It was just a loss, baby.
Playing with third-string quarterback Nick Mullens and without nine starters on the COVID-19 roster, the Browns had all but won against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night. Then they didn’t.
A touchdown in the fourth quarter gave the Browns a one-point lead, then a Greedy Williams interception returned the ball to them with less than three minutes to go.
It was then that everything went south. Conservative play calls resulted in a three-and-out and a punt. The Raiders then entered Browns territory and scored a winning basket of 48 yards at the end of the time limit.
It looked like the Browns’ playoff hopes had also expired, when a chance to take the lead in AFC North and fourth place in the playoffs became the last place in the division and 12th place in the AFC. .
But, with games to play against rivals AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals on the schedule after a trip to Green Bay, the Browns remain alive and can advance to the playoffs with three wins – or even with. two wins, as long as as the loss is for the Packers.
Will the Browns get back on track against the Pack?
Here’s how our Browns cover team expects Saturday’s game to go:
Steve Doerschuk:The “sleeping giant” of the Cleveland Browns is awake. It’s the team that refuses to wake up.
Steve Doerschuk (9-5)
Game prediction: Packers 27-17. Keeping that 14-13 lead against the Raiders could have done wonders. Holding the season in Green Bay is much more difficult work than the Raiders game.
Browns are always kicking: Kicker Chase McLaughlin keeps his job; Kareem Hunt shouldn’t play against the Packers
Marla Ridenour (9-5)
Game prediction: Packers 35, Browns 17: Can’t believe in a Christmas miracle, especially against Aaron Rodgers and an outstanding receiving body.
No more adversity: Groin injury can sideline Myles Garrett, but Browns defense ends up ‘biting’ to prove his worth
Georges Thomas (8-6)
Game prediction: Packers 34, Browns 17. The Browns don’t have enough offensive firepower to come close to the call.
Comings and goings: Coach Kevin Stefanski returns with the Browns after clearing COVID-19 protocols
Nate Ulrich (10-4)
Game prediction: Packers 31, Browns 13. The COVID-19 outbreak in Cleveland is still a big factor, and arguably the best team in the NFL is waiting at Lambeau Field.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers: Staff Predictions