The Cleveland Browns were a trendy Super Bowl pick heading into the 2019 season, but they certainly didn't start off like a team with Super Bowl aspirations, losing 43-13 to the Tennessee Titans. They rebounded last week with a fine performance against the New York Jets, but how much can you congratulate their defense for holding down a second-string and then a third-string quarterback?
If the Browns really want to announce themselves as serious playoff contenders, a win on Sunday against the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams would be a big statement.
Upset Watch: Cleveland Browns (+3) vs. Los Angeles Rams
Make no mistake, the Rams have been better than the Browns so far this season. The Rams are currently sixth in Football Outsiders' early DVOA ratings, while the Browns are 17th. The gap between the teams would be even larger if we didn't consider special teams, where Cleveland has been second this year and the Rams, who usually are strong on special teams, are just 29th. Special teams have such a small sample size after only two games that it's hard to take those ratings and extrapolate performance for the rest of the season. With just offense and defense counted, the Browns would fall to 21st. (The Rams would remain sixth.)