Five things to watch: Lions at Browns

Detroit News
Matt Schoch |  Special to The Detroit News

Let’s try to flip it around and be positive this week.

Besides, the Lions have not lost this month! And it’s the 21st day of November!

How about this? The Lions have a two-game win streak in Cleveland and have beat the Browns four straight times.

Not to brag, but I was at the first of those wins, driving down to Cleveland for a 2005 game to see Jeff Garcia lead the Lions to a victory against his former team.

The Lions won 13-10, as Jason Hanson banged him a 47-yard field goal to tie and then a 50-yarder later to win.

What a game. What a memory. What a moment. Let’s move on.

Here are five things to watch as the Lions visit Cleveland (1 p.m., FOX/97.1 FM):

Boyle advisory

It’s Tim Boyle time! You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of the Lions’ new quarterback, who is expected to start for injured Jared Goff.

Boyle is starting for the first time in his career and has thrown four more NFL passes than I have.

In college, he threw 12 touchdowns and 26 career interceptions at UConn and one season at FCS Eastern Kentucky. I don’t know what else to tell you.

More: Lions elevate second kicker off practice squad, re-sign WR Kennedy

More: Detroit News scouting report: Lions at Browns

More: Detroit News predictions: Lions at Browns

Rain men

It’s supposed to rain Sunday in Cleveland, something the Lions should be used to after last week in Pittsburgh. If the rain neutralizes the passing games for both teams, that’s a win for Detroit.

They don’t have a passing game anyways. Really, any variable can’t hurt the Lions at this point, as they are outmanned talent-wise every Sunday.

DPJ replaces OBJ

Odell Beckham Jr. is long gone from Cleveland, opening the door for Detroiter Donovan Peoples-Jones. The former Michigan standout has had a lesser version of Braylon Edwards’ career so far, moving from Detroit to Michigan to the Browns.

Now with more of an opportunity to shine, Peoples-Jones has a chance to establish himself as a solid contributor in the same town where Edwards once starred.

Myles ahead

With the Lions looking at a possible No. 1 pick next spring, Cleveland’s Myles Garrett is a nice glimpse at the type of talent that Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux could be. Getting a game-breaking pass rusher on that level could be transformative for the Lions.

Garrett already has an NFL-leading 13.0 sacks this season, and could set a career-high Sunday with one more. Watch how his presence makes life difficult for the Lions and feel free to be hopeful Detroit has a guy like that of their own someday.

Up/down game?

We’ve talked about the Lions covering the spread every other week and then following that up by laying an egg. After last week’s tie in Pittsburgh, the Lions are now 5-4 against the spread.

If the pattern holds, expect the Lions to get routed this week, and for the Browns to easily cover the 12-point spread.

Matt Schoch covers sports betting for PlayMichigan.com.

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