The Cleveland Browns will attempt to snap a 4 game road losing streak when they take on the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday.
Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray share a lot of similarities as well as they prepare for the showdown.
This week’s matchup also shares a lot of interesting storylines.
Mayfield and Murray are the last 2 number 1 picks in the NFL draft.
They were also teammates at Oklahoma and both won the Heisman Trophy.
Kliff Kingsbury was Baker Mayfield’s old coach at Texas Tech and forced him out when he did not offer him a scholarship.
However, the two claim that they have mended their relationship since then.
Let’s take a look at our writer’s bold predictions for this Sunday’s matchup.
Writer: Drake Jesse
The Browns continue their “lighter” end of the season schedule with a matchup with Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury and the rest of the 3-9-1 Arizona Cardinals.
When was the last time the two most recent Heisman Trophy winners went head to head in an NFL game as starting quarterbacks of their respective franchises?
Probably a niche stat, but interesting to think about nonetheless.
The good news is that man for man the Browns are more talented.
Head coaching talent is probably a toss-up as failed college coach Kingsbury hasn’t exactly set the league on fire with his rookie QB, and Freddie Kitchens has struggled through his first season as a head coach also.
Browns’ defensive coordinator Steve Wilks will have his men extra fired up for the game as he was fired by the Cardinals after just one season and replaced by a college coach who had a 35-40 record at Texas Tech.
That has to hurt.
If his players like him at all they’ll want to play well for him.
On the offensive side of the ball, hopefully the dynamic duo of Hunt and Chubb will see a large number of carries.
The Cardinals rush defense is 24th in the league, so the Browns should find success.
My prediction: Browns win 24-14.
Writer: Pat Opperman
As much as I would like to see a classic shootout between the last two top draft picks, Cleveland is much better than Arizona in every facet of the game.
Kyle Murray will be the best quarterback the Browns defense has faced since losing Myles Garrett.
But Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk aren’t keeping defensive coordinators up at night.
Arizona’s running committee has been underwhelming with a middle-of-the-road 110 yards per game.
On defense, the Cardinals give up the third-most points in the league and are dead last in passing yards and total yards allowed.
The Cardinals are only slightly better against the run, so Freddie Kitchens should have his whole playbook available.
Arizona is eliminated from playoff contention and trying to end a 6-game losing streak.
Home field (1-5-1) has not provided an advantage for the Cardinals this season.
But, since this is their last home game of 2019, they might muster some emotion in a bid to capture their second win in front of the Arizona faithful.
Freddie Kitchens is taking a lot of heat for the Browns’ record, but Cleveland can be a .500 team by the end of Sunday.
It’s not what most fans bargained for in September, but it is an accomplishment for any first-year coach.
On the other hand, if the Browns fail to secure a win in the desert, it could seal Kitchens’ fate as a one-and-done head coach.
I’m not worried.
Baker Mayfield will impress in front of his former Texas Tech coach and his best friend from his Oklahoma State.
My prediction: Browns win 31-19
Writer: Brayton Martin
You can throw out all the stats in the world, and you can back up any argument you want.
The fact of the matter is these two teams couldn’t be more opposite right now.
The Browns have won four out of their last five matchups and are hanging on to slim chances to crack into the playoffs.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, haven’t won a game since October 20th, which puts their six-game skid the longest in the NFL behind only the Giants (nine).
The Browns have more to play for here, and the Cardinals still have a chance to get a top-three draft pick if they lose out.
Now, I don’t believe that coaches or management encourages tanking, but I do believe the members of the Cardinals will have it in their minds ahead of the game that they essentially need to lose out for a better draft pick.
I also don’t believe they will deliberately try to play worse, however, football and sports in general is just as much mental as it is physical.
If the Cards are counting themselves out beforehand, which I think they are, then this game is already over.
All of that said, the Browns still have to go out and earn this win.
In the NFL, nothing is handed to you.
If the Browns show up and play with a mindset that they still have a shot at the playoffs, then this game will be won by Cleveland.
My Prediction: Browns win 31-13.
Writer: Jimmy Swartz
Even though the Browns beat the Bengals this past Sunday, Baker Mayfield was less than impressive in the win.
Mayfield finished the game only 11/24 for 192 yards and 2 int’s against one of the league’s worst defenses.
I see Mayfield getting back on track this week against a struggling Cardinals secondary.
Opposing teams have been having their way with this Cardinals defense the entire season.
The Cardinals have given up the most completions, yards, and td’s of any team in the league.
Their defense also ranks near the bottom of the league in takeaways with only 6 interceptions on the year.
They have also surrendered 3,825 passing yards on the year. This is 200 more than the next closest team.
However, winning on the road in the NFL is always a tough task no matter what kind of year the opposing team is having.
I still see a grinder for the Browns in this matchup that features his old coach Kingsbury and former teammate Murray.
I see this game going back and forth in a high scoring affair.
My Prediction: Browns win 38-31.
Writer: Mark Bergin
Had Oklahoma missed out on the College Football Playoff, this game would have been like the Super Bowl for Sooners fans.
Regardless, I have no doubts this game will draw astronomical television ratings in the Sooner State.
Sunday marks the first NFL battle of the Oklahoma Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks: Baker Mayfield versus Kyler Murray.
The game also marks a return to Arizona for head coach Freddie Kitchens and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
Kitchens served as an assistant coach from 2007-2017, and Wilks was the Cardinals’ head coach in 2018.
The Browns’ playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread even though they have won four out of their last five games.
Cleveland has a 4-percent chance to make the playoffs this season, according to the New York Times.
The Cardinals come in hoping to snap a six-game losing streak.
Arizona’s defense ranks last in NFL against the pass, allowing 294.2 passing yards per game.
The Cardinals rank 24th against the run, allowing 120.5 rushing yards per game.
Browns running back Nick Chubb enters Week 15 leading the NFL in rushing with 1,281 yards.
Can the Cardinals play spoiler?
It might not matter though.
The Browns host the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 22.
The Ravens (12-2) have the best record in the NFL and have won 10 consecutive games.
Depending on the line, the Browns are between a 2.5 to 3-point favorite over the Cardinals.
The over-under for Sunday’s game is 49 points.
With whatever is left of the season, I’ll take the Browns to cover and for the over to hit.
We can hope Mayfield versus Murray will produce a typical Oklahoma shootout: Boomer Sooner.
My Prediction: Browns 27, Cardinals 21