Welcome to Week 9 of the NFL season, and as the Cleveland Browns sit at 4-3 on the season, they find themselves in the heart of a playoff race. They will welcome the 1-7 Arizona Cardinals to Cleveland Browns Stadium looking to rebound from a tough loss a week ago and tack on another win to their record. This matchup will feature Deshaun Watson returning to the lineup against rookie quarterback Clayton Tune making his NFL debut.
The Browns have found some success offensively over the last three weeks without Watson, but are hoping they can hit new heights with their $230 million quarterback back under center. With Kyler Murray waiting at least another week to make his return to the field after tearing his ACL a year ago, the Browns are massive favorites in this game.
How will this matchup between the Browns and Cardinals play out? Here are our weekly Browns Wire staff predictions.
Jacob Roach (@roachizm13): Browns over Cardinals
Who knows what Deshaun Watson will look like on the field as he makes his return from injury? Against the Colts he looked awful and it was clear he never should’ve been on the field and hopefully, that doesn’t happen again Sunday. This Cardinals team isn’t very good and could be starting a rookie in Clayton Tune against this Browns pass rush.
Cleveland should be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and if they do they have a great chance to win. Watson doesn’t need to be Superman he just needs to limit turnovers and take what the defense gives him.
If he does that and the defense pressures the quarterback consistently the Browns will win 24-10.
Browns Alchemy (@BrownsAlchemy): Browns over Cardinals
The Browns have an opportunity to build on their offense against a weak opponent the Cardinals. The Browns’ offense needed this game to build up their poor offense that lacked an identity without the franchise quarterback. Deshaun Watson’s return should lead the Browns to be more aggressive on offense.
They’ll be testing out his arm to make sure he can hit passes to the short, intermediate, and deep parts of the field. The Cardinals will be an easy test for Watson as they’re currently ranked near the bottom of the league in metrics relating to pass defense. As long as Watson doesn’t turn the ball over multiple times on Sunday the Browns should have no problem winning the game. The Cardinals are starting a rookie quarterback against the best defense in the NFL.
As a result, the Browns beat the Cardinals 14-3.
Tyler Greenawalt (@TyGreen14): Browns over Cardinals
Cory Kinnan (@fakecorykinnan): Browns over Cardinals
The Browns will be looking to rebound after letting a win slip through their hands against the Seahawks a week ago. The Cardinals, led by Tune, provide a great opportunity for the Browns to get their footing back beneath them on both sides of the football.
Watson has not played more than a quarter of football since September 24, so which version of the once-elite quarterback comes out is a mystery. However, the Browns have formed a great three-headed rushing attack over the past few weeks that came to full fruition against the Seahawks. If Kareem Hunt, Jerome Ford, and Pierre Strong Jr. can continue to carry the load, the Browns will find a way to win.
The Schwartz-led defense will be too much for Tune, even if former Browns staffer Drew Petzing is able to gameplan around his deficiencies. The Browns will win this one convincingly.
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