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Cleveland Browns Could Start QB Joe Flacco vs Rams Week 13

by California Digital News

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Posted on: November 30, 2023, 10:55h. 

Last updated on: November 30, 2023, 11:28h.

If rookie quarterback Dorian Robinson-Thompson doesn’t clear concussion protocol, then the Cleveland Browns will start veteran backup Joe Flacco against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Cleveland Browns Joe Flacco
Cleveland Browns backup quarterback Joe Flacco, seen here in street clothes on the sidelines against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field in Week 12, could make his first start for the Browns this week. (Image: Getty)

The Browns (7-4) currently occupy one of three AFC wild-card spots. The Rams host the Browns at SoFi Stadium in Week 13, and the Browns are a +3.5 road underdog.

If Flacco starts this Sunday, he will become the fourth quarterback to start for the Browns this season.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson started six games before he sustained a season-ending shoulder injury on his throwing arm. The Browns were 5-1 with Watson as the starter.

Veteran backup P.J. Walker struggled in his two starts for the Browns, completing only 48.6% of his passes this season with one touchdown and five interceptions.

Thompson-Robinson, a rookie from UCLA, started three games this season. He took a vicious shot against the Denver Broncos in Week 12 when he attempted to scramble on a pass attempt. He was knocked out of the game and diagnosed with a concussion. Walker finished the game in relief, but the Browns lost, 29-12.

The Browns are 1-2 with Thompson-Robinson as a starter this season.

Flacco: Gunslinger for Hire

Flacco, 38, had been a free agent all season, but had yet to sign with a team before the Browns added him in the wake of the Watson injury.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski lost faith in Walker as the starter, which is why Thompson-Robinson started the last two games. If Thompson-Robinson clears concussion protocol in the next 48 hours, then he’ll start against the Rams, and Flacco will be his backup.

Stefanski promoted Flacco to second string this week, and Walker was demoted to third string. Flacco has been taking reps in practice with the offensive starters, while Walker is running the scout team.

Big, strong arm and obviously, he can make every throw,” said Stefanski. “He’s done a very nice job in the meeting room, getting to know his teammates, getting to know the system.”

Flacco led the 2012 Baltimore Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII and earned MVP honors. He started four games for the New York Jets last season.

Flacco started 180 games over his career and has a 99-81 record as a starter. Since he left Baltimore in 2018, Flacco posted a 3-14 record as a starter. He won only one game since 2019.

The Browns rely on their vaunted defense to keep them in games. They have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, allowing only 19 points per game, which is ranked #7. They’re ranked first in the NFL in fewest yards allowed (247.9) and ranked first in passing yards allowed (142.0).

Browns in Playoff Hunt

With six games remaining, only two of the Browns’ opponents have a winning record. The Browns face potential playoff squads, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3) in Week 14, and the Houston Texans (6-5) in Week 16.

The Browns play four upcoming games against teams with a losing record, including the Rams (5-6) this Sunday, the Chicago Bears (4-8) in Week 15, the New York Jets (4-7) in Week 17, and the Cincinnati Bengals (5-6) in Week 18.

The Ravens (9-3) hold down first place in the rough-and-tumble AFC North. The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4) are in second place and look like a new team after they fired ineffective offensive coordinator Matt Canada. The Browns have the same record as the Steelers, but they occupy third place in the division. The Bengals lost Joe Burrow to a season-ending wrist injury, and they’re in last place.

The Ravens are the betting favorite to win the AFC North at -340 odds, and they’re ahead of the Steelers (+400) and Browns (+800).

If the season ended today, three teams from the AFC North would secure spots in the playoffs. The Ravens would lock up the #1 seed, and the Steelers would earn the #5 seed and the Brown would get the #6 seed.

The Browns are -175 odds to make the playoffs, and +130 odds to miss the postseason according to a prop bet by DraftKings.

Upshot predicts the Browns have a 9% chance to win the division with a 68% chance to advance to the playoffs.

The Browns are +5000 odds to win the AFC Championship, and +6500 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII.

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