It’s about that time. We are officially at the halfway mark of the 2023 NFL Season. It’s been a ton of ups and a bunch of downs with the Cleveland Browns this season.
Cleveland has navigated past the difficult part of their schedule with a winning record but now the team will be looking to bounce back after a deflating loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Arizona Cardinals will be their 3rd NFC West opponent in this upcoming Week 9 matchup. After playing on the NFL on Fox, the Browns are once again back on the NFL on CBS this week. Who will be calling the game? Spero Dedes and Adam Archuleta, again. Kickoff is at the usual time, 1:00 p.m.
Here are the 3 things to watch for in Browns vs Cardinals
Who will be under center for the Cleveland Browns/Arizona Cardinals?
All week, we have had quarterback uncertainty with both teams.
Deshaun Watson returned to practice with no limitations and it appears that the “zip” is back (we are on zip watch):
Deshaun Watson looked MUCH better to me today than he did before Indianapolis.— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) November 1, 2023
Not saying that he’ll be ready for Sunday, but the week off did him well.
Might even be better for him to sit another week and feel even better for Baltimore.#Browns
If it were up to me, I would have sat Watson for another week to prepare for an upcoming tilt against Baltimore but he will start in Week 9.
As for the Cardinals, it appears that their own quarterback might be on the verge of returning. Quarterback Kyler Murray was spotted practicing on Wednesday with no limitations after recovering from a torn ACL.
"Fired up and ready to go.”— PHNX Cardinals (@PHNX_Cardinals) November 1, 2023
Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon on Kyler Murray entering his third week of practice and K1 was “really good in the team meeting today. I put him in the spot. He was excellent.” pic.twitter.com/eNJttndKcP
The former #1 overall pick is officially questionable for the game.
If Murray isn’t able to go then rookie Clayton Tune will be able to go. Same thing with Watson, if I’m Arizona I would sit Kyler for another week but we shall see with both teams if both signal-callers will be ready to go, we know Watson is.
Will this be the game that the Browns put together a complete game?
I understand that Arizona isn’t a good team, but they are a team that will be competitive and will give the Browns a fight.
Cleveland is 4-3, but they haven’t had a complete game yet. What I mean by a complete game is all 3 phases working together and being on the same page. Complimentary football.
Executing, not making mistakes, and playing with a certain physicality.
Comparing last season’s team to this season’s team, it is different. Last week, the team showed fight and almost pulled off an upset in a difficult place to play in Seattle. This week, Arizona will come in ready to play and Cleveland will be expected to match it.
Offensively, they were able to find a rhythm of some sort in the running game and in the screen game. It was encouraging to see and it will be interesting to see if it continues with Watson back at quarterback.
Defensively, the unit was able to force turnovers and able to settle in after a rough 1st quarter last week but they has to get back to what made them one of the best defenses in the league.
If Cleveland wants to trend upward, the team has to put together a complete game in order to build some momentum toward Baltimore.
Can the defense get back to playing the way they are used to playing?
The Browns defense is one of the premier defenses in the league, make no mistake. However, in the past two weeks the defense has gotten exposed a little bit. In terms of the explosive plays, whether it is in the running game or passing game. Is it correctable? Sure. Will Arizona look to exploit it? Absolutely.
#Browns LB Anthony Walker Jr. expects Cardinals to run after watching film of Cleveland’s last two games: We haven’t stopped the run worth a shit.— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) November 1, 2023
You could say the defense’s slump is due to overconfidence, which isn’t a bad thing considering how they were last year but they have the veteran leadership to right the ship and get them back on track.
Again, they haven’t played poorly the past two weeks but they haven’t played to their standard.
Arizona’s offense isn’t necessarily great but they can find ways to move the ball, regardless of who they have under center. Expect Arizona to get the running game going to test Cleveland’s defense and if Cleveland is able to bottle up the run, then this game can go in their favor. We saw how the defense looked in the last 3 quarters against Seattle. Can they put it together against Arizona?
We shall see.
What are you most interested in seeing in this week’s game besides Watson’s play? Join the comment section to share with your fellow Cleveland fans