.5 (DraftKings)
Some Notes to Remember
- Since the 2021 season, the Browns are just 3-13 in games following a win.
- Cleveland’s defense is allowing just 3.8 yards per play, which no team has done for a full season since 1977.
Down Set Conversion Rate (the shaded column) is the percentage of the time a defense allows an opposing offense to turn a new set of downs into a touchdown or a first down.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) October 18, 2023
There's the Browns and there's everybody else. The Saints are closer to 27th than they are to first. pic.twitter.com/97Di8ojjyA
- Cleveland’s defense is allowing 200.4 yard per game, which if they can keep that up would be the lowest total for a full season since 1978, the year the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule.
- Cleveland held both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tennessee Titans to less than 150 yards of offense. They are just the 24th team since 1999 to accomplish that twice in a season.
The Cleveland Browns defense has allowed points on just 12/64 drives this season (18.8% of the time)— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) October 19, 2023
It ranks 1st in the NFL and is the best % through 6 weeks since 2019 pic.twitter.com/IpEKUSMkrz
- With a win on Sunday, the Browns would improve their chances of making the playoffs to 68 percent.
- The Colts defense is not as impressive as they have allowed 1,473 yards of offense, ranked at No. 26 in the league, and a completion rate of 67.9 percent, which is at No. 22, according to clevelandbrowns.com.
- However, the Colts are more respectable in the red zone as they are allowing a touchdown on 57.9 percent of opposing drives into the red zone, which is ranked at No. 11 in the NFL.
- Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor is off to a slow start after his ankle injury. In two games he has rushed just 14 times for 37 yards.
- Zack Moss has picked up the slack, however, as he is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, has surpassed 100 rushing yards twice and has only rushed for less than 70 yards once.
- This week’s game poster:
got a team full of red shells heading into Indy ️ pic.twitter.com/mMPbVWboQD— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 20, 2023
- Cleveland wide receiver Amari Cooper is coming off his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. The Colts are one of 11 teams to have allowed more than 1,000 yards to wide receivers this season.
- Following last week’s 160 rushing yards, the Browns are ranked No. 4 in the NFL with an average of 147 rushing yards per game.
- The Browns are 7-0 against the AFC South under head coach Kevin Stefanski.
In Case You Missed It
A Final Quote
Head coach Kevin Stefanski on what it takes to win on the road (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“We love the challenge of playing on the road. The whole crowd is against you. I know our Browns crowd travels well, so we expect to see quite a bit of orange in that crowd. But you love going into those environments. It’s great as a competitor to be in those environments. Now, there are also things from an operational standpoint that you have to be on top of, particularly when you’re on offense, you have to be great in the huddle and you have to be great at the line of scrimmage with the snap count likely on the silent count. You really have to have a good road operation. And those are the types of things that are a challenge when you’re on the road.”
What are you looking for from the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Colts?