TAMPA BAY- The Cleveland Browns travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer will start the game. This could be a hint to which quarterback will start week one against Pittsburgh.
Kizer may be able to provide the missing spark on offense. Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler haven’t had much success driving the ball downfield and racking up touchdowns. Kizer passed for a touchdown against New Orleans and rushed for a score against the New York Giants. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson might provide a one, two punch rushing the ball to set up the passing attack. This would help take the pressure off Kizer during his first pre-season start.
This game will always give Browns fans their first extended look at rookie tight end David Njoku out of Miami (FL) and enable him to get on the same page as Kizer. There is a reason why the third pre-season game is the most important, as the likely starters will be playing the most minutes and series. Perhaps we may see a little zone-read option between Kizer and Isaiah Crowell to throw off the hard-charging Bucs.
Browns fans must be eager to see how Myles Garrett and the rest of the defense will handle the Buccaneers highly touted offense. Cleveland’s defense shined in the spotlight during the Monday Night win against the New York Giants on ESPN.
This is another game which will test the Browns pass rushers. The Buccaneers are capable of beating defenses in multiple ways. If the Browns defense stifles the Buccaneers offense like they did against the Giants, it will bring a sense of hope for the 2017 season.
There is a slight possibility that Evans won’t play due to an undisclosed injury. He is listed as questionable.
Lastly, the Browns offensive line will be tested against Gerald McCoy, thanks to the injury of Joel Bitonio and inconsistency of the unit as a whole, as they’ve been whistled for a variety of penalties.
Prediction: The Browns defense will pressure Winston early and limit the Buccaneers’ offensive production, while Cleveland’s offense will continue to grow in the right direction under Kizer.
Browns 17 Buccaneers 14.