DETROIT (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns and Lions rivalry dates back to the 1950’s when the 2 teams met 4 times in the NFL championship game, with Detroit winning 3 of them, and not just the ‘Great Lakes Classic’ of recent preseason fame.
Cleveland is 0-8 for a second straight season and 1-23 in 2 years under Hue Jackson, whose future likely depends on how the team plays in the second half, which begins Sunday afternoon at Ford Field. The Browns are 4-41 in their last 45 games, matching the Lions (2007-10) for the worst stretch in league history. In 2008, Detroit became only NFL team so far to go 0-16 but the Browns could challenge it for a second consecutive year.
Here’s what to watch for when the teams kick off at 1.
– Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since a Week 3 loss at Indianapolis and he has thrown just 3 TDs and 11 interceptions, which is tied for the league-worst in 7 starts. Kizer will need to watch out for Lions safety Glover Quin has 19 interceptions since 2013, tied for the second most in the league.
– The red zone. Offensively the Browns have scored just 12 times – 9 touchdowns, 3-of-4 on field goals and turned it over 6 times and once more on downs this season. Jackson needs Kizer to produce points inside the 20 to stay on the field and position the Browns to get that elusive first win. Defensively the Browns have seen opponents breach their 20 23 times, stopping them just once, which came on goal-line stand a few weeks ago but Gregg Williams’ unit has failed to create a single turnover. Of the 22 scores Cleveland has allowed, 17 have been touchdowns and they’ve allowed all 5 field goal tries.
– Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett returns to to the lineup after missing the Oct. 29 game in London due to a concussion. The top overall pick from this year’s draft has a team-leading 4 sacks in just 3 games but he has been plagued by injuries since training camp began. The Browns will need Garrett to get after Matthew Stafford Sunday when he goes against Lions left tackle Taylor Decker, who makes his first appearance of the season this week.
– Cleveland safety Jabrill Peppers is back after missing 2 games with a toe injury. Sunday’s game in Detroit will be homecoming of sorts for Peppers, who starred at Michigan.
– The Browns’ defense is ranked ninth overall allowing on average 313.5 yards per game and fourth against the run surrendering 84.3 yards per game on the ground after being ranked 31st in both categories last season.
– Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, picked first overall in 2009, is trying for third straight game with at least 300 yards passing.
– Detroit’s remaining schedule includes only one game against a team that is currently above .500: Minnesota in their traditional Thanksgiving Day match.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)