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Rams look to continue unexpected playoff push, hosting injury-depleted Browns

By AP | Nov 30, 2023

Los Angeles Rams running back Kyren Williams celebrates with fans after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST, FOX

BETTING LINE: Rams by 3 1/2 according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Browns 6-4-1; Rams 5-4-2.

SERIES RECORD: Rams lead 13-11.

LAST MEETING: Rams beat Browns 20-13 on Sept. 22, 2019, in Cleveland.

LAST WEEK: Browns lost to Broncos 29-12; Rams beat Cardinals 37-14.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Browns minus-7; Rams minus-3.

BROWNS PLAYER TO WATCH: DE Myles Garrett played much of last week’s game after re-injuring his left shoulder, which was initially hurt in a single-car crash last year. Garrett is the Browns’ most indispensable player and leader of Cleveland’s top-ranked defense. He has 13 sacks and because he’s often double-teamed, Garrett’s very presence creates opportunities for others to make plays.

RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Kyren Williams returned from a four-game absence because of an ankle injury with a dominant showing against the Cardinals. He ran for 143 yards and caught two touchdown passes, supercharging an offense that hadn’t scored more than 20 points in a game while Williams was out.

KEY MATCHUP: Browns QB Joe Flacco or Dorian Thompson-Robinson vs. Rams DL Aaron Donald. When Deshaun Watson went down with a season-ending shoulder injury, the Browns signed the 38-year-old Flacco, the Super Bowl 47 MVP, as their insurance policy. He hasn’t played since last season and his limited mobility could make him easy pickings for Donald and the rest of L.A.’s defensive front. Donald had a rare game where he did not get a tackle against the Cardinals, the second time it happened this season.

KEY INJURIES: The Browns dodged another major injury setback when an MRI showed no new structural damage to Garrett’s shoulder. Still, he’s potentially limited. .. Thompson-Robinson has been in concussion protocol since taking a nasty hit against the Broncos. … Browns top CB Denzel Ward (shoulder) was sorely missed last week and may need more time. … DT Jordan Elliott (ankle) is expected back after being hurt last week. … LB Anthony Walker Jr. (hamstring) should also return following a one-game absence. … Rams S Quentin Lake (hamstring) might miss his second straight game.

SERIES NOTES: The series between Los Angeles and Cleveland includes three NFL championship games between 1950-1955. The Browns won the title in 1950 and 1955, while the Rams were victorious in 1951. … The Rams have won the past three meetings against the Browns. … Cleveland’s previous win over the Rams was in 2007. … This will be Cleveland’s first game against the Rams in Los Angeles since they moved back in 2016. Bill Belichick was the Browns head coach in their most recent visit, defeating Chuck Knox’s Rams 42-14 in Anaheim, California on Dec. 26, 1993.

STATS AND STUFF: Cleveland’s playoff hopes took a knock last week and the Browns can’t afford many more missteps in a crowded AFC field. … If Flacco starts, he’ll the Browns’ fourth starting QB in 12 games. … The Browns’ defense continues to lead the NFL in several statistical categories (total, passing and third down percentage), but has shown some holes in recent weeks and is dealing with numerous injuries. … The Browns’ 1,562 yards passing allowed are the second fewest through 12 weeks going back to 1999. Only the 2019 49ers (1,506) gave up fewer. … Browns TE David Njoku leads the team with 51 catches, but has been plagued by drops the past two games. … Browns K Dustin Hopkins returns to L.A., where he spent two seasons before the Chargers traded him in August. Hopkins leads the league with 28 made field goals and is 7 of 7 beyond 50 yards. … Browns LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had 12 tackle, a sack and forced a fumble last week. … Rams QB Matthew Stafford threw four touchdowns against the Cardinals, his 15th career game with at least four scoring passes. But the 229 yards passing Stafford had was his lowest total in a game with four or more scores. … After generating at least 71 yards receiving in six of his first seven games, including four 100-yard performances, rookie WR Puca Nacua has not topped 70 yards in any of his past four outings. … Los Angeles has held three straight opponents to fewer than 21 points for the first time since Weeks 5-7 of the 2021 season. … TE Tyler Higbee caught his first two touchdowns of the season against Arizona. … Rookie DT Kobie Turner had his first multi-sack game against the Cardinals. He has three sacks, three tackles for loss and 18 total tackles in his past three games.

FANTASY TIP: It has been a season to forget for Rams WR Cooper Kupp, who likely belongs on benches this week facing a tough matchup at less than full health. Kupp has 10 receptions for 98 yards in his past four games, the kind of production fantasy managers would have expected in one afternoon at the height of his productivity.


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