Broncos' keys to victory: Denver's offense can't get too one-dimensional against Cleveland's underrated defense. After trading away WR Demaryius Thomas and losing WR Emmanuel Sanders (nfl championship rings) to a season-ending injury, the Broncos are thin at receiver. The team does not have many threatening receiving options, but Denver can't line up and run the ball every play against the Browns if they want to win. On defense, the Broncos need to slow down Nick Chubb, Cleveland's star rookie running back.
Browns' keys to victory: Cleveland's defense needs to focus on stopping Denver's rushing attack. That's easier said than done because the Broncos have two talented rookie rushers in Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. If the Browns can stack the box and shut down the run, though, they shouldn't have to worry about QB Case Keenum beating them through the air. On offense, QB Baker Mayfield needs to protect the football and allow Chubb to do most of the heavy lifting. Denver's defense forced nine turnovers during their three-game win streak before a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Mayfield can't afford to have any big blunders against the Broncos.
Matchup to watch: Browns WR Jarvis Landry vs. Broncos CB Bradley Roby (championship rings). After CB Chris Harris broke his leg in Week 13, Roby stepped up as the team's fill-in No. 1 cornerback. Roby will be tasked with covering Landry — Cleveland's leading receiver — this weekend.
Who wins? The Browns may be a better team than their record suggests, but the same could be said of the Broncos. Denver has won three of four games since its bye week and the Broncos seem to always have the upper hand when playing at home. Broncos, 24-17.