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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
The Browns — with an above-average defense, an ability to keep the chains moving on offense and enough playmaking punch to be dangerous on special teams — have the elements to give San Francisco a tough game on Sunday.
However, Cleveland's weaknesses render them underdogs to win outright.
The Browns' defense, while much better than expected, will be tested by a San Francisco offense whose running game has been potent recently and whose passing game is better than it was a season ago. The Browns' offense, which doesn't make many field-stretching plays, has to contend with a tough San Francisco defense. Cleveland's special teams, while boasting one of the game's top returners in Joshua Cribbs, have been very unsound the last two weeks, surrendering TDs on a kickoff return and a fake field goal and two blocked field goals.
A sound game from the Browns gives them a chance to push a 49ers club without an overwhelmingly powerful offense. An unsound game would spell disaster. My guess is that the result will fall somewhere in the middle, with the 49ers able to make one or two more plays and more easily able to overcome a mistake or two.
Prediction: 49ers 20, Browns 13
Season-to-date prediction record: 4-2