Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns Matchup Preview (10/21/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns Matchup Preview (10/21/21)

Sometimes, Sunday just isn’t your day. This definitely applies to the Denver Broncos, who were just steamrolled at home by the division rival Las Vegas Raiders. The Broncos were clearly outmatched by the Raiders in the 34-24 loss, even though they were home favorites. The Raiders had just gone through a tumultuous week, complete with an interim coach stepping in, so bettors were decidedly down on the team. Turns out, the Broncos 3-0 start was more of an illusion. 

The Browns didn’t exactly have a banner Sunday either. The team had a big opportunity to make a statement against the Arizona Cardinals, but were blown out 37-14. Not only were they completely dominated by the Cards, but they lost plenty of players to injury. Both the Browns and Broncos are now 3-3 and in desperate need of a win. Let’s take a look at what to expect when the two meet Thursday night.

Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns Betting Odds

Even with most of the team healing up, the Cleveland Browns are a talented team. They lost big to arguably the best team in the league right now, and injuries clearly held them back. I think the team will benefit from QB Baker Mayfield taking a week off to heal his shoulder. Case Keenum has shown he can be successful, and he has a favorable matchup against the downtrodden Broncos. 

The Denver Broncos could very well win this game if they do what I’ve been telling them to do for weeks: stick to the run game. However, partially due to Cleveland’s success against the run game this season (only 87 yards allowed per game), I expect them to try airing it out once more. The team is in desperate need of offensive identity, and I don’t believe they’ll find one until a new coaching regime takes charge. The team’s been fairly lifeless in the years since Peyton Manning hung up his cleats, and fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with the direction of the team.

I still see the Browns coming away with a win in this one, mainly due to coaching. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski won coach of the Year last season for a reason, and I don’t see Vic Fangio outstrategizing him. QB Case Keenum is one of the best backups in the league, and should perform well in Baker Mayfield’s absence. It will be a close (and fairly unexciting) game, but the Browns will walk away with a much-needed win to stay in the playoff race while the Broncos continue a 4-0 spiral. 

My predictions: Browns win 17-13, Browns -3.5, under 42.5 points

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TV Schedule

Date: Thursday, September 21
Time: 8:20 PM ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, OH
TV Coverage: FOX

Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns Live Stream

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Injuries

Denver Broncos: RB Melvin Gordon III (hip) Q, TE Noah Fant (foot) Q, QB Teddy Bridgewater (foot) Q, Baron Browning LB (concussion) O, WR Jerry Jeudy (ankle) IR, LB Alexander Johnson O, T Garett Bolles (knee) Q, LB Andre Mintze (hamstring) Q, CB Mike Ford (knee) IR
Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield (shoulder) O, RB Nick Chubb (calf) O, WR Odell Backham Jr. (shoulder) Q, CB A.J. Green (shoulder) O, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koarmoah (ankle) D, RB Kareem Hunt (calf) O, T Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) O, LB Malcolm Smith (abdomen) O, WR Jarvis Landry (knee) IR, FB Andy Janovich (hamstring) IR, S M.J. Stewart Jr. (hamstring) IR

Denver Broncos Analysis

Vic Fangio is currently coaching for his job. The Broncos head coach has been unable to field a productive offense during his time in Denver, and now the defense is looking weak as well. The team allowed the Raiders to gain 426 yards on Sunday, which is troubling when the defense was supposed to be your team’s strong suit. LB Von Miller needs to step up, as he’s only recorded 0.5 sacks in the past three weeks.

Every time I take a look at this team, I’m baffled by their willingness to abandon the run. RBs Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams combined for 103 yards with a 4.9 average on Sunday. I get that they were playing from behind for a good part of the game, but when your QB is in the middle of a three-interception game, you’ve got to switch things up. 

The shame for the Broncos is they have quality receivers but no one to give them the ball. TE Noah Fant and WRs Cortland Sutton and Tim Patrick have gotten the lion’s share of the catches this year. The three are combining for 1,088 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. This also shows the depth at receiver after injuries to Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. Fangio might be forced to make a QB change (maybe a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo?) in order to stay employed in Denver.

Denver Broncos Depth Chart

QB: Teddy Bridgewater
RB1: Melvin Gordon III
RB2: Javonte Williams
WR1: Courtland Sutton
WR2: Tim Patrick
WR3: John Brown
TE1: Noah Fant

Cleveland Browns Analysis

The Cleveland Browns have had three losses this year, all to potential playoff teams. However, while the losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers were fairly close, the team got absolutely buried by the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The team managed only 290 yards on the day and desperately missed RB Nick Chubb. But that’s only the start of their problems…

The injury bug didn’t just bite the Browns on Sunday, it devoured them. It all starts with QB Baker Mayfield, who absorbed five sacks and aggravated a shoulder injury. With Nick Chubb out of the game, RB Kareem Hunt got the start and is now on IR with a hamstring injury. Other injuries include WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry as well as FB Andy Janovich and three different offensive tackles. Is the entire offense on the injury report?

Baker Mayfield intended to play on Thursday night, but it’s looking like Case Keenum will be taking the reins. While the team has decent depth at wide receiver, they’re going to have a tough time replacing their talented running backs. We’re going to learn a lot about how much the scheme is responsible for Cleveland’s powerful rushing attack when Demetric Felton and D’Ernest Johnson take the field on Thursday. Banged up on a short week, the Browns have a tough task ahead of them on Thursday night.

Cleveland Browns Depth Chart

QB: Baker Mayfield
RB1: D’Ernest Johnson
RB2: Demetric Felton
WR1: Donovan Peoples-Jones
WR2: Rashard Higgins
WR3: Odell Beckham Jr.
TE1: David Njoku

Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns Daily Fantasy Picks

It’s hard to ignore just how productive Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones was on Sunday. The receiver hauled in four catches for 101 yards with two touchdowns and is the second leading receiver on the team. With injuries to the rest of the receiving corps, I expect Case Keenum to lean heavily on Peoples-Jones this Thursday night. The receiver is currently $3,400 on DraftKings.  

Week 7 Matchup Previews
  • Patriots @ Falcons
  • Colts @ Bills
  • Ravens @ Bears
  • Lions @ Browns
  • Texans @ Titans
  • Vikings @ Packers
  • Dolphins @ Jets
  • Saints @ Eagles
  • Washington @ Panthers
  • 49ers @ Jaguars
  • Bengals @ Raiders
  • Cowboys @ Chiefs
  • Cardinals @ Seahawks
  • Steelers @ Chargers
  • Giants @ Buccaneers
Anthony Elio is a professional writer based in Denver, CO. While he’s written about everything from video games to couponing in the past, he’s set his sights on sports betting. He also plays drums in the Denver rock band Television Generation.

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