Cleveland Browns
Predictions, Previews, and Odds

#263 Cleveland Browns
vs. #264 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Friday, August 23, 2019 at 7:30pm EDT
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Written by Chris Kubala

It’s an interconference battle in the all-important week 3 of the NFL preseason down in the Sunshine State. The Cleveland Browns make the trip down the east coast as they travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday night. Cleveland comes in off a 21-18 road win over the Colts in week 2 preseason action Saturday. Tampa Bay rallied for a 16-14 home win over Miami in their week 2 preseason tilt last Friday. The Browns own a 6-4 advantage in the all-time regular-season series but the Buccaneers have taken four of the last five matchups, including a 26-23 overtime win at home in the last meeting on October 21, 2018.

Cleveland Browns Look to Remain Unbeaten in Preseason

Cleveland, after rolling over Washington in their preseason opener, picked up a win on the road over Indianapolis to run their mark to 2-0. The Browns led 14-7 at the half and went up 21-7 in the third quarter before seeing the Colts rally to within a field goal early in the fourth quarter. Cleveland did enough to prevent Indianapolis from tying the game or taking the lead to get the win. The Browns were outgained 382-271, lost the first down battle 23-19 and saw the Colts own a 33:08 to 26:52 edge in time of possession. Neither team turned the ball over in the contest: Garrett Gilbert, who was the frontrunner for the MVP of the AAF before it folded, hit 13 of 19 passes for 151 yards and two scores to lead the way.

Gilbert has seen the most work under center for the Browns and he’s delivered, hitting 27 of 41 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s battling with Drew Stanton (three of eight, 63 yards) for the #2 QB spot behind Baker Mayfield (five of six, 77 yards, TD), who likely will get some action here to tune up for the regular season. David Blough (11 of 19, 133 yards, two TD) likely is going to end up as a practice squad guy unless Stanton gets dumped from the roster. D’Ernest Johnson has been the leading ground gainer so far with 15 carries for 76 yards: he and Dontrell Hilliard (nine carries, 19 yards) are fighting to get a spot on the depth chart behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who will miss the first half of the season as he serves his suspension. Rashard Higgins (team-high nine catches, 132 yards, TD), Jaelen Strong (five catches, 41 yards, TD) and DJ Montgomery (five receptions, 124 yards, TD) are battling for spots behind the proven duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. This could be the decisive game for the kicking competition as Greg Joseph (two of three on extra points, one of two on field goals, long of 43) and Austin Seibert (four of four on extra points, zero of one on field goals) have both struggled in the first two games.

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