DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Broncos are looking to end their two-game losing streak at home against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at 2:25 PM. With Joe Flacco out for the rest of the season with a neck injury, Brandon Allen will make his NFL debut at quarterback.
Here are four things to watch for as the Broncos look to go into the bye week at 3-6.
How will the Broncos offense operate with Brandon Allen taking snaps?
Brandon Allen hasn’t appeared in a regular season game, but he has played in several preseason games during his four years in the NFL. In four preseason games this year, he went 44-69 for 431 yards with no touchdown passes and three interceptions. The last time Allen threw a touchdown in a preseason game was Aug. 9, 2018 against the Baltimore Ravens.
One plus for Allen, is he’s able to make plays with his feet. Expect to see Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello call plenty of bootlegs and play action passes to allow Allen to build his confidence with easy completions down the field. Hopefully this will be good enough to improve the Broncos scoring offense that’s averaging 15.6 points a game, which is fourth worst in the NFL.
Can Broncos Defense Force Baker Mayfield into Mistakes?
Baker Mayfield has been the gift that keeps giving. The Browns quarterback has thrown 12 interceptions, which is tied for the most in the NFL. The number is surprising with the Pro Bowl caliber talent he has around him in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
The Broncos have improved defensively in the last four games, allowing an average of 14.5 points, sacking the quarterback 11 times and forcing seven turnovers. Chances are the Broncos are going to get a takeaway in the game as the Browns have turnover the ball in every game they’ve played this season.
Find a way to Stop Nick Chubb
The Broncos defense has given up 70.2 rushing yards in the last four games. That will be put to the test against Browns running back Nick Chubb who has 738 rushing yards, which is the third most in the league. He also has third best yards per carry average at 5.5 yards.
The Broncos have to make the Browns one dimensional on offense and stopping the run will be the first task in order to get a win.
Chris Harris Jr. versus Odell Beckham Jr. Matchup
When Chris Harris Jr. was asked this week who he wanted to cover he immediately answered Odell Beckham Jr.
“He’s the best receiver on their team, Harris said on Tuesday. “Landry, he has a lot of catches and he’s been great in this league. No disrespect to him. I’ve had great battles with him too, but in their offense, Beckham is their big-play guy.”
Beckham leads the Browns with 34 receptions and has seven plays that’s went for 20 yards or more. The most consistent receiver is Jarvis Landry who leads the team with 504 receiving yards and 11 plays of 20 yards of more.