Cleveland Browns fans didn’t have much to look forward to entering the 2013 season. However, they did have some hope with a second-year quarterback and former No.3 overall draft pick at running back. Now, it appears the organization is ready to mail in the season after just two games.
On Wednesday, the club traded Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. They didn’t receive any help for this year, getting back a first-round draft pick in exchange. The Browns appear to have given up on the 2013 season, looking for a high draft pick in April.
In their first game since the deal, Cleveland will visit the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season after starting off at 0-2. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m. ET.
The Browns have signed Willis McGahee to fill the hole left by Richardson. The running back played for the Denver Broncos in 2011 and 2012, compiling 1,930 yards in 25 games. A knee injury, though, forced him to miss six games last year. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, McGahee will suit up for his new team on Sunday.
After trading their starting running back, the Browns will go up against the best rusher in football. Adrian Peterson is looking to bounce back from his game against the Chicago Bears in which he averaged less than four yards per carry. Cleveland may actually be one of the few teams that have a chance to contain the reigning MVP. The Browns are first in the NFL, allowing just 2.0 yards per carry.
Not only do the Vikings have the clear advantage at running back, it will likely be the only game that Minnesota plays in which they have the better quarterback. Christian Ponder’s 67.0 passer rating is 29th in the league, but the Browns will be forced to start Bryan Hoyer. Hoyer is the backup to one of the few quarterbacks that has been worse than Ponder, but he’ll be under center because of an injury to Brandon Weeden.
Hoyer made the only start of his career last season when he was with the Arizona Cardinals. He spent the first few years of his career as Tom Brady’s backup, playing sparingly in garbage time. He has 96 pass attempts in four years, completing 59.4 percent f them for two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Betting Odds: Minnesota-6.5, 40.5
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream Online: NFL Sunday Ticket Max
Prediction: With Richardson gone and their No.1 quarterback on the bench, it will be very hard for the Browns to score. They put up just 16 total points with those two players, and might not even find the end zone on Sunday. Cleveland has been able to remain competitive, and they could keep the Vikings close since their strength is being able to stop the running game. They just don’t have enough on offense to steal a victory on the road.
Final Predicted Score: Minnesota 20, Cleveland 3