The game will mark the return of quarterback Deshaun Watson to the starting lineup after missing almost all of the past four games with an injury to the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. The last time anyone saw Watson on the field he was going one-for-five against the Indianapolis Colts after he “jumped the gun” in making his return.
Who will be quarterbacking the Cardinals remains a bit of a mystery at the moment. Arizona has until 4 p.m. on Saturday to activate Kyler Murray to the active roster. Even if that does happen, it is no guarantee that Murray will make his first appearance of the season after rehabbing his torn ACL.
If it is not Murray, then the Cardinals will be handing the offense to rookie Clayton Tune, a fifth-round selection in this year’s draft who would be making his first NFL start. (Sound familiar, Browns fans?)
Either way, it may not be an offensive explosion on Sunday from either team. The Cardinals are not good and Cleveland’s defense has the edge, while the Browns are back to Watson needing to “shake off the rust” with the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers looming in the next two weeks.
It’s Watson vs. Murray or Tune, the playoff-hungry Browns vs. the possibly tanking Cardinals on Sunday, and here is everything you need to know to get ready for the game.
Records: Cleveland is 4-3. Arizona is 1-7.
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Stadium: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta, Aditi Kinkabwala (sideline reporter)
Radio: ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX, 89.1 FM La Mega (Spanish)
Announcers: Paul Keels, Nathan Zegura and Jerod Cherry (sidelines)
First meeting: The Browns won the first meeting, 34-24, on October 15, 1950.
Last meeting: The Cardinals won the last meeting, 37-14, in Week 6 of the 2021 season.
All-time series: The Browns lead the all-time series, 33-16-3. Cleveland has lost five in a row to the Cardinals.
Weather: 54 degrees and partly cloudy with just a 2 percent chance of rain. Wind from the northwest at 9 mph (weather.com)
Uniform: The Browns will look classic this week in their brown jersey and white pants.
⚪️ got our threads ready for Sunday! pic.twitter.com/zQMtHRZdzO— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 3, 2023
Injury report: Browns - Out: Cornerback Greg Newsome II (groin), wide receiver David Bell (knee) and defensive end Alex Wright (knee). Questionable: Offensive tackle Dawand Jones (shoulder). Cardinals - Out: Running back Emari Demercado (toe), offensive lineman Trystan Colon (calf). Questionable: Linebacker Krys Barnes (hamstring), wide receiver Greg Dortch (ankle), quarterback Kyler Murray (knee), defensive lineman Kevin Strong (shoulder) and wide receiver Michael Wilson (shoulder).
The line: Browns -10 (DraftKings)
Some Notes to Remember
- Cleveland has been finding success in the run game by averaging 155 rushing yards in the past three games, which were almost all wins. The Cardinals come into the game allowing 130.6 rushing yards per game, according to ESPN.
- The Browns are allowing just 260 yards per game on defense, but the defense has allowed more than 100 rushing yards in each of the past four games.
- While it might be hard to move the ball on Cleveland’s defense, once teams get into the red zone they have scored 66.7 percent of the time, leaving the defense ranked at No. 29 in the league, according to clevelandbrowns.com.
First downs allowed in the NFL this season:— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) November 3, 2023
Cleveland Browns - 88
Dallas Cowboys - 122
New Orleans Saints - 135
The league average is 148 pic.twitter.com/yhg3qVZ62Y
- The defense is still the league’s best, by a wide margin, in the fewest number of first downs allowed.
- It is impossible to know what the return of quarterback Deshaun Watson will mean to the offense, but the Cardinals do not have a daunting defense as they give up an average of almost 366 yards of offense and almost 27 points per game.
- Cleveland leads the NFL in turnovers with 17. The only game where the Browns did not throw an interception was in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, which was also the last time Watson started and finished a game.
- This week’s game poster includes … a flock of seagulls?:
In Case You Missed It
A Final Quote
Defensive end Myles Garrett on the slow starts from the defense (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“It’s got to come from the players. As much as Jim (Schwartz) is out there trying to motivate guys, we got to acknowledge that we haven’t started out great and we’ve had great spurts, but we got to put it all together. We’ve had a couple of good games. But the standard is the standard, throughout the game and throughout the season. So, we can’t just have these ebbs and flows. We have to acknowledge who we are, what we’ve done, and learn from it. Do better.”
What are you looking for from the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals?