Dawgs By Nature
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, OH
When: 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, September 8th
TV: CBS (Jim Nantz and Tony Romo)
Weather: 70 degrees, partly cloudy, wind 5-10 MPH
Last Meeting: October 22, 2017 – Titans won in overtime by a score of 12-9
Football is back and the hype is at the biggest level for the Browns since returning to the league in 1999. With great 2018 performances from Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Nick Chubb (among others) and the acquisitions of Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham, Jr., Sheldon Richardson, and Olivier Vernon, the excitement for the Browns is greater than ever. Tickets start at over $100 on the resale market for most home games. Not enough credit can be given to John Dorsey and his staff for assembling this roster in such a short amount of time.
Photo Credit: 92.3 The Fan
Storyline to watch: OBJ has been dealing with a hip issue during training game and the preseason. Earlier this week, he admitted that he was not at 100% but hoped that “adrenaline will take over” for Sunday. Whether this injury can be brushed aside or causes concern will be on display during Sunday’s game.
Filling the void: The Browns will start the season with two players suspended: WR Antonio Callaway (four games) and RB Kareem Hunt (eight games). In place of Callaway, Rashard Higgins will see a lot of playing time during the opening few games along with Damion Ratley. With Hunt suspended for the first half of the season, Nick Chubb will be the starter and Dontrel Hilliard will see more action as well. If any of these players impress, expect Freddie Kitchens to play the hot hand even after Callaway and Hunt return from their suspensions.
Greedy Williams. Photo Credit: Dawg Pound Daily
Rookies to watch: While there are no rookie starters with the exception of special teams on the depth chart, many rookies on the defensive side of the ball will make their NFL debuts. Second round pick Greedy Williams will be backing up Terrence Mitchell at cornerback, linebacker and Alabama product Mack Wilson will back up Christian Kirksey. Sione Takitaki is questionable (hamstring), but will back up Joe Schobert if he plays. I expect several rookies to be on the stat sheet after Sunday.
New kicking team: Rookie Austin Seibert beat out Greg Joseph for kicker after impressing in the preseason game against Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the “Scottish Hammer” (best nickname in the NFL) Jamie Gillan surprisingly beat Britton Colquitt for the punting job (Colquitt has since signed with the Vikings). I definitely hope the Scottish Hammer records a tackle in Sunday’s game.
Other notes: Titans’ left tackle Taylor Lewan is serving a four-game suspension and will not be available for Sunday’s game. Backup Dennis Kelly will mostly oppose Myles Garrett per each snap.
Jamie Gillan. Photo Credit: The Athletic
Score Prediction: Believe the hype. The Browns offense will show strong in the opener leading to a 35-17 win.
Staff Picks: Jakob Rosati — 31-7 Browns Chi Okare — 30-21 Browns Hank Gerhardt — 24-14 Browns Braden Wagle — 23-20 Browns