Baker Mayfield has rode an orange wave into savior status ever since rescuing the Browns from 14 points down against the Jets last Thursday night.
Now, he’s got to keep it up.
Mayfield won’t have the surprise card to play as he did against New York. Against Oakland, he’ll be facing a defense that’s had time to game-plain against him.
The Jets’ pass rush feasted on Tyrod Taylor, but got thrown for a loop when Mayfield enter the game, got rid of the ball quickly, completing two passes over the center of the field.
All of a sudden, the Jets realized that pass rush wasn’t going to be as effective against Mayfield as it was Taylor.
The Raiders’ defense isn’t the same without Khalil Mack rushing from the EDGE.
Oakland is 27th in the NFL, having allowed 907 passing yards, while tied for 15th against the run.
Cleveland should be able to run the ball, while putting Mayfield in a position to make plays downfield.
Derek Carr enters the game as one of the most accurate passers in the league with a completion rate of 76.6 percent, however, that includes five interceptions! That’s tied with four other quarterbacks for the league lead.
He did something he didn’t do all of last season during Week 1, which was throw three interceptions in one game.
Protecting the ball won’t get any easier against a Browns’ team that’s shown a re-occuring ability to take the ball away from the other team.
Rookie corner Denzel Ward already has two interceptions, three passes defensed, a forced fumble and a recovery in just three career games. He’ll probably match up on Amari Cooper, meaning it won’t be easy for Carr to get the ball to his favorite receiver.
On the opposite side, Carr’s got to watch out for Terrance Mitchell, the little known defensive back who’s quickly becoming a fan favorite of the Dawg Pound. Mitchell as two forced fumbles and an interception.
Getting the ball out on time will be paramount to Carr having a good day as the Browns’ defense has thrived through ability to put pressure on the passer.
He’s capable of lighting up the stat book, but if the Browns can limit him, Cleveland should walk away with their first road win since 2015.