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2023 Opponent Breakdown: Cleveland Browns

Our 2023 opponent breakdown series continues with Los Angeles' Week 13 home opponent, the Cleveland Browns (Dec. 3, 1:25 p.m. PT – FOX; SoFi Stadium).



For their first 11 games of the season, the Browns leaned on a run-heavy offense while operating with quarterback Jacoby Brissett under center while Deshaun Watson served his suspension for allegations of inappropriate conduct and sexual assault. The approach yielded nine games of 20 or more points scored during that stretch, but was hampered by a defense that surrendered 20 or more points in eight of those games. Overall, it produced a 4-7 record prior to Watson's return.

When Watson came back, it was evident he hadn't played live football since 2020. He completed just 58.2 percent of his passes for 1,102 yards with seven touchdowns against five interceptions and eclipsed 200 passing yards in a single game just twice.

Cleveland finished the 2022 season with a 7-10 overall record.

Key changes

The Browns part ways with defensive coordinator Joe Woods due to an inconsistent 2022 performance by that unit. While it turned things around from Week 12 onward allowing just 305 total yards per game, they had also surrendered 349.9 per game through the first 10 games of the season.

Woods was replaced by veteran defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who most recently served as a senior defensive assistant for the Tennessee Titans the past two seasons.

Cleveland also acquired wide receiver Elijah Moore in a trade with the Jets – along with a third-round pick in this year's draft – in exchange for a second-round pick in this year's draft. Moore was the 34th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Head coach

Kevin Stefanski enters his fourth season as head coach of the Browns. He has compiled a regular season record of 26-24 and playoff record of 1-1 through his first three years.

What to watch for

Browns offense with Watson, and defending Nick Chubb

The six games Watson played was a small sample size and likely doesn't resemble what a full offseason and the 11 games will show by the team these two teams play in early December.

It also apparently won't be the same.

Well, foundationally and structurally, it will, but everything else, will be different, according to Watson's comments to Cleveland reporters this week.

How that different that offense looks, plus the addition of Moore, makes for a compelling late-season matchup for the Rams defense.

Chubb, meanwhile, has finished as one of the NFL's top-five rushers in three of the last four seasons and remains a strong candidate to go for four in five seasons this year.

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