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Washington Football Team Vs. Browns Preview: Heading To Cleveland For A Week 3 Battle 

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After a road loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Washington Football Team will look to return to its winning ways against the Cleveland Browns.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the Week 3 matchup:

GAMEDAY INFORMATION

WHO: Washington Football Team (1-1) vs. Cleveland Browns (1-1)

WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 27 | 1 p.m. ET

WHERE: FirstEnergy Stadium | Cleveland, Ohio

WATCH: FOX

  • Kevin Kugler (play-by-play)
  • Chris Spielman (color)
  • Laura Okmin (reporter)

LISTEN: The Team 980, ESPN 630 and WMAL 105.9

  • Julie Donaldson (host)
  • Bram Weinstein (play-by-play)
  • DeAngelo Hall (analyst)

The stream will be available at WashingtonFootball.com and on select Washington Football Team social media platforms.

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Cleveland leads all time series, 33-12-1.
  • Their most recent meeting was on Oct 2, 2016, when Washington won, 31-20.
  • Washington has a three-game win streak against Cleveland dating back to Oct. 19, 2008

COACHING STAFF

Washington:

  • Head coach Ron Rivera (1st season in Washington)
  • Offensive coordinator Scott Turner (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (1st)
  • Special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor (2nd)

Cleveland:

  • Head coach Kevin Stefanski (1st season in Cleveland)
  • Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Joe Woods (1st)
  • Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer (2nd)

KEY NEW FACES

Washington:

  • QB Kyle Allen
  • RBs Peyton Barber / Antonio Gibson / J.D. McKissic
  • TE Logan Thomas
  • OL Saahdiq Charles / Keith Ismael / Cornelius Lucas / Wes Schweitzer
  • DE Chase Young
  • LBs Thomas Davis Sr. / Kevin Pierre-Louis
  • DBs Ronald Darby / Kendall Fuller

Cleveland

  • T Jedrick Wills Jr.
  • DT Jordan Elliott
  • QB Case Keenum
  • CB Kevin Johnson
  • S Karl Joseph
  • TE Austin Hooper

INJURY REPORT:

Check out the injury report for the Washington Football Team's game against the Cleveland Browns, HERE.

BIGGEST STORYLINES

Battle of first year coaches -- Both Washington and Cleveland have a brand new coaching staff, but these two teams view it as a fresh beginning with high expectations.

In Washington, head coach Ron Rivera brought in offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who he coached with in Carolina, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. One advantage that this dynamic group already possesses is the chemistry that sometimes takes years to build.

Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski came from Minnesota and brought in offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt from Cincinnati and defensive coordinator Joe Woods from San Francisco.

This game will be a big test to see whose players have adapted to their new systems and coaching styles the best.

Washington faces two No. 1 draft picks -- The Cleveland Browns held the No. 1 overall pick in two of the past four drafts, and they used those selections on defensive end Myles Garrett (2017) and quarterback Baker Mayfield (2018).

Both of these players had early success, but each of them had their ups and downs last season.

Mayfield threw for a career-high 3,827 yards last year but was second in the NFL with 21 interceptions, while Garrett was suspended eight games for an incident against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Still, there's no doubt that both Mayfield and Garrett are talented players. It'll be interesting to see how Washington will handle these threats.

OBJ going against a new secondary -- Odell Beckham Jr. is a player who immediately created a name for himself when he entered the league in 2014. Although he's been in the league for six years, he'll be up against a secondary he has not faced before.

Washington's secondary is almost completely new, but defensive backs coach Chris Harris praised the unit for its depth and versatility. Through two games, Washington ranks 18th in passing defense with 243.0 yards allowed per game. Jimmy Moreland, Fabian Moreau and Landon Collins have already corralled interceptions.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

Washington's secondary vs. Baker Mayfield -- Mayfield struggled with interceptions last season, but he's still one of the promising young signal-callers in the NFL. So far in 2020, Mayfield has completed 59.7% of his passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns compared to two interceptions.

Washington secondary shined against the Eagles in the season opener but struggled to contain quarterback Kyler Murray in a loss to the Cardinals. The unit would certainly receive a boost if Kendall Fuller is able to make his season debut. He's missed the past two games with a knee injury.

Cleveland's running backs vs. Washington's defensive line -- Cleveland has a solid running back duo in Nick Chubb, who was the highest-graded running back in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus, and Kareem Hunt. Through two games, Cleveland boasts the second-best rushing attack with 176.5 yards per game.

This game will be a big early test for Washington's defensive line, which has been solid against the run for most of the first two games.

Myles Garrett vs. Washington's offensive tackles -- As was mentioned earlier, Garrett is a significant presence on the Browns' defense. Before his suspension last year, he was on track for a career high of 16 sacks. That would have been better than his total in 2018, when he ranked sixth in the league in sacks (13.5) and 10th in forced fumbles (three).

Morgan Moses and Geron Christian Sr. will have to be stout to protect quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., who took four sacks against Arizona in Week 2.

INDIVIDUAL STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Dwayne Haskins (178)
  • Passing TDs -- QB Dwayne Haskins (2)
  • Rushing Yards -- RB Antonio Gibson (91)
  • Rushing TDs -- RB Peyton Barber (2)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR Terry McLaurin (186)
  • Receiving TDs -- WR Terry McLaurin and TE Logan Thomas (1)
  • Tackles -- LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (19)
  • Sacks -- DE Chase Young (2.5)
  • Interceptions -- DBs Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland and Landon Collins (1)

Cleveland:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Baker Mayfield (408)
  • Passing TDs -- QB Baker Mayfield (3)
  • Rushing Yards -- RB Nick Chubb (184)
  • Rushing TDs -- RB Nick Chubb (2)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR Jarvis Landry (106)
  • Receiving TDs -- WR Odell Beckham Jr., TE David Njoku and RB Kareem Hunt (1)
  • Tackles -- LB B.J. Goodson (16)
  • Sacks -- DE Adrian Clayborn (2.0)
  • Interceptions -- none

TEAM STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Total offense -- 31st (277.5 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 24th (21.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 31st (179.0 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- 28th (3.5)
  • Rushing offense -- 24th (98.5 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 32nd (30.0%)
  • Total defense -- 13th (351.5 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- T-15th (23.5 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- T-17th (243.0 YPG)
  • Sacks -- 1st (11.0)
  • Rushing defense -- 12th (108.5 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 7th (38.7%)
  • Time of possession -- 25th (27:48)
  • Turnover differential -- T-4th (+2)

Cleveland:

  • Total offense -- 16th (370.0 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 25th (20.5 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 28th (193.5 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- 5th (1.0)
  • Rushing offense -- 2nd (176.5 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 20th (40.0%)
  • Total defense -- 17th (367.0 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- 29th (34.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 27th (277.5 YPG)
  • Sacks -- T-13th (2.5)
  • Rushing defense -- 6th (89.5 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 2nd (48.3%)
  • Time of possession -- 22nd (28:11)
  • Turnover differential -- T-25th (-2)

OPPOSING VIEWPOINT

WashingtonFootball.com also spoke with Browns senior staff writer Andrew Gribble to gain additional insight about Washington's Week 3 opponent.

How has the team been adjusting to the brand new coaching staff?

"Kevin Stefanski has come in, and I think he's been obviously dealing with a crazy situation as a first time head coach with the coronavirus pandemic. But I think the clear thing is the plan is organized and detailed. I think the players have really responded well to that.

"I think the challenge has been amplified because he's installing a new offense working with new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. [He's] also installing a new defense with Joe Woods, and with the defense, I think time will tell when they get on the field and how quickly they assimilate."

How does Kevin Stefanski plan on using Baker Mayfield?

"Look back at what Minnesota did last year: it's playing to the strengths with the offensive line and a strong running game. I think the Vikings really relied on Dalvin Cook to carry the load in a wide-zone scheme, which then translated to using the load on Kirk Cousins. Kirk Cousins had a career year, so it's all about putting Baker in better situations and making easier throws, quicker decisions.

"Last year in Minnesota, they were built pretty similar. They had two great receivers, and the Browns have Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. Then you look at what the Vikings did with the tight end and how active they are to starting tight ends. The Browns got Austin Hooper, they have David Njoku as well, and also the Browns have two Pro Bowl running backs in the backfield.

"So it's going to be about making things easier for Baker Mayfield because the talent is clearly there. He's an accurate thrower, and I think he's really embraced this new system he's going to be a part of. I think that's what Stefanski did with that Vikings' offense last year."

What are the three biggest storylines for the Browns this season?

"I think the first one is going to rely on how the offense gets on the same page and how they get rolling right away, based on all the stuff that's gone on this offseason. I think that last year, there was such high expectations on the offense and it just really never generated that consistency and talent on that side of the ball. It's going to be imperative.

"Chemistry wise, I think the second one is who emerges at the linebacker position. It's really been overhauled since Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey are gone. They brought in B.J. Goodson as a veteran, and Mack Wilson played some games as a rookie last year. But it's a really young group."

"And then I'll go back to the offense side of the ball. As a first-round rookie, Jedrick Wills is getting plopped in right away at left tackle. He could really be the key to how good this offense could be. He never did play left tackle in college, so he's making that switch. It's been a position the Browns have had a tough time filling ever since Joe Thomas retired. So they believe in Jedrick Wills, and they think he's got a long future. That could really affect how well Baker plays."

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