By all accounts, the Cleveland Browns will need a Christmas Miracle to defeat the Packers in Green Bay at Lambeau Field Dec. 25.
Nobody is crazy enough to make the Browns the favorites, with Green Bay being listed as 7.5-point favorites at the time of publication, courtesy of WynnBET.
Crazier things have happened, though, so here’s three presents the Browns must unwrap on Lambeau’s Frozen Tundra if Cleveland has any shot to knock off Aaron Rodgers and company.
1. Cleveland Browns need Vintage 2020 Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield is eligible to come off the COVID list Saturday, so unless he tests negative on Christmas Eve, he’ll travel separately to get to the game.
When he’s on the field, the Browns need Mayfield to flash what we saw in 2020. He must be able to push the ball downfield, a little. If the threat’s not there, the box is going to be swamped with Packers waiting to tee off on Nick Chubb.
Mayfield doesn’t have to be Patrick Mahomes, but he’s got to make winning plays. We saw Nick Mullens make one of those when he stood in the pocket and found Harrison Bryant for a touchdown.
The non-throwing shoulder is still busted, but Mayfield’s had a chance get some rest, which should help with some other injuries. No more excuses. Go out and win the game.
2. Cleveland Browns need miracle cure for Myles Garrett
Myles Garrett’s groin injury is a major concern. The Browns are keeping the MRI results pretty close to the vest, but the mere fact he needed the test doesn’t speak well for Garrett’s chances of playing.
It was clear at the end of last week, that the groin was really slowing Garrett down. He just didn’t have that elite explosiveness he’s so well known for.
If you’re the Browns, you have to consider the big picture when it comes to the defensive end suiting up. If the Browns lose this game, they’re not out of it, yet. It’d be more important to have him closer to full strength against Pittsburgh, and then Cincinnati.
Garrett insisted he’s going to play Christmas. We shall see.
3. Cleveland Browns needs Nick Harris to show he has a future
Harris was a 2020 fifth-round pick out of Washington. He’s played sparingly throughout his career so far, but when he has gotten into games, in addition to his work in the preseason, there’s been major concern as to whether he can be a starting lineman in the NFL.
There are concerns regarding Harris’ size. He’s listed at 6-1, 293 pounds.
Now that he’s had some more time to work with line coach Bill Callahan, we’ll see if Harris has a future, as he’ll likely start in place of J.C. Tretter, who will be out with COVID.