Detroit Lions vs. Cleveland Browns: SLR Staff Predictions

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Aug 15, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns mascot Chimp starts the first annual wiener dog race in the second quarter of a preseason game against the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns hit the field tomorrow for week six action. Here is how the SideLion Report staff sees the game playing out.

Dean Holden – Before the regular season began, I predicted the Lions to lose to the Browns in an upset led by newly competent starting quarterback Brandon Weeden and emerging stud running back Trent Richardson. Six weeks into the season, I’m already wrong about two things: Weeden now looks more like an incompetent backup rather than a competent starter, and Richardson is neither a stud running back nor a Cleveland Brown (though to be fair, I did accurately predict the Lions would be 3-2 coming in).

Yet despite all this, the Browns look to be a formidable matchup, maybe even moreso than before. They field a top-10 defense, come in to this game at home on a three-game winning streak, and the idea that they beat the Lions this week seems less crazy now than it did when I wrote it in early September. So naturally, I’m going to predict that the Lions get Calvin Johnson back, play angry and earn a blowout victory, 35-10.

Matt Pelc – Back before the season, I had the Browns game picked as one of my most important games of the Lions’ season. No, it is not a rivalry game, a game against one of the best teams in the NFL or even important in possible NFC playoff scenarios, but I felt it was a trap game.

Last week, the Lions had a chance to get a divisional win and get the Green Bay monkey off their back, and they failed. That may have been the best thing that happened before this game. Had Calvin Johnson played and they ended up winning last week, they might have overlooked Cleveland while looking forward to a couple of home games on the horizon. But they know Chicago won their game on Thursday night and they need to keep pace with them.

I think the Lions will win this game. The Browns have gotten to their 3-2 record with a lot of smoke and mirrors and a favorable early schedule with a ton of home games. The question is will Calvin play or should he play? I understand that there is some that say don’t risk him to further injury against a team that the Lions should beat and save him for what figures to be a tough game at home versus Cincinnati next week, however the offense looked lost without Calvin last week.

I think the Lions win this 17-10 with another great defensive performance, however should Calvin be able to go, the win should be much more comfortable than seven points.

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