NFL Game Previews: Browns-49ers Matchup
NFL Game Previews: Browns-49ers Matchup

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Cleveland (+3.5) at San Francisco, 46.5 o/u – Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

It's a Monday night clash of division leaders. The Browns' offense came to life last week against the Ravens, but they did it without Baker Mayfield really catching fire. He did throw for a season-high 342 yards, but he has yet to toss more than one TD in any game this year, which is far from the explosive performance expected from him when the team brought aboard Odell Beckham. Instead it was Nick Chubb who carried the load — athletically, he finally looks like the guy he was in college before his devastating knee injury, and it's hard to see what role Kareem Hunt's going to have in this backfield in the second half except as the guy who gives Chubb a breather now and then. The Niners are arguably the most surprising undefeated team left, and while a cushy schedule and early bye have helped, San Francisco is still showing signs of putting together a fairly stout defense, which would make it a serious threat once coach Kyle Shanahan gets the offense rolling. A healthier set of wideouts around him has cut into George Kittle's target volume and production, but defenses deserve a little credit for making sure he isn't beating them — after leading the entire NFL, not just tight ends, in yards after catch per reception (10.2) last year, he's posted a much more pedestrian 6.4 in 2019, which puts him behind

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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