Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns vs. 49ers – Week 8

The Cleveland Browns continue their tour of the NFC West Division as they travel to San Francisco on Sunday to take on the flavor-of-the-month 49ers.

The Opposition

San Francisco record: 5-1 (1st in the NFC West)
Offensive rank: 27th overall/31st passing/6th rushing
Defensive rank: 11th overall/22nd passing/2ndh rushing
All-time record: Browns lead 18-8 (including AAFC games), with an 8-5 mark away from home
Last meeting: Browns won 20-7 in 2007
The line: Browns (+9.5)

What to Watch For

This is going to be a game of contrasts.

The 49ers can run the ball (6th) in the NFL; the Browns can’t stop the run (20th).

The 49ers can’t pass the ball (31st in the NFL); the Browns have the top pass defense in the league.

The Browns can’t run the ball (29th in the NFL); the 49ers are tough to run on (2nd in the NFL).

The Browns can’t really pass the ball either (22nd in the NFL); but the 49ers can’t stop the pass (22nd).

The Browns possibly (likely?) will be without Peyton Hillis again this week, as his hamstring continues to bark. Injuries continue to plague Hillis, who has seen his numbers drop across the board through the first six games this year as compared to last year (28 fewer carries, 180 less yards, almost a full yard difference in yards per carry).

The team clearly misses him as they are only averaging 91.2 yards per game on the ground. If Hillis can’t go, we’re not sure how much success Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya can have, although Ogbonnaya looked good catching the ball last week.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is averaging 193.3 yards per game in October, and running back Frank Gore has rushed for more than 125 yards in each of his last three games.

If the Browns can slow down the San Francisco rushing attack, and at least move the ball well enough on offense to keep the clock moving (like last week against Seattle) they may be able to find a way to keep themselves in the game.

And let’s not even get started on the special teams.

The one Browns vs. 49ers Game That Will Be Hard to Top

The 1949 AAFC Championship Game the Browns won 21-7. It was the Browns fourth consecutive league title and the last game in AAFC history.

The Prediction

This is one of those games we could see the Browns winning under certain circumstances.

The 49ers are not as good as their record indicates and are one of the current media darlings in the NFL. Things are going to start evening out for them.

The Browns may have history on their side as well, as San Francisco is looking for its first five-game winning streak since late in 2001.

Cleveland also won on its last visit to San Francisco, the Kelly Holcomb “teeny-tiny fracture” game in 2003.

But with the offense currently struggling, and with Hillis possibly missing the game, Ben Watson maybe limited because of a head injury and Mohamed Massaquoi definitely out, it’s not going to be an easy day.

We have to go with the 49ers and the points this week.

Record picking the Browns (using the point spread) this year: 3-2-1.

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