The Denver Broncos and visiting Cleveland Browns will look to extend their respective season-high winning streaks at the other’s expense on Sunday.
The Broncos (5-5), in fact, are seeking their first five-game winning streak since the 2015 season. Denver boasts a plus-11 turnover margin during its current win streak to reside at plus-6 for the season, which ranks tied for sixth in the NFL.
The Browns (7-3) have overcome myriad injuries to win three in a row and five of six overall and move within a half-game of the Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North.
Denver evened its record last Sunday after posting a 21-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Courtland Sutton reeled in a touchdown reception from Russell Wilson in his fifth straight game to boost his season TD total to eight, which ranks second only to Miami Dolphins wideout Tyreek Hill (10) in the NFL.
“He’s a special player, he’s one of the best in the game,” Wilson said Wednesday. “Courtland’s been dedicated to the game, his craft, his practice every day — his leadership is unbelievable. He’s one of the best guys to be as a teammate.”
With a touchdown reception Sunday, Sutton will become the first Broncos wideout since Wes Welker (2013) to find the end zone in six straight games.
The Broncos’ 23rd-ranked offense has a tall order in store against the Browns, who boast the NFL’s top defense (243.3 yards allowed per game) and pass defense (143.7). There’s also the matter of containing Myles Garrett (league-leading 13 sacks), who is the fourth player since 1982 with at least 13 sacks in four of his first seven NFL seasons.
Making his second career start, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed four straight passes to set up Dustin Hopkins’ 34-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in a 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.
A far-from-perfect performance, Thompson-Robinson finished 24-for-43 for 165 yards and an interception after being ushered into the starting role following the season-ending shoulder injury to franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco was signed by the Browns this week to provide veteran leadership for Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-round pick out of UCLA.
Thompson-Robinson, 24, admitted he’s not threatened by the arrival of Flacco. In fact, he labeled the addition of the 38-year-old as “more of a blessing than anything” for the Browns.
“Like I said, I’m asking him a bunch of questions,” Thompson-Robinson said. “We were chopping it up a stuff ton this morning. He’s in the early meetings with us and me and P.J. (Walker) now, so it’s great, man. He’s fit in so well, and, like I said, I’ve only known him for just about a day with him being here. So I love Joe. It’s been awesome.”
Cleveland’s passing attack will not have to deal with safety Kareem Jackson on Sunday. Jackson’s four-game suspension for his hit on Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs was upheld on Tuesday.
Denver safety P.J. Locke (ankle) was limited in Thursday’s practice and a full participant Friday but is listed as questionable. Running back Samaje Perine (back) and inside linebacker Josey Jewell (back) practiced Thursday and Friday and will play Sunday, as will defensive tackle D.J. Jones (knee).
For the Browns, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (concussion) and cornerback Denzel Ward (shoulder) did not practice Friday and were ruled out. Free safety Juan Thornhill (calf) and middle linebacker Anthony Walker (hamstring) are listed as questionable. Inside linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk (knee) practiced Thursday and Friday but is listed as questionable.