The Clevaland Browns (3-8) will hit the road on Sunday to take on the Oakland Raiders (3-8) in a game that is probably only relevant in terms of the 2013 NFL draft.
Both teams have had a rough season in 2012 and will be more focused on evaluating what they have for next year than planning any kind of playoff run this year.
The Browns have struggled under second-year head coach Pat Shurmur. Despite playing in a number of close games, the young Browns have only managed to win three games and have once again slipped into irrelevance.
The Raiders have also struggled this season. Oakland has matched Cleveland's win total on the season but have been blown out far more frequently. The Raiders have lost four straight games by double digits.
With both teams putting together awful seasons this presents the best opportunity for either team to pick up one more victory to put some kind of positive spin on the season. Read on for all the information you need to know about this game.
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
When: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4:25 p.m ET
Live Streaming: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: Cleveland -1 (via Covers.com)
It's hard to imagine that the 3-8 Browns are considered a favorite on the road against anyone. However, the oddsmakers seem to think that Cleveland has slightest advantage in this one and are giving the Raiders a point.
Comparing the two teams results, it would appear that Cleveland does have the slight advantage. The Browns are coming off of a 20-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at home last week and took the Dallas Cowboys to overtime the week before.
This game should be avoided in suicide pools at all costs. If you're forced to pick this game, you're either relying on the lowly Raiders to find a way to win or backing Brandon Weeden on the road. The Browns have the slight edge considering recent momentum but it's far from a sure thing.
Over/Under: 41 (via Covers.com)
The Oakland Raiders have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. By nearly every metric, the Raiders have not been able to stop anyone and give up an NFL worst 32.4 points per game.
There's no question the Raiders defense has major holes, the question is, can the Browns take advantage by putting points on the board?
For the Browns that probably means a lot of Phil Dawson. One of Cleveland's greatest woes offensively has been in the red zone, the offense has only generated 14 touchdowns inside the twenty compared to 20 field goals.
The Raiders offense hasn't been spectacular either, only scoring 19 points per game on the season and only scored 10 last week against the Bengals. Unless one team has a sudden offensive epiphany, this one will hit the under.
Injury Report (via CBS Sports as of 11/29/12)
|CB||Johnson Bademosi||Hip, shin||Probable|
|WR||Joshua Cribbs||Shoulder, chest||Questionable|
|RB||Trent Richardson||Chest, rib, finger||Probable|
|DE||Frostee Rucker||Shoulder, finger||Probable|
|TE||Alex Smith||Chest, ribs||Questionable|
|LB||Rolando McClain||Not injury related||Questionable|
|QB||Carson Palmer||Right thumb||Probable|
|RB||Marcel Reece||Hamstring, quadriceps||Probable|
|DT||Richard Seymour||Knee, hamstring||Questionable|
Fantasy Big Plays
Cleveland: RB Trent Richardson
Those who drafted the Browns rookie running back for their fantasy teams have been rewarded this season. Richardson has lived up to his preseason hype in terms of fantasy football—he's ranked as the No. 7 fantasy scorer among running backs.
The last four games Richardson has had 25 or more carries per game so the opportunity is there for him to put up big numbers every week. With a nice matchup against the Raider—who are giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, opportunity and matchup should mean a career day for Richardson.
The Browns should look to give a heavy dose of Richardson early and often, throw in the fact that he's a huge part of their passing game too and Richardson is just too good of a play to pass up.
Projected Stats: 25 carries for 110 yards, 5 receptions for 25 yards, 1 TD
Oakland: WR Denarius Moore
The Raiders offense has been so inept that there have been few players that have been relevant from a fantasy perspective.
Carson Palmer has been a high-risk, high-reward play all season. The sheer volume of pass attempts he gets with the Raiders behind allows him to put up deceivingly good numbers. However, the Browns have been pretty good against the pass of late and should hold Palmer down.
While Palmer's value may be hurt by turnovers, Moore should be a solid play on Sunday.
With Palmer chucking up a ton of passes this season Moore has been able to put together some great games. He struggled last week with only one catch against the Bengals but even then, Moore registered a touchdown to give adequate production from his receiver spot.
Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden is good, but Palmer is bound to look up Moore a few times, look for him to take advantage when he does.
Projected Stats: 5 receptions for 80 yards, 1 TD
Key to Victory
The Browns picked up one of their few wins on the season last week by forcing the Steelers into an astounding eight turnovers.
Cleveland's 25 takeaways on defense are second to only the New England Patriots in the AFC. The Raiders have 20 giveaways on the season and have been known to be rather turnover prone.
The Browns have some giveaway issues of their own. With a rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden at the helm Cleveland has managed to give ball away 17 times in its own right.
Whichever team can find a way to take care of the ball on offense will have the big advantage in this one.
After the year that both of these teams have had, it's hard to pick a winner with any kind of confidence.
In the end, the Browns have looked much better in going 3-8 than the Raiders have if that's possible. Cleveland has a young team that has yet to put together the pieces to win the close games, but it has been competitive for most of the season.
Conversely, it seems like the Raiders have imploded. The defense has been downright awful and Oakland hasn't been very competitive in recent weeks.