Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans Matchup Preview (12/6/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
If the playoffs started today, both the Titans and Browns would have locked down spots in the AFC. After their impressive 45-26 win over the Colts, Tennessee sits at the 3 seed in the AFC with the lead in the AFC South. Cleveland, meanwhile, sits at the 5 seed after holding off the Jaguars last week. However, neither of these teams is guaranteed a playoff spot with the Raiders, Ravens, and Patriots on the outside looking in but three games or fewer within these teams. The Titans have to continue to hold off the Colts in the AFC South while the Browns have to keep winning in order to lock down one of the heavily-contested wild card spots. Tennessee has a 3-game win streak against Cleveland at the moment, but both of these teams will be hungry for a win here, and this should be a very exciting game between two likely playoff squads. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, December 6th, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Nissan Stadium – Nashville, Tennessee
TV Coverage: CBS
Browns vs. Titans Live Stream
Where can you watch Browns vs. Titans online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Browns vs. Titans Free Online Now.
Cleveland Browns: RB Kareem Hunt (thigh) Q, OG Wyatt Teller (calf) Q, OT Jack Conklin (knee) Q, C J.C. Tretter (knee) Q, CB Denzel Ward (calf) Q, CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) IR, DB Ronnie Harrison (shoulder) IR, Sione Takitaki (COVID-19) IR
Tennessee Titans: CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee) Q, OG Roger Saffold (ankle) Q, TE Jonnu Smith (undisclosed) Q, OT Dennis Kelly (knee) Q, DT Jeffery Simmons (knee) Q, D’Onta Foreman (knee) Q, LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) IR, OT Ty Sambrailo (undisclosed) IR
Cleveland Browns Analysis
Baker Mayfield is coming off one of his better games of the season as he completed 19 of 29 passes for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Jaguars. That was only the second time all year that he threw for more than 250 yards, and with just 26.7 passing attempts per game, the volume hasn’t really been there – he has just 191.6 passing yards per game, the second-fewest in the NFL. His efficiency hasn’t been great as he has a below-average QBR and passer rating, but he’s on pace for just 10 interceptions, a significant improvement from last year’s 21 picks. The Browns have been much more of a run-heavy team this season, and Mayfield hasn’t been asked to do much, but a lack of volume and production have undermined his season.
Speaking of the Browns’ run game, things have been even better since Nick Chubb’s return from injury. He ran the ball 19 times for 144 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars last week and added 3 catches for 32 yards. He ranks third in the NFL with 102.7 rushing yards per game and has run at an outstanding 6.3 YPC clip, the best among all running backs. With 6 touchdowns through 7 games, he’s a weekly threat to hit paydirt as well. Of course, Kareem Hunt has still been involved, and he had 10 carries for 62 yards against Jacksonville. However, his usage has decreased significantly since Chubb’s return, and with Hunt dealing with a thigh injury, he’s not a guarantee to play this week. Still, this team has one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in football, and Chubb and Hunt are perhaps the best RB duo in football.
I talked about Baker Mayfield’s limited passing volume this season, and that has extended to minimal productivity from the team’s pass-catchers. Jarvis Landry is coming off his best game of the season as he finished with 8 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. That was his season-high in catches, the first time he’s topped 100 yards, and his first score of the year. Cleveland has had to deal with a stretch of bad-weather games following a slew of contests in the wind, rain, and sleet at home, so Landry should continue to produce in a plus matchup with good weather on the horizon. Austin Hooper ranks second on the team with 28 catches for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns. Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t been on the field in over a month after his season-ending injury, but he still ranks second on the team in both receiving yards and touchdowns. Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, and Donovan Peoples-Jones have been inconsistent at receiver. Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, Harrison Bryant, and David Njoku have been the team’s most reliable pass-catchers outside of Landry and Hooper.
Perhaps the biggest factor in the Browns’ 8-3 start has been their offensive line, which has played like the best unit in football so far. Cleveland is averaging 161.4 rushing yards per game and 5 YPC, both leading the NFL, despite Nick Chubb missing a handful of games. The Browns have also held Baker Mayfield to just 17 sacks, the 8th-fewest in the NFL. The five-man unit of Jack Conklin, Wyatt Teller, J.C. Tretter, Joel Bitonio, and rookie tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. has been dominant all year. Andy Janovich, the team’s fullback, has played a huge part as well and is the early leader for the AFC in Pro Bowl voting among all fullbacks. Teller, Conklin, and Tretter are all questionable for this game, so that’s something that is well worth keeping an eye on, but it sounds like they are dealing with more minor injuries and should be good to go. This offensive line is going to dominate against a weak Titans front seven.
Defensively, the Browns have been inconsistent all year, and allowing 25 points to a Mike Glennon-led Jaguars team was not a good look. They’re now allowing 26 points per game, the 11th-most in the NFL, and 354.9 yards per game, the 15th-most. In particular, the team’s pass defense has struggled as they’ve allowed the 12th-most passing yards and 8th-most passing touchdowns as well as the 14th-highest passer rating. With 9.5 sacks so far, Myles Garrett is tied for third in the NFL in that metric despite playing two fewer games than the guys ahead of him. However, Olivier Vernon is the only other player on the team with more than 3.5 sacks. Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, the Browns’ top two cornerbacks, are not expected to play this week, and Terrance Mitchell, Kevin Johnson, and Tavierre Thomas have not held up in their absence. Cleveland allowed Mike Glennon to throw for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns last week, so we should expect a strong game from Ryan Tannehill. The Browns’ run defense has fared better as they’ve allowed the 9th-fewest rushing yards and the 12th-fewest rushing touchdowns. However, it’s difficult to count on any run defense against Derrick Henry this season.
Cleveland Browns Depth Chart
Tennessee Titans Analysis
Ryan Tannehill continues to turn in incredibly efficient play at quarterback as he ranks fifth among qualified quarterbacks in QBR. He’s on pace for 34 passing touchdowns to just 6 interceptions and has perhaps played even better than last season, which many felt was unsustainable. Tannehill didn’t have to do much against the Colts last week as Derrick Henry stole the show, and the Titans had the lead for much of the game, but his 13 of 22 completions for 221 yards and a touchdown was good for a QBR of 87.6. With A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and more providing this team with some great pass-catching weapons, Tannehill has been very effective week-to-week and will present problems for a weak Browns’ pass defense.
Does Derrick Henry deserve MVP votes? That’s a legitimate question after his outstanding performance against the Colts this week as he ran the ball 27 times for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns, all of which came in the first half. He leads the NFL in rushing yards and ranks 2nd in rushing touchdowns as he’s on pace for 1,824 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns – would-be career-best numbers by a significant margin. Tennessee’s offensive line has struggled amidst injuries and inconsistent play from starters, but it hasn’t mattered as Henry has dominated and absolutely carried this offense at times.
A.J. Brown is quickly becoming one of the best receivers in the NFL. He’s on pace for 71 catches for 1,132 yards and 14 touchdowns so far this season and also scored a touchdown on an onside-kick recovery on Sunday. Brown’s combination of size, speed, and athleticism makes him an incredibly difficult guy to cover, and that will especially be the case for Cleveland as they’re likely to be missing their top two cornerbacks in Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. Corey Davis actually leads this team with 42 catches for 619 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Jonnu Smith has added 30 catches for 338 yards and 7 touchdowns. Anthony Firkser, Adam Humphries, and Khalif Raymond have been pretty productive as well. With how dominant Derrick Henry is on the ground, opposing defenses have to stack the box, and that leaves some incredible opportunities for deep play-action passing against weaker coverages for Tennessee.
The Titans’ offensive line hasn’t been the same dominant group that it was last year, but it’s still been pretty solid. The free agency loss of Jack Conklin and loss of Taylor Lewan to a season-ending ACL injury has left the team without its two great starting tackles of last year. More recent injuries to Dennis Kelly and Ty Sambrailo haven’t helped matters, either. The interior trio of Roger Saffold, Ben Jones, and Nate Davis has remained strong, however, particularly as Davis has taken a huge step forward in his sophomore season. Ryan Tannehill has been sacked just 16 times, tied for the sixth-fewest, and the team is rushing for 4.9 YPC, the sixth-best clip in football. With Henry leading the charge and demanding opponents stack the box, the team is asked to do less in pass protection with a steady dose of play-action and bootlegs. Arthur Smith’s offense continues to be the driving force for this team’s successes.
Last year, the Titans’ defense was a major strength as they held opponents to just 20.7 points per game, the 12th-fewest in the NFL. However, this year, they’ve taken a huge step back in allowing 25.9 points per game, the 12th-most in the NFL. The team’s passing defense, or lack thereof, has been consistently problematic as they’re allowing the 5th-most passing yards and the 4th-most passing touchdowns this season. A complete lack of pass rush has been a major culprit as they have just 14 sacks through 11 games, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. Jadeveon Clowney, the team’s best pass-rusher, is on Injured Reserve at the moment. The addition of slot corner Desmond King has helped some, but Adoree’ Jackson has continued to miss practice with a knee issue. The Browns’ don’t feature any elite pass-catchers, though, so the Titans’ pass defense should hold up fine against the underwhelming Baker Mayfield. The bigger issue is the team’s run defense, which has ranked middle-of-the-pack in most respects and could be without its best run-stopper this week in Jeffery Simmons. That doesn’t bode well for them against Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and perhaps the best run-blocking offensive line in football.
Tennessee Titans Depth Chart
Spread: Titans -5.5, Browns +5.5
Moneyline: Titans -250, Browns +210
A slew of early bets on the Titans pushed this line from Tennessee -3.5 all the way to -5.5 and even -6 on some books. However, the Titans have gone just 5-6 ATS this season, so it’s hard to count on them covering a large number. I would pick the Titans to win the game on the back of Derrick Henry and their play-action passing as I don’t expect the Browns’ defense to offer much resistance against this offense. I also give Tenneessee the coaching edge with Mike Vrabel and Arthur Smith over Kevin Stefanski and Joe Woods. However, Baker Mayfield should have a solid game in good weather conditions in Tennessee, and this offense is much better when Nick Chubb is on the field. The total has gone over in 9 of Tennessee’s last 12 games at home and in 5 of Tennessee’s last 6 games vs. Cleveland, and I would lean that direction on the points total here as well. Both of these offenses are going to ask questions of the opposing defenses that they are not prepared to answer. Give me the Titans by about a field goal in an exciting, high-scoring game in Tennessee.
My prediction: Titans 30-27, Browns cover, over 53.5 points
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Daily Fantasy Picks
After his massive 38.5-point performance (PPR), Derrick Henry is expected to see a huge uptick in pricing for DFS. However, winter is coming, and this is the time of year that Henry starts to dominate against weaker defenses. The Browns have actually been pretty solid against the run and have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points per game to RBs, but I don’t care. Tennessee is going to score a bundle of points, and Henry is a huge part of it. He’s averaging 29 carries per game and is going to get the rock a ton with plenty of chances to score touchdowns – don’t hesitate to pay up for him.
Since returning from his injury, Nick Chubb has resumed looking like one of the best running backs in football. The Browns’ elite run-blocking offensive line has played a huge part of it, but Chubb’s top-notch talent has played an equal role in him leading all running backs with an absurd 6.3 YPC. He has 19+ carries in each of the past three games and has topped 110 yards in all three, with a touchdown in two of them. The Titans could be without Jeffery Simmons this week, their top run-stopping defensive lineman, and Tennessee is already allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to RBs. Chubb will be one of my favorite DFS targets.
In the middle of another phenomenal fantasy season, Ryan Tannehill is averaging 19.8 fantasy points per game as he’s on pace for 34 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. This game has one of the highest over-under totals on the week, and the Browns’ secondary is banged up right now. They’ve allowed the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and Tannehill should provide a strong baseline as well as huge upside in this matchup. He’s one of my favorite quarterbacks to target for DFS this week.
The Juice is Loose! Jarvis Landry finally came through with his best fantasy performance of the season last week with 8 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown, good for 28.3 PPR points. That was his first game with good weather since Odell Beckham Jr.’s season-ending injury almost a month ago, and we shouldn’t forget his ability to be a top-20 fantasy receiver. The Titans have a beatable pass defense, and Landry is going to be Baker Mayfield’s top target once again. Against Tennessee, who allows the 12th-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers, Landry is a strong value play again this week.