NFL Football

41
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Cleveland 10 28 3 0 41
Tennessee 0 7 14 14 35
35
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , December 6, 2020
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee  Weather: 52°, Clear  Attendance: 13,986

Browns-Titans Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans

  1. The Titans are 10-5 against Cleveland since the Browns franchise came back in 1999, and they have won the last three meetings. Last season's 43-13 Tennessee win in Week 1 was the largest by either team in the series since the Oilers set a franchise record with 58 points in a 58-14 victory on December 9, 1990.
  2. Cleveland's 8-3 start is its best since 1994, when the Browns started 9-3 under Bill Belichick and went on to win a playoff game, the franchise's last playoff win. Cleveland's win last week put an end to the team's 12-year streak of losing seasons, tied with the 1967-78 Saints for the second-longest streak all-time (1983-96 Buccaneers, 14).
  3. Tennessee is coming off a 45-26 win at Indianapolis, the Titans' most points in a game since 2016 vs. Green Bay (47) and their most in a road game since 2008 at Detroit (47). Tennessee's 29.5 points per game this season rank second through 11 games in franchise history, behind only the 1961 Oilers (35.0).
  4. Baker Mayfield is the first Browns quarterback to win three straight starts without throwing an interception in any of them since Vinny Testaverde in September 1995. The last Browns QB with four straight was Frank Ryan in 1967.
  5. Ryan Tannehill attempted just 22 passes in last week's win in Indianapolis, but he set a season high with 10.05 yards per attempt. Tannehill is 15-6 in his 21 starts for the Titans, second best through 21 QB starts with the franchise behind George Blanda (16-5), who did so in the franchise's first 21 games (1960-61).
  6. Nick Chubb will be playing his 40th career game on Sunday. Chubb's 5.30 career yards per carry would be the highest average all-time through 40 games by a player with at least 3000 rushing yards, surpassing Jim Brown's 5.15.
Team Comparison

Cleveland
 
Tennessee
24.1 Points 29.5
202.5 Pass Yds 237.7
161.4 Rush Yds 158.2
17 Takeaways 16
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Cleveland Browns are about to get a sense of just how good they might be this season.

So are the Tennessee Titans.

Tennessee poses the biggest test yet for the Browns (8-3) who have only one win over a team currently with a winning record. The rest of Cleveland's wins have come at the expense of the NFC East, twice against Cincinnati and a 3-0 mark against the Titans' weak divisional brethren in the AFC South.

"These are the things that we have been trying to build up to, and we are here now," Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said. "We are in the middle of it, so let's seize the moment."

This is the Browns' best start since 1994 as they target their first playoff spot since 2002. They haven't started 9-3 since '94. They've won three straight - by a combined 10 points against struggling Philadelphia and Houston before they held off Jacksonville 27-25 last week.

The Titans are back on top of the AFC South after road wins over Baltimore and a 45-26 rout of Indianapolis, trying to win their first division title since 2008.

Avoiding a letdown will go a long way toward proving they're really among the AFC's best. They deflated the Browns in Cleveland 43-13 in the 2019 opener but had to earn a wild-card berth in the regular-season finale.

"Hopefully we're going out there with an attitude that we're going to be hunting every single week, regardless of what our record is," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

This game pits the NFL's top rushing offenses. The Browns average a league-best 161.4 yards per game with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, while Derrick Henry has the Titans at No. 2 as he chases a second straight rushing title. He won last year's by 46 yards over Chubb.

"It's going to be a good matchup against those guys," Henry said.

D-HENBER

Henry has been at his best once the calendar flips to December. Since he was drafted in 2016, nobody has run for more yards or touchdowns in December than Henry, who has 1,511 yards averaging 5.38 yards per carry with 18 TDs.

He comes into his first December game this season having run for at least 100 yards in three straight matches, including 178 last week, giving him a league-best 1,257 yards.

"His consistency is very admirable," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "His ability to play physical week in and week out, take hits and be seemingly unfazed by them. Definitely want to keep him rolling as we get deep into December."

GARRETT RETURNS

Just in time to face the freight train that is Henry, Cleveland's defense gets back its biggest piece as star end Myles Garrett returns after missing two games with COVID-19. Coordinator Joe Woods joked that he might have broken virus protocols and hugged Garrett upon his return to practice.

"It was good to see his face out on the field," Woods said. "He looks good."

Garrett was leading the NFL in sacks before getting sick. While the Browns managed to win twice without him, they weren't the same and his return provides a huge confidence boost. Garrett's illness may prevent him from his normal workload Sunday, but the Browns will take whatever they can get.

BALL SECURITY

The Titans have the fewest turnovers in the NFL this season with five through 11 games. It's the best start in franchise history and also their fewest turnovers at this point of the season since at least 1960. Tannehill has been a big key with only four interceptions.

Vrabel joked they told Tannehill they'd bench him if he throws interceptions.

"I think he studies. I think he has good vision. I think he's decisive," Vrabel said of Tannehill. "Sometimes interceptions occur when quarterbacks hold on to the football and second guess or are not really quite sure and they were a little late on it and guys have had time to recover or make a better break on the football."

JACK'S BACK

Browns right tackle Jack Conklin will feel right at home Sunday. Conklin spent four seasons with Tennessee, which drafted him in 2016, before he signed as a free agent with Cleveland in March.

Revenge isn't his motive this week as much as a reunion.

Conklin, who has stabilized the Browns' right side and boosted their running game, became eligible for free agency after the Titans didn't pick up his fifth-year contract option. He had been slowed by knee injuries over two seasons.

OLD WOUND

Before he played for Bill Belichick in New England and got to know him personally, Vrabel was no fan of the legendary coach. Vrabel grew up in Northeast Ohio rooting for the Browns and didn't like that Belichick got rid of his favorite player, Bernie Kosar.

Now it's a different situation with Vrabel coaching the Titans.

"I've always said that it's been an honor and a privilege to play and be able to coach in this league, going all the way back to the Kardiac Kids back in Cleveland," Vrabel said.

---

AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker

---

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated December 3, 2020

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2021 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFROM is strictly prohibited.