Share of AFC North online first place for Browns in Raiders game – Morning Journal

Time is running out, and it’s running strong, counting down before the Browns players can no longer be activated off the reserve / COVID-19 roster so they can play against the Raiders on December 20.

The Browns, 7-6, will be tied for first place in the AFC North with the Bengals and Ravens if they win. Kick-off at FirstEnergy Stadium is 5:00 p.m.

The Bengals beat the Broncos, 15-10. and the Packers crushed the Ravens 31-30 on December 19. Both teams are 8-6, but the Bengals are first in the division because they own the tiebreaker with Baltimore with three games left for each team. The Bengals beat the Ravens, 41-17, in October and have a higher division record – 3-1 compared to the Ravens’ mark of 1-3.

Browns starting right goalie Wyatt Teller was activated from the COVID roster on the morning of December 19 after testing negative for the disease. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who tested positive on December 17, was added to the roster as Teller’s name was removed. That leaves 23 Browns players in the COVID protocol.

Under normal circumstances, a player on a reserve list – COVID or injured reserve – must be activated by 4 p.m. the day before the game. This week, with the high spike in positive tests, the NFL relaxed the rules and pushed the deadline for the Browns and Raiders back to 2 p.m. on December 20 – three hours before kickoff at FirstEnergy Stadium. This also applies to Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and any other coach on the COVID list.

Stefanski has said any starters deleted from the COVID roster will start against the Raiders. A player would only need a negative test to get the green light to play.

For now – and that could change quickly – Nick Mullens will start as quarterback with Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum on the COVID roster. The two say they feel good, as is Stefanski, who won’t be allowed to coach the Browns in the game unless he tests negative. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer would serve as head coach and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt would call the games if Stefanski is not cleared.

Mullens has been on the Browns’ practice squad all season until he was elevated to the 53-man roster when Mayfield tested positive last week. He trained with the starters on December 18 for the first time. That in itself is a challenge for Mullens, who has started 16 games (5-11) in two seasons with the 49ers. But Mullens has practiced not knowing who will be in caucus with him when the game begins.

“It’s important to just find the right things to focus on,” Mullens said. “For me, it’s knowing my readings and knowing what to do on each game and where to distribute the ball. If I do that – we’ll work collectively – that’s how the Browns are going to be successful.

“I think we did a great job. I really do. Energy is off the charts. What comes to mind is almost every day at our team meetings, Coach Stefanski tells us: “If you are in this room, we believe in you. It couldn’t be truer this week. We’re here because our coaches believe in us, so it’s our job to come out and prove them right.

Key games turned out the right way for the Browns the first two weekends in December. That wasn’t the case this weekend with the Colts, Bills, Dolphins, Bengals and Steelers all winning.

The Colts, Ravens and Chargers are all 8-6 ​​years old and currently own all three wildcard spots. The Bills are 8-6 and are one berth in the wildcard race. The Steelers are 7-6-1 after beating the Titans on December 19.

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