It seems like the Browns face a new challenge every week that they have not experienced much in their history. The team is coming off beating the Ravens and Steelers in consecutive weeks, which is the first time in franchise history they did that. They will start a West Coast road trip in Denver, where they have only won one of their last six games since 2000.
The Browns offense will be facing off against an opportunistic and aggressive Broncos defense. They will also be going against an energetic Denver crowd that is very loud.
"Every team that goes into their building talks about that," HC Kevin Stefanski said. "There are things that you can do during the week to prepare yourself. There are things that you can do during the game to prepare yourself, but we also have guys that have played there both as a visitor and played there as being a Bronco, so we have insight into that as well."
The crowd noise can be a major problem for the Browns offense, who will have rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson at the helm. It will be his first road game in his career as the starter.
The Broncos have a turnover differential of plus-10 in their last three games, the highest they have had since 1984. They first played QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who committed three turnovers in that game in Denver. The Broncos then traveled to Buffalo, forcing Josh Allen and the Bills into committing four turnovers. Against the Vikings, they forced QB Joshua Dobbs and the offense into committing three turnovers.
The Cleveland Browns unveiled a new immersive game entertainment display of a forced perspective 3D dog in various elements on the scoreboard during the third quarter of their matchup against the Browns on Nov. 19. The Browns partnered with Already Been Chewed, which creates immersive visual experiences through design, motion graphics, and 3D animation to create this concept.
During the season, the Broncos defense has intercepted the ball 10 times and recovered nine fumbles – the most in the league. The Broncos defense doesn't have a true anchor but has plenty of guys that make plays for the team.
"I can't overstate how important that turnover margin is when you're talking about winning and losing," Stefanski said.
They have good defensive backs with All-Pro safety Justin Simmons, who has six pass deflections, three interceptions and one forced fumble on the season. At corner, they have Pat Surtain II, who has nine pass deflections, an interception and 32 solo tackles this season.
They also have a talented rookie corner in Ja'Quan McMillian, who has two interceptions in the last three games and has two fumble recoveries this season.
At linebacker, they have Baron Browning, who has three sacks and two forced fumbles in four games for the Broncos. He rejoined the Broncos late in the season after having knee surgery.
The Broncos have talent across the field, and thanks to their ability to force turnovers, they have helped their team win four straight games. However, the Broncos defense has holes that Thompson-Robinson and the Browns offense can exploit.
Coming into Week 12, the Broncos defense is last in opponent passing completion percentage. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 71.2 percent of their passes against the Broncos. They have given up the fourth most receiving touchdowns this season with 18. They are tied for the second-worst pass defense in the league, allowing opponents to convert 36.8 percent of third downs.
Their run defense is also the worst in the league. They have given up the most rushing yards this season with 1,600, and teams are averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
The Browns should find success in the run game or pass game. In their last game against the Steelers, the Browns made timely throws and had good runs that helped them secure a 13-10 win. If they can find a rhythm in the pass or run game, they should be able to find success against the Broncos defense.
This upcoming game can be the best time for Thompson-Robinson to get his first touchdown of the season. The opportunities will be there on Sunday, even if it's a quarterback run or a pass.
"My job as quarterback is to get first downs and touchdowns," Thomspon-Robinson said. "I know I have some pretty good legs under myself. So, if I (am) able to use those to get some first downs, keep the defense on their toes, that's probably one of the worst things as a defensive coordinator, when you got to go against a running quarterback and man coverage. So as much as I can try and help the team win, I'm going to do it."