The (3-7) Cleveland Browns matchup with the (5-5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 12 of the NFL season.
The Browns enter this matchup coming off a tough loss against the Buffalo Bills.
Who will prevail?
Let’s take a look at our writer’s bold predictions for this Sunday’s matchup.
Writer: Wendi Oliveros
This Week 12 matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns is a perplexing one.
There has been so much discussion about the Browns’ defense lacking fire and intensity and about Joe Woods not being the right choice as defensive coordinator.
If the Browns drop to 3-8, is the season over before Deshaun Watson gets a chance to play in Week 13?
That’s what makes this game even more intriguing; it is presumably the last as the starter for Jacoby Brissett who has not been perfect but did pretty well overall.
Could the Browns come out against the Bucs with the same defensive intensity as they did the Bengals?
Could the team play hard for Brissett in his last game as QB1?
Maybe they will, but Tom Brady is still the Bucs quarterback, and his team needs a win too.
The Bucs have not been great, but at 5-5, they are good enough to be tied for the lead in a lackluster NFC South.
In the end, the Browns’ defensive woes, which include injuries and a lack of depth at defensive tackle, will trip them up yet again.
My Prediction: Bucs 21, Browns 17
Writer: Pat Opperman
Jacoby Brissett expects to start more NFL football games next year.
And what better way to impress his next employer than by outdueling Tom Brady in his final start of 2022?
Tampa Bay comes in rested off a bye week and fighting to stay in first place in the NFC South.
Meanwhile, Cleveland’s placeholder quarterback exceeded most statistical expectations.
He is on a pace to be only the second Browns quarterback ever to throw for 4,000 yards.
And he comes off a 300-yard, 3-touchdown performance against a good Buffalo Bills defense.
But the Browns aren’t built to win when they need that kind of performance from Brissett.
And that has been the problem all season; putting Brissett in late-game positions he can’t seem to handle.
Cleveland’s defense and special teams were supposed to keep Brissett from having to be a hero each week.
But they have not held up their end of the bargain.
More importantly, there is no sense of urgency from the coaching staff or key players to improve things.
And that’s why I expect another disappointment Sunday.
My Prediction: Bucs 28, Browns 24
Writer: Ben Donahue
The 3-7 Cleveland Browns are at home this week facing Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
This is not the same Tampa Bay as in years past, but they are 5-5 and in first place in the mediocre NFC South.
Brady and the Bucs have also won two straight after losing five of their previous six games.
One thing has always been true regarding Brady, you can never count him out.
Despite Tampa Bay’s record, Brady has only thrown two picks this year and averages 280 yards per game.
However, there’s also no hiding that the Bucs are weak on offense, averaging 18 points per game (27th overall in the NFL) and a lowly 28th overall in the red zone.
Jacoby Brissett didn’t look half bad against Buffalo, throwing for over 300 yards for the first time all season.
Tampa Bay’s fourth-ranked defense has 32 sacks, one of the best totals in the league.
Meanwhile, Brissett’s line gives up a 29% pressure rate (not great).
When he does throw the ball, Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones have been the primary recipients.
Those two face a Bucs secondary that has allowed less than a 90 percent catch rate to opposing receivers.
That’s not to say Brissett shouldn’t challenge the secondary. Assuming Cleveland lets Nick Chubb run, the Browns’ offense should be okay.
Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and company won’t have much of a challenge against Cleveland’s 30th-ranked defense.
Additionally, Myles Garrett and friends will have a difficult time teeing off against Brady, who gets rid of the ball quicker than a sneeze.
As much as it would be great to see a ‘W’ in Brissett’s last game before Deshaun Watson takes over, I just don’t see it happening.
My Prediction: Bucs 30, Browns 23
One more week for the Cleveland Browns before Deshaun Watson returns.
Unfortunately, the Browns’ on-field problems extend well beyond the quarterback spot.
At 3-7, any remote chance at a playoff spot has to start Sunday with a win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa looked vulnerable early this season.
However, Brady and friends have played better of late, rattling off two straight wins before entering their bye last week.
Brady has picked up the offense, finding seven or more receivers in their last two wins.
Defensively, Tampa has been sharper too. In their last two wins, they’ve allowed less than 20 points after failing to do so in their previous five games.
For Brissett to beat his former mentor in Brady, he has to be sharp while not doing too much.
That’s been the winning formula all season: trust Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and give your receivers a chance.
Defensively, the Browns can’t let the run game carve them up.
Leonard Fournette is doubtful, but Rachaad White is plenty capable after rushing for over 100 yards in their last win over Seattle.
The Browns are desperate, though, and desperation can be dangerous to beat.
My Prediction: Browns 27, Bucs 23