Cleveland Browns Week 8 Preview: Las Vegas Raiders

It’s been a nice week for the Cleveland Browns, enjoying a 5-2 record after Baker Mayfield had a career day against a weak defense in Week 7.

This week, it’s another bad defense they get to face in the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders are not a bad team, however, and have shown they can upset and beat teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs, along with their offense being more explosive than anybody expected.

So, here goes this week’s preview on how the Browns should beat the Raiders in Cleveland.

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Remove the First Read

Derek Carr, this year, has been impressive compared to his last few years. He looks more calm in the pocket and is also pushing the ball downfield more. With a secondary as questionable as the Browns right now, the goal is to remove Darren Waller from the equation just like the New England Patriots did a few weeks prior. Bill Belichick’s model has always been, “I will take away your best weapon; if you beat me another way, then that’s what happens, but you’re not using your best player.” Now, that’s not a direct quote but it is his style. Nelson Agholor could be an issue, but most of his catches have been wide open or uncontested. However, that’s no reason to disregard him, either, if Waller is being contained.

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Let Mayfield Throw…?

Yes, Baker Mayfield threw five touchdowns last week. We can’t forget, however, how badly he looked before that, and if it wasn’t the Raiders defense, then I wouldn’t mention this at all. The Raiders defense is ranked 26th in yards and 31st overall. They are also tied with the Dallas Cowboys for last place in turnovers, so even if Mayfield tried, I don’t believe the Raiders could get him to make mistakes. If the Browns start the game aggressively through the air like they did against the Indianapolis Colts, I could see this being a two-score game by its end.

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Third Down Defense

The Raiders offense may be more explosive, but their bread-and-butter is still the short-to-intermediate passing game after establishing the run. If the Browns have any chance at beating the Raiders, they’ll need to show it on third down. Right now, they’re middle of the pack in that area, while the Raiders offense is top-five in third-down conversions. The Browns defense has the talent to be better than its ranking, and if there’s any week to prove it, this is the week. Myles Garrett will continue to do his thing, but the rest of the defense will need to step up and remind the league why this team is 5-2 and looking like a playoff contender.

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Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

This is an interesting matchup, and I do believe it will come down to offense and who is executing better on that side of the ball. I think the Browns pull off a win and improve to 6-2 before heading into their much-needed bye week.

Score: Browns 34, Raiders 28

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