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The final full month of the 2023 NFL Season is approaching with one final set of games after November. One game that has picked up steam to becoming one of the best games on Sunday is the game between the Cleveland Browns (7-3) visiting the Denver Broncos (5-5). This is a game that will have serious playoff implications for two teams that are making a serious push for the AFC Playoffs this deep into the season against all odds.
The Cleveland Browns have started the season with an overall record of 2-2 with a 1-2 start in an incredibly tough AFC North Division. They accounted for huge close wins over the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts before to the Seattle Seahawks on the road by four points. Cleveland is currently on a three-game winning streak that includes a revenge win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Denver Broncos have one of the worst stars and the entire NFL by winning only one of their first six games of the season. The Broncos weren't able to get to their first win until week four with a 31-28 win on the road versus the winless Chicago Bears. The week before, the Broncos were embarrassed with a 70-20 loss at the Miami Dolphins. After their 19-8 loss on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos were able to account for a four-game winning streak that included a 24-9 win at home versus the Chiefs. They are coming off a thrilling comeback 21-20 win at home versus the Minnesota Vikings. This streak has brought the Broncos out of the bottom of the barrel in the NFL into an unexpected and shocking status of competing for a wild card spot in the AFC Playoffs.
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For over a season and a half, the relationship between the Denver Broncos and quarterback Russell Wilson has been considered a joke. Wilson regressed significantly after being traded from the Seattle Seahawks during the 2022 NFL offseason.
It wasn't until a few weeks ago that Wilson looked like he was getting more comfortable in the offense under head coach Sean Payton. Wilson threw for three touchdowns in the win over the Chiefs and two in the 24-22 win in week 10 over the Buffalo Bills.
In the last four games, Wilson has not thrown an interception as he looks like the future Hall of Fame quarterback that he was treated to be.
This Sunday, the Broncos' offense will have a huge battle as they take on the sixth-ranked scoring defense (18 points allowed per game) and the top-ranked passing offense in the league in the Cleveland Browns (143.7 passing yards allowed per game). It is going to be tough for the Broncos to account for a big passing game, but they have only accounted for one rushing touchdown this season.
The injury to quarterback Deshaun Watson has been polarizing for the Cleveland Browns as not only did they lose their leisure on the offensive side of the ball, but they have had to change their entire offense to a more aggressive rushing game. Browns running back Jerome Ford has been more of an option to the Browns’ game plan.
Ford had a stellar game two weeks ago in the 33-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens as he rushed for 107 yards on 17 carries.
The defense of the Denver Broncos has improved tremendously, but they still have severe weakness in stopping the rushing game. Denver is ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (160). Ford could easily have a 50-yard game against this Broncos’ defense.
This matchup is going to be difficult for both offenses as they try to fight for every yard and every score they can. The Broncos’ offense has and rejuvenated under Peyton and Wilson, but they are still competing against one of the top elite defenses in the league in the Cleveland Browns. It also doesn't help that the Broncos have only rushed for one touchdown this season.
Cleveland, on the other hand, has lost the majority of their star dynamic players, and Watson and running back Nick Chubb. The Browns are going against a Broncos defense that is more efficient than the first few weeks of this season but still lacks efficiency. The biggest concern is that their young and inexperienced playmakers at quarterback and running back are not going to be looked into to make big plays but avoid turnovers.
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What: Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos
Where: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
When: Sunday, November 26, 4:05 PM
How to Watch: FOX, YouTube TV, NFL Network
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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