The game will mark the debut of veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, who will become the fourth starting quarterback the Browns have fielded this season. Flacco, who last threw a touchdown pass in Week 2 of the 2022 season, is being pressed into action as rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson has not been cleared to play after suffering a concussion last week against the Denver Broncos.
Cleveland can really use a win on Sunday to ease some of the angst surrounding the club after the ugly loss to the Broncos and keep pace in the AFC playoff race. If they can avoid the turnovers that have plagued them on the road this season, play a solid game on defense, and figure out a way to score more than 13 points then a victory should very much be in play.
A win would make the Browns 6-2 over their last eight games and set them up nicely for the closing stretch of the season, so let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Sunday’s game against a franchise that once called Cleveland home.
Records: Cleveland is 7-4. Los Angeles is 5-6.
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.
Stadium: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Calif.
Announcers: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin (sideline reporter)
Mark Sanchez: “The Browns should be running every play”— DollarDog Nick (@DollarDogNick) November 26, 2023
Mark Sanchez after the Browns run on 4 consecutive plays: “Why aren’t the Browns forcing the ball to Amari Cooper more?”
Radio: ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX, 89.1 FM La Mega (Spanish)
Announcers: Jim Donovan, Nathan Zegura, Jerod Cherry (sideline reporter)
First meeting: The Browns won the first meeting, 30-28, on December 24, 1950.
Last meeting: The Rams won the most recent meeting, 20-13, in Week 4 of the 2019 season.
All-time series: The Rams lead the all-time series, including playoffs, 13-11. The Browns have lost four of their last five trips to Los Angeles against the Rams.
Weather: SoFi Stadium is covered so weather will not be an issue. However, it will be 68 degrees and mostly sunny at kickoff, with wind from the west/southwest at 4 mph. (weather.com)
Uniform: The Browns will be styling with their brown jersey and white pants uniform combo.
Injury report: Browns - Out: Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (concussion), cornerback Denzel Ward (shoulder) and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (concussion). Questionable: Center Nick Harris (knee). Rams - Out: Safety Quentin Lake. Questionable: Linebacker Michael Hoecht.
The line: Browns +4 (DraftKings)
Some Notes to Remember
- Despite a report earlier in the week that Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett “actually likely” did suffer structural damage in his left shoulder last week against the Denver Broncos, Garrett is not on the injury report and will play against the Rams.
The Cleveland Browns defense has allowed 141 first downs this season, the league average is 215...— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) November 29, 2023
It's the fewest allowed thru 12 weeks in the PFF era pic.twitter.com/b30GyuPgnS
- Los Angeles wide receiver Puka Nacua is 76 yards away from becoming just the sixth player since 1970 to hit 1,000 receiving yards in their first 12 games, according to ESPN.
- Los Angeles left tackle Alaric Jackson is ranked at No. 62 out of 70 offensive tackles in pass block win rate this season, according to ESPN.
- The Browns will be coming up against a middling run defense again this week as the Rams are ranked No. 16 in rushing yards allowed with an average of 113.3 yards per game. Cleveland is averaging 139.5 rushing yards per game, good enough to be ranked third in the league.
- This week’s game poster:
Once upon a time in Hollywood, the dawgs came to town pic.twitter.com/e9w3H9GQh2— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 1, 2023
- Cleveland tight end David Njoku is leading the Browns with 51 receptions, which ranks him seventh among tight ends in the league. But Njoku also leads the league in dropped passes with 10, according to clevelandbrowns.com.
- Turnovers in their road games have hurt the Browns as they have committed six first-quarter turnovers in their five road contests. That has led to a combined turnover margin in the first and fourth quarters of minus-7, according to The Athletic.
In Case You Missed It
A Final Quote
Quarterback Joe Flacco, who will be making his first start for the Browns, and first start of the season, on Sunday (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“Just because I have a lot left in the tank doesn’t mean I’m going to come out here and make every single throw and not make mistakes. I think at least on the practice field, it’s just learning to embrace those things and get better from them and move on and use them as a learning experience, but not necessarily anything to prove for myself.
“I think every time you take the field, there’s always a little bit of a level to that, and for me, more I feel those things because you want to be part of the team, because you’re capable of being part of the team. And no matter how capable you are, I think you always have to prove that to your teammates. You want your teammates to feel like, man, we got a chance to win with this guy. Then the more confidence you go into the game, if you have guys that you believe in, confidence helps out.”
What are you looking for from the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Rams?