Baker's Dozen: Browns turn keys over to Mayfield

First test comes in 'The Black Hole' against the Raiders

Daryl Ruiter
September 30, 2018 - 12:48 pm
Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield New York Jets

David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) – Baker Mayfield took Cleveland the Jets by storm with his debut, but as offensive coordinator Todd Haley noted this week, now the real test begins.

After rallying the Browns from a 14-0 deficit by completing 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards in the 21-17 victory to end a 19-game winless drought, Mayfield heads into one of the most hostile environments in the NFL – AKA ‘The Black Hole.’

History is not on Mayfield's side Sunday – only 2 of the 29 starters since 1999 won their debuts: Jeff Garcia in 2004 and Brian Hoyer in 2013 and the last No. 1 overall pick QB to win their first start came in 2002 – David Carr.

The Browns look to win back-to-back games for the first time since they won 3 straight from Oct. 26, 2014-Nov. 6, 2014.

Cleveland’s defense ranks No. 1 in turnover ratio at +9 by forcing 11 turnovers through 3 games. Cleveland forced 13 all last season. Unfortunately, the Browns have netted just 3 scoring drives and a total of 13 points off them.

Special teams are a point of emphasis this week as the unit has struggled the first 3 weeks. Cleveland has had a field goal and punt blocked, committed a multitude of penalties and missed 2 field goals and 2 extra points. They believe they corrected the latter by switching out Zane Gonzalez for Greg Joseph but the kick and punt protection along with return game leaves quite a bit to be desired. Don’t be surprised to see Jarvis Landry returning punts again Sunday.

Last week – Browns beat the Jets 21-17; Raiders lost to the Dolphins 28-20

Last time – Sept. 27, 2015: Raiders 27, Browns 20

Series – Raiders lead 12-10-0

Familiar faces – Browns head coach Hue Jackson returns to Oakland after serving as the Raiders head coach in 2011 where he went 8-8 but was fired after the season following the October death of Al Davis.

Browns cornerback TJ Carrie returns to Oakland after signing with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He spent the first 4 years of his career with the Raiders.

Raiders defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin was a 2008 sixth-round pick by the Browns

Rankings – Points per game: Browns 20t (20.0), Raiders 28 (17.3)

Total yards per game: Browns 22 (325.7), Raiders 6 (400.7)

Rushing per game: Browns 5 (134.3), Raiders 16t (98.7)

Passing per game: 27 (191.3), Raiders 6 (302.0)

Points allowed per game: Browns 11 (19.7), Raiders 22 (27.0)

Defensive yards allowed per game: Browns 20 (338.3), Raiders 13 (374.3)

Run defense: Browns 16 (109.3), Raiders 22 (116.3)

Pass defense: Browns 12 (229), Raiders 19 (258)

Turnover ratio: Browns 1 (+9), Raiders 31 (-4)

Projected starters – Offense: WR Jarvis Landry, TE Darren Fells, LT Desmond Harrison, LG Joel Bitonio, C JC Tretter, RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Chris Hubbard, QB Baker Mayfield, TE David Njoku, WR Antonio Callaway, RB Carlos Hyde

Defense: DE Myles Garrett, DT Larry Ogunjobi, DT Trevon Coley, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, WILL Christian Kirksey, MIKE Joe Schobert, SAM Jamie Collins, CB Denzel Ward, CB Terrance Mitchell, FS Damarious Randall, SS Jabrill Peppers

Inactives – WR Damion Ratley, DB Tavierre Thomas, LB James Burgess Jr., OL Austin Corbett, TE Seth DeValve, DL Devaroe Lawrence        

No lineup changes expected. 

Broadcast information – Radio: 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX and the University Hospitals Cleveland Browns radio network. TV: WJW TV-8 (FOX)

Kickoff – 4:05 p.m. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Prediction – Browns 27, Raiders 20