Monday Night Football Preview: Can the Browns Upset the 49ers?
This week's edition of Monday Night Football features the 2-2 Cleveland Browns traveling to face the 3-0 San Francisco 49ers. Both teams will look to extend their winning streaks with a win on Monday night.
Last week, the Browns upset the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 45-20. On the other side, San Francisco returns to action after a Week 4 bye. Before the bye, San Francisco outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20.
On the Cleveland side, Baker Mayfield remains the Browns' signal caller. After a rough Week 3 performance against the Los Angeles Rams, Mayfield rebounded for 342 yards against the Ravens in Week 4. So far in 2019, Mayfield has averaged 286.75 passing yards per game, but has a 4:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The Browns have also struggled to keep Mayfield upright, allowing 12 sacks already through just four games. This week Mayfield must rely on the play-making ability of Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry against a fifth-ranked 49ers' pass defense, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics.
For the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo continues to shake off the rust after a season-ending ACL team in 2018. Garoppolo has yet to notch a 300-yard passing game this season, but his completion percentage has risen in every game. Garoppolo also has at least 275 passing yards in each of the past two games. Relying on George Kittle and a slew of receivers, Garoppolo could find additional room to pass in Week 5. The Browns enter this contest with injury questions across the board on their defense.
Running Back Breakdown
For the Browns, Nick Chubb continues to handle a feature back workload. So far this season, Chubb averages 73-percent of the Browns snaps to go along with 19.3 rushing attempts per game. Cleveland has also increased Chubb's pass game usage, with 4.8 targets per game to open the year. While the Browns enter this contest as five-point underdogs, Chubb's usage as a receiver keeps him relevant in the Cleveland backfield.
For the 49ers, Tevin Coleman's anticipated return further muddies the waters in an already crowded backfield. Raheem Mostert currently leads the group with 77 rushing yards per game, while Jeff Wilson leads the backfield in rushing scores (4). Meanwhile, Matt Breida leads the team in touches with 15.3 per game. While productive as a group, trusting any individual runner looks risky in this backfield.
On the defensive side of the ball, San Francisco currently ranks 5th overall, while Cleveland slots in 11th, according to our metrics.
San Francisco currently ranks 17th against the run and 5th overall against the pass. On the other side, Cleveland ranks 16th against the run and 11th against the pass. However, Cleveland continues to deal with injuries to stud corners Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, potentially creating an advantageous matchup for the San Francisco passing game.
To read all premium content, upgrade to a Premium account with numberFire
If you're not a Premium subscriber, it takes just a few seconds to sign up. You'll get access to all of our insider information, game projections, handicapping advice, DFS tools, advanced statistics, and more.