While most of the NFL remains in playoff contention, there won't be much on the line when the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns meet Sunday. Cleveland is still on the outside edge of the wild card race at 4-7 overall, but has won just one of its last six games and has a difficult schedule upcoming.
Instead, the game in Cleveland will likely be a battle of pride. The Jaguars have been playing for pride much of the year, and have shown recently they are no longer pushovers. Despite being outscored by 182 points this season, the Jags have pulled out an upset in two of their last three games.
They will attempt to make it three of four Sunday while Cleveland searches for just its second win since the first week of October.
Meet the Browns
Outside of a three-game winning streak early in the year, Cleveland has had another rough season. Offensive struggles, especially at quarterback, continue to drag down the Browns. Brandon Weeden opened the season as the starter, but Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell were able to win the starting job away this season. Campbell suffered a concussion last week, meaning it will likely be Weeden behind center Sunday.
Weeden is completing just 51.5 percent of his passes this season. When the Browns do get the ball into the hands of their receivers, they have proven to be capable weapons. Josh Gordon shredded Pittsburgh last week with 14 receptions for 237 yards. Tight end Jordan Cameron has also had some big games this season.
Defensively, the Browns are just 18th in the NFL in scoring defense, but the unit has played much better than that their 24.1 allowed PPG indicates. Turnovers and defensive scores by the opposition have inflated the scoring numbers. The Browns are fourth in the NFL in yards per game allowed and rank in the top six against the run and the pass.
Meet the Jaguars
After a rough two months to open the season, the Jaguars have found success since the calendar flipped to November. The Jaguars lost their first eight games, but have won two of the last three. Both wins came on the road against division opponents.
Despite the recent success, the Jaguars still have issues in a lot of areas. Jacksonville ranks at the bottom of the NFL in a number of key categories including yards and points per game. The Jaguars are averaging just 12.9 points per game this season.
Things have been slightly better on the defensive side, where Jacksonville is 24th in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed. Gus Bradley has a defensive background and the Jaguars have young talent on that side of the ball. They've shown improvement during the season and have recently been playing better than their season averages suggest.
Local Takes: Cleveland
Still, the patience required during our wait for a winner has been excruciating. The ridicule I get from other fans; the laughs and the snickering that follows the question: "you're a Browns fan?". It's ridiculous and the play on the field, especially vs. our own division, has been pathetic. It's literally painful to think about how long we've had to wait for a winner in Cleveland. Not just a championship, but for a winning team with any glimmer of hope.
And it's completely unacceptable.
Local Takes: Jacksonville
Still, in the NFL, being a good person that teammates root for isn't enough to earn a roster spot or play time. Quality production is the key and Davis is off to a good start.
An undrafted free agent in 2012, Davis tallied 12 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss as a senior at Bethune-Cookman. In his rookie season with the Jaguars, he participated in 17 snaps in Week 5, but spent the majority of his 2012 season on the team's practice squad.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Perfect Example of Jaguars Fans http://t.co/Lu6NelVMuu— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) November 26, 2013
@MaryKayCabot -- Browns beat writer
@ryanohalloran -- Jaguars beat writer
And for the first time since pre-Week 3, the #Jaguars aren't last in rush defense. (moved up to 29th after allowing 77 yards to Houston).— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) November 26, 2013
Neither team has been very good offensively recently, which shouldn't be a surprise when Brandon Weeden and Chad Henne are the two starting quarterbacks. The Jaguars are coming off a solid defensive performance against the Houston Texans, and have been effective in spurts on both sides of the ball. While Cleveland has the better record, three of its four wins came in the first five weeks of the season.
It won't be a surprise if the game is ugly. Cleveland gets an edge for being at home and for the fact the Browns defense is by far the best unit on either team.
Pick: Browns, 16-7
Oddsmakers are favoring the Browns, installing Cleveland as a 10-point favorite, according to OddsShark.
Jacksonville will host the Texans on Thursday Night Football in Week 14 while the Browns will travel to play the New England Patriots that Sunday.