Cleveland (7-6) at Green Bay (11-3)
When: Saturday, December 25th 2021
Where: Lambeau Field,
Green Bay, WI
Time: 4:30 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Green Bay -7/44.5
This was the most anticipated season in the Cleveland Browns franchise in a couple of decades with aspirations toward a Super Bowl run, but the team has played well below expectations. The Browns are in desperate need of a win heading into Week 16 and it’s not going to be easy. They visit frigid Lambeau Field to take on the red-hot Green Bay Packers this Saturday afternoon on FOX. Cleveland has traded wins and losses for the last two months and are now battling several injuries and Covid issues. Last week’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders was moved from Saturday to Monday, which gives the team even less time to get healthy. The Browns dropped a critical 16-14 decision on a last-second field goal. Cleveland is now in 12th place in the AFC, but only one game out of both a wild card berth and AFC North division title.
The Packers have been on pretty much cruise-control since their season-opening 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. They have won three in a row including a 31-30 road in at the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday behind the great Aaron Rodgers. The future Hall of Famer needs just one more touchdown toss to surpass Brett Favre’s 442 regular-season scoring throws in the franchises history. Rodgers might not have one of his top weapons for Saturday’s game after wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling landed on the COVID-19 list Tuesday. This is only the fourth regular season meeting between these teams since 2009. Green Bay has won the previous three including a 27-21 win at Cleveland in 2017.
The Browns were without 22 players and three coaches because of COVID protocols last week, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, top receiver Jarvis Landry, pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney and head coach Kevin Stefanski. Still, the team performed admirably behind third-string quarterback Nick Mullens, who completed 20-of-30 pass attempts for 147 yards and a touchdown. Stefanski cleared protocols on Wednesday and will coach this week. Mayfield is still on the COVID list, but he’s expected to be cleared before Saturday and get the start. Defensive end Takkarist McKinney was lost for the season after he tore his Achilles tendon against the Raiders. In addition, running back Kareem Hunt (ankle) and cornerback Troy Hill (knee) aren’t likely to play at Green Bay. Nick Chubb had 91 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries against the Raiders.
Green Bay has already clinched the NFC North, but are working towards a No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. They currently hold a one-game lead over Tampa Bay, Arizona and Dallas for the top seed, which would guarantee them home field advantage in the playoffs and a valuable first-round bye. Rodgers has helped the Packers offense score at least 31 points in each of their last three games – all wins. Rodgers threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns last week, tying Favre’s franchise record for career touchdowns. In the last four games, Rodgers has 13 touchdowns and no interceptions and is the betting favorite to win another NFL MVP. Valdes-Scantling led Green Bay with 98 receiving yards and a touchdown on five catches last week, while Davante Adams finished with 44 receiving yards and a touchdown on six receptions.
I don’t think this game will be close. The Packers offense is unstoppable right now and Cleveland is a mess with injuries and Covid. Even if the Browns were completely healthy, they have underperformed all season and have no chance at beating Green Bay.
Pick: Packers -7
Week 16 Staff Selections