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NFL-Week 6-Monday night football-Lions at Packers game preview

The schedule commands that the Lions will have the nation’s attention on Monday night. What Matt Patricia’s team does with its opportunity to take over the NFC North lead in mid-October will likely dictate how seriously we all take Detroit going forward.

In some ways, the Lions are the relative we only see on Thanksgiving. We’re happy to give that Honolulu Blue and Silver a hug since it means there’s early football on and everyone is in a good mood, but as the day unfolds, we move on and lose interest. We’ll see where we’re at with all of that in a little over six weeks, but the fact is that the Lions rarely command holding us captive following their annual chance. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1991 and have a 25-year drought going in between division titles, but their start to this season has us stopping to take an early look.

After squandering a 24-6 fourth-quarter lead in winding up tied with the Cardinals, Detroit returned home and pulled off upsets over the Chargers and Eagles before suffering a 34-30 loss to the Chiefs as Patrick Mahomes executed a fourth-quarter comeback by getting his team into the end zone with six seconds left. That game was unique because it featured Mahomes failing to throw a single touchdown pass despite a productive day and also because they were able to hang around against an elite offense despite multiple top defensive players being sidelined.

The Lions have gotten healthier during their bye week and can now more easily see the bright side of standing toe-to-toe with a title contender, albeit one that has now dropped consecutive games after being upset by the Colts and Texans the past two Sundays. Had it not been for a 100-yard fumble recovery that Kansas City’s Bashaud Breeland returned for a third-quarter 14-point swing, we could be talking about undefeated Detroit right now in addition to being really worried about the Chiefs.

As they visit Lambeau Field looking to pull off another upset, it’s worth reminding you that the Lions have actually had the Packers’ number over the past few seasons and have won four of their last five visits to Green Bay. Patricia went 2-0 against the Pack in his first season and closed out 2018 with the franchise’s first shutout of the Packers since 1973 as Aaron Rodgers left the game with a concussion and ended up sidelined as Green Bay fans were forced to watch Detroit kicker Matt Prater finish with more touchdown passes than backup Deshone Kizer, who has since been traded to the Raiders.

Weird things can happen in rivalry games and this one is the NFL’s longest-running series, featuring at least two meetings per season since 1932. The favored team has actually won and covered in 12 of the last 14 matchups, with Detroit’s Week 17 shutout one of the two anomalies. Check out the recent history below for more details.

Rodgers is healthy again but has had some problems finding a great rhythm in the new offense installed by first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, who was named the full-time replacement to long-time leader Mike McCarthy. All of Detroit’s recent success has come against the maligned coach, who won six division titles and Super Bowl XLV but was blamed for Green Bay’s collapse. We’ll see how they fare against Rodgers and a new offense, but Patricia will also have to hope his own attack can continue to flourish against a defense that has been fantastic under coordinator Mike Pettine.

While Adams is out, the Packers will get backup RB Jamaal Williams from concussion protocol and also got good news with center Corey Lindsey upgraded to probable. Tackle Bryan Bulaga is also up. The Packers are unlikely to have safety Darnell Savage and CB Tony Brown available but have gotten excellent play in the secondary thus far.

The Lions are going to have top corner Darius Slay back from a hamstring injury and could see the debut of DT DeShawn Hand (elbow). DT Mike Daniels and CB Amani Oruwariye remain sidelined but the Lions are hopeful DT A’Shawn Robinson can return from a knee injury.

Detroit’s offense is likely to have top offseason acquisition Danny Amendola in there and is expecting that standout rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson can be cleared from concussion protocol in order to participate.

NFL-Week 6-Sunday football-Betting preview

Panthers (-2.5/47.5) vs. Buccaneers, 9:30 p.m. ET, NFLN: The Raiders stunned the Bears in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium’s maiden NFL voyage last week. This NFC South showdown ensures we won’t see a major upset but we’ll hopefully get another exciting, competitive game. Tampa Bay is giving up a true home game here as they they attempt to sweep the season series from the Panthers, having taken advantage of a rough second half from Cam Newton to post a 20-14 Week 2 Thursday night win. Christian McCaffrey was denied a go-ahead touchdown at the 1-yard line late in that game but hasn’t been stopped effectively since, posting over 180 yards in three consecutive games, which includes a 237-yard, three-touchdown effort in last week’s win over Jacksonville.

Kyle Allen has benefited from McCaffrey’s brilliance in being able to settle in and comes in 3-0 in place of Newton. Jameis Winston has thrown for 969 yards and nine touchdowns against just two interceptions over the past three games since beating Carolina but has only gotten top receiver Mike Evans on track in one of Tampa’s five games to date. Evans failed to catch a pass and was only targeted three times in last week’s loss in New Orleans, so Winston is going to go out of his way to ensure he gets going early. Mother Nature will also have to supply permission for Evans to truly get involved since rain is expected in North London throughout most of the contest. Carolina has had to do some reshuffling on both sides of the ball with guard Trai Turner still sidelined and DT Kawann Short going down for the season. Tampa also has offensive line issues to mask but got good news in that NFL sack leader Shaquil Barrett (9) is expected to play through an oblique injury.

Bengals at Ravens (-11/48.5), 1 p.m. ET, CBS: Since opening with that 59-10 rout in Miami, the Ravens haven’t covered a single spread. Last week’s OT win at the Steelers ended in a push ATS and snapped a two-game losing streak after surrendering 73 combined points in falling against the Chiefs and Browns. With games against the Seahawks and Patriots scheduled the next two weeks, it’s important that they don’t overlook the winless Bengals as they visit on what’s expected to be a cloudy day in Baltimore. The ‘over’ is 4-1 on the season in Baltimore games as Lamar Jackson and the offense have continued producing, helping average 32.2 points per game for the season.

Cincinnati scored a season-high 23 points in falling at home against Kyler Murray-led Arizona last week. That number matches the Ravens’ lowest-scoring output of the season. Zac Taylor’s offense has struggled to take shape and has clearly missed the presence of top WR A.J. Green, who will remain out in Week 6. Offensive line play has been a hinderance that could resurface in Baltimore since veteran tackle Andre Smith has been ruled out in addition to Cordy Glenn (concussion), who hasn’t played in nearly two months. Andy Dalton will have to rely on the screen game while picking his spots on when to take shots downfield considering he isn’t likely to get a lot of protection. Ravens rookie WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown has been ruled out with an ankle issue while safety Tony Jefferson was ruled out the rest of the season after tearing his ACL last week. Cincy is going to be thin up front with Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Winn and Ryan Glasnow all ruled out.

Seahawks at Browns (PK/46.5), 1 p.m. ET, FOX: There will be some wind gusts for Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield to deal with, but sunny weather means both should settle in as they attempt to produce in a matchup that ranks among Sunday’s most highly anticipated games. Seattle has scored 27 or more points in four straight but must overcome issues up front against a Myles Garrett-led pass rush since tackle Duane Brown (biceps) isn’t expected to play and guards D.J. Fluker and Ethan Pocic have already been ruled out. Wilson will likely be forced into buying time for his receivers and will have the benefit of RB Chris Carson lining up beside him despite limited participation in practice this past week due to shoulder trouble. Seattle has won and covered in both road games, but the Browns represent a step up in caliber of competition from the Steelers and Cardinals.

Mayfield and the Cleveland offense looked terrible on Monday night, scoring just three points in a 31-3 loss to San Francisco, the team’s second setback by 28 or more points this season. The Browns’ defense will again be without top corner Denzel Ward and impact rookie Greedy Williams, leaving the team vulnerable in the back if Wilson is successful in buying time to throw. Mayfield is looking to find a rhythm with Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry since he comes in completing just 55.9 percent of passes and a league-high eight interceptions. Head coach Freddie Kitchens still has the support of a fan base that’s hoping for the best, but if the production doesn’t pick up — the Browns have scored just 13 points apiece in both home losses thus far – expect the Dawg Pound to start turning against him.

Texans at Chiefs (-4/55), 1 p.m. ET, CBS: Patrick Mahomes made the decision early in the week that he’d be fine for this one after in-game ankle injuries limited his mobility in contributing to last Sunday night’s upset loss to Indianapolis, but we’re about to find out just how much mobility has been restored. WR Tyreek Hill is hoping to return from a collarbone injury suffered in the season opener, which would really help Mahomes since WR Sammy Watkins has been ruled out with a hamstring issue and offensive line play has been a concern.

Conditions for a shootout between Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, picked 10th and 12th in the 2017 NFL draft, look good. Minimal wind will be present and temperatures will be in the low 60s at Arrowhead, as the Texans look to build on a 53-point outburst in beating the Falcons last week. Houston has performed well on the road, covering in losing at the gun in New Orleans in the season’s opening Monday night game while winning outright at the Chargers three weeks ago. Will Fuller stepped up last week as defenses continue to focus on DeAndre Hopkins, while TE Jordan Akins has also flashed. New addition Kenny Stills is hoping to return from a hamstring injury and will be a game-time decision. The Chiefs are hoping to bounce back from their lowest-scoring output since November of 2017, before Mahomes took over Alex Smith.

Saints at Jaguars (-2.5/42.5), 1 p.m. ET, CBS: All eyes are on the availability of Saints star WR Alvin Kamara, who made the trip to Jacksonville despite an ankle injury and is expected to play. He’s made life easier on QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, so if he’s unable to go, the Jaguars would offer tremendous value as a slight favorite. Following home wins over the Cowboys and Bucs in which the defense made sizeable contributions, Sean Payton is hoping that Bridgewater can return to his home state and build off becoming the first Saints’ QB not named Drew Brees to throw four touchdown passes in last week’s 31-24 conquest of Tampa Bay. His task will be made more difficult if Jalen Ramsey follows through on his intent to play, returning from back pain that intensified after he requested a trade and expressed his displeasure with the organization.

The offense has unexpectedly become the focal point for Jacksonville due to the emergence of rookie QB Gardner Minshew and top target D.J. Chark, not to mention the fact a slimmer, more explosive Leonard Fournette has had some impressive performances. Minshew is dealing with a groin issue but will play, hoping to foster a new connection with a tight end since the productive James O’Shaughnessy tore his ACL. He was leading the Jags in red-zone targets. Backup tight end Josh Oliver is also out, so Jacksonville is really thin at that spot. Conditions will be clear in North Florida with temperatures in the mid-to-high 80’s expected.

Eagles at Vikings (-3.5/44.5), 1 p.m. ET, FOX: The loser of this game will find themselves unexpectedly 3-3, so this should be a physical, competitive affair between two of the more highly-regarded teams in the wide open NFC. Carson Wentz has produced three games of 30 or more points despite injuries to multiple key receivers, so he should be fine without DeSean Jackson back. Trusted RB Darren Sproles is also going to be sidelined, which means more work for Jordan Howard and rookie Miles Sanders, both of whom have made strides of late.

Philadelphia has had issues with its secondary, which gives Kirk Cousins an opportunity to prove he can handle the challenge of performing well in this type of game. Cousins has really struggled against teams with winning records and was called the weak link of the Vikes’ offense this week by Eagles LB Zack Brown. He’ll have Adam Thielen in the mix after connecting with him seven times for 130 yards and two scores last week and needs to continue to keep Stefon Diggs happy in order to help alleviate concerns over his early-season struggles. Philadelphia wants to keep Dalvin Cook from creating manageable second and third downs for Cousins’ and the offense, so expect the playcalling on first to be the x-factor in this one since the Eagles have excelled against the run thus far.

Redskins (-4/42.5) at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, FOX: This brutal matchup between winless teams features teams that have also managed to be 1-8 against the spread despite the benefit of large numbers placed by bookmakers hoping to land some action against substantial favorites. The ‘Skins dumped Jay Gruden, putting Bill Callahan back in the spotlight as the interim coach. The difference between these two organizations seems to be that ownership wants to win while the Dolphins are happily tanking for Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, the top prize in this upcoming draft.

Callahan is expected to bench QB Colt McCoy, last week’s starter, in favor of Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins. Washington has been outscored 57-10 in losses to the Giants and Patriots the past few weeks, so picking up a demoralized group with a coaching change and the opportunity to hit the reset button should produce early results. I’d ride the visitors in a first-half bet here against a Miami squad that has been outscored 163-26 thus far. The Dolphins are coming off a bye week, their first under new head coach Brian Flores, but remain banged-up. Injuries to safety Reshad Jones and a number of corners could against leave Miami compromised in the secondary. Plenty of emply seats are expected in Miami Gardens.

49ers at Rams (-3/50.5), 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX: The Rams will look to survive without Todd Gurley available, which means Malcolm Brown will be elevated into a workhorse role and rookie Darrell Henderson should step into Brown’s change-of-pace role. Coming off consecutive losses to Tampa Bay and Seattle in which they’ve surrendered 85 points, replacing their running back may be the least of L.A.’s concerns as the unbeaten 49ers visit the Coliseum. Getting increased consistency from Jared Goff and improving a defensive effort that has surrendered eight touchdown passes over the past two games probably take priority if they’re going to slow down a Niners team that probably won’t be an underdog again for the rest of the month.

Jimmy Garoppolo got through his first game without an interception this season in Monday’s rout of the Browns, so he’ll look to put together back-to-back turnover-free games. Top target George Kittle, the key to many things that the Niners do on the offensive side of the ball, is expected to play despite being limited by a groin injury in practices and likely won’t be at 100 percent. Right tackle Matt McGlinchey will be out a few weeks with a knee issued and fullback Kyle Juszczyk is also sidelined, so Kyle Shanahan will have to go back to the drawing board for many of his blocking schemes and won’t have many preferred plays available.

Falcons at Cardinals (-2.5/52.5), 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX: Dan Quinn got the dreaded vote of confidence from owner Arthur Blank last weekend after the Falcons’ ugly loss to the Texans, so there’s no question that the pressure is on him to yield results or immediately or risk failing getting out of this month with his job. Since blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI, Atlanta has gone 18-19 in regular-season games and enters this contest in Glendale favored regardless considering the Cardinals are still on the ground floor of Kliff Kingsbury’s rebuilding project while the Falcons are supposed to be a finished product. We’re going to see if that ends up with a new meaning in that they’re finished under Quinn once this one is over.

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals are coming of the first win of the Kingsbury era after holding on in Cincinnati. This will be the last game the Cardinals will play without suspended corner Patrick Peterson, which could spell trouble since Matt Ryan does have options out there since Arizona will likely have no choice but to shade coverage to Julio Jones with their top corner availability, which could mean big days for Mohamed Sanu or Calvin Ridley. The Falcons went from Houston to Arizona and have spent significant time together hoping to foster a better connection, so this is a big game for them. Arizona starts a pair of rookies in the back and has ranked near the bottom in most pass defense categories without its most talented player.

NBA-Freedom of speech has consequences

LeBron James raised his arms in appreciation of the cheering crowd in Shanghai shortly after the final buzzer, then removed his headband and flipped it toward some ticketholders clamoring for a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

He wasn’t heard, though. Nor was any other player or coach in China, in an NBA game like none other.

In response to the NBA defending Daryl Morey’s freedom of speech, Chinese officials took it away from the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets. All of the usual media sessions that were to be part of the teams’ preseason game on Thursday – including a news conference from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and postgame news conferences with the teams – were canceled. It was the latest salvo in the rift between the league and China stemming from a since-deleted tweet posted last week by Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets.

”There will be no media availabilities for tonight’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers,” the NBA said in a statement Thursday, released a few hours before the game.

And there wasn’t. They came. They played. They left. They didn’t talk.

The game was held as scheduled, with James and Nets guard Kyrie Irving getting loud ovations when they were introduced as starters. But neither the U.S. nor the Chinese national anthem was played before the game, and no players addressed the crowd before tip-off in a departure from tradition before such international games. Fans arriving at the arena to watch – many of them donning NBA jerseys – were handed small Chinese flags to carry with them inside, and at least one person carried a sign critical of Silver.

The Nets won, 114-111. That is not why this game will be remembered. Virtually all corporate signage was removed from the playing surface and other spots in Mercedes-Benz Arena, fans carried tiny Chinese flags and some even painted their country’s colors onto the faces.

”If we have to choose, we will choose to support our country,” said fan Ma Shipeng, who brought 900 miniature Chinese flags to hand out to fellow fans. ”We only like some particular basketball players, but we don’t like NBA anymore. I give away Chinese flags tonight, as I hope people to put the national interest in front of following NBA. I will continue to support James. But none of our Chinese people would accept what Morey and Silver said.”

Morey’s tweet that showed support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong has put a massive dent in the multibillion-dollar relationship between China and the NBA. And that tweet was why Chinese officials did not permit questions to be asked in Shanghai.

In Tokyo, it was the Rockets not permitting certain questions.

After Houston finished its two-game preseason series in Tokyo against Toronto on Thursday, CNN reporter Christina Macfarlane tried to ask Rockets guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook if they would be hesitant to speak out about political or societal issues going forward after having seen the fallout from Morey’s tweet.

A Rockets media official did not allow the question to be answered. The NBA later apologized to Macfarlane, saying the Rockets’ decision was inappropriate.

”We’ve apologized to Ms. Macfarlane as this was inconsistent with how the NBA conducts media events,” the NBA said.

Other than the no-media-session mandate, the Lakers-Nets game was no different than any other game. Most seats were filled, and fans reacted as they would normally – oohs and aahs for good plays, applause for baskets, the loudest cheers coming whenever James touched the ball. It appeared most fans stayed until the end, even though James and fellow Lakers standout Anthony Davis didn’t play down the stretch and Irving left after just 66 seconds with an aggravation of a facial fracture.

”I understand that there are consequences from that exercise of, in essence, (Morey’s) freedom of speech,” Silver said at a news conference in Tokyo earlier this week. ”We will have to live with those consequences.”

There were many.

Most events in advance of the game, such as NBA Cares events to benefit educational causes and the Special Olympics, were called off, as was a ”fan night” where Lakers and Nets players were to interact directly with some Chinese ticketholders. Signage in Shanghai to promote the game was ripped down, and mentions of the game were scrubbed from the arena website.

All that comes as many Chinese corporations suspended their business ties to the NBA. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV did not show Thursday’s Lakers-Nets game and does not plan to show their next matchup at Shenzhen on Saturday. NBA broadcast partner Tencent has said it is changing its coverage plans for the league as well, and canceled credential requests in some U.S. arenas for preseason games this week.

Plus, the NBA apparently has to mend a fence with Rockets great Yao Ming, a Basketball Hall of Famer and now the president of the Chinese Basketball Association. The CBA has also suspended its ties with Houston as part of the Morey tweet fallout.

The Rockets were extremely popular in China, largely because of Yao. But the team’s merchandise has not been for sale in China for several days, and some murals featuring the team’s stars and logo have been painted over. Morey has been silent on the matter since tweets Sunday where he attempted to make amends.

MLB-Play offs-ALCS-Yankees at Astros preview

The National League Championship Series matchup between the Cardinals and Nationals wasn’t expected when the season began. The American League Championship Series pits the Yankees and Astros, who were expected to hook up for the pennant before the season started.

New York (103-59) won its first AL East title since 2012, while coming off its second consecutive 100-victory season. The Yankees were bounced in the ALDS by the rival Red Sox last October in four games, but New York made quick work of Minnesota this time around in a three-game sweep of the AL Central champions.

The Bronx Bombers outscored the Twins, 18-6 in a pair of home blowouts before New York knocked out Minnesota, 5-1 in Game 3 at Target Field. Shortstop Didi Gregorious led the Yankees with six runs batted in during the series, including a grand slam in the Game 2 rout. Five different Yankees homered in the series, but none of those came off the bat of slugger Aaron Judge, who has drilled seven postseason homers in his short career.

The three starting pitchers for the Yankees against Minnesota all lasted five innings or less as the bullpen received plenty of work. Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA) shut down the Twins in Game 2 of the ALDS by striking out seven and scattering three hits in five innings of an 8-2 triumph. Since June 11, the Yankees are 15-4 in Tanaka’s past 19 starts, as the veteran gets the call in Game 1 of the ALCS. New York owns a 1-1 record in Tanaka’s two outings as a road underdog this season, including in a 4-3 setback at Minute Maid Park to the Astros on April 8. Tanaka allowed only one run in six innings and left with a 3-1 lead, but Houston rallied for three runs against the New York bullpen.

Southpaw James Paxton (15-6, 3.82 ERA) is unbeaten in his last 12 starts for New York, while picking up a no-decision in a 10-4 victory over Minnesota in the ALDS opener. The Yankees are 6-0 in Paxton’s past six road outings, as the left-hander split a pair of starts against the Astros this season. Paxton was tagged for five runs in four innings of an 8-6 setback at Minute Maid Park in April, but rebounded for a 4-1 home victory over the Astros in June even though he tossed just five innings.

Luis Severino (1-1, 1.50 ERA) won a career-high 19 games last season, but a rotator cuff issue sidelined the Yankees’ right-hander until September. Severino never pitched past the fifth inning in four starts, but he allowed a total of two earned runs in 16 innings of work, while the Yankees own a 16-3 record in his past 19 home starts since the beginning of 2018. Last season, Severino dominated the Astros by yielding two earned runs and striking out 21 batters in 16 innings as New York beat Houston twice.

NFL-Week 5-Monday night football-Browns at 49ers

Despite being a trendy Super Bowl pick and entering the week as a 6-to-5 co-favorite to win the AFC North per Westgate, the Browns are a decisive underdog entering the final game of Week 5. The 49ers come off their bye week and have won three out of four at Levi’s Stadium but haven’t been particularly strong over the past few years.

You can understand that logic fueling an opening number in the 3.5-to-4 range, but after initially dipping to Browns +3, the overwhelming amount of support has come in on the Niners. Although every wager is essentially a vote of confidence, this one feels like it packs a little extra because we’re not sure what to make of either of these franchises considering how accustomed we’ve grown to seeing them struggle.

San Francisco (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013 and has lost 47 games over the past four seasons. Cleveland (2-2, 2-2) has made the playoffs once in the 20 years since returning to the NFL and has 15 seasons featuring double-figures in losses within that span. Last season’s 7-8-1 run delivered the Browns’ third-highest winning percentage since 1995.

First-year head coach Freddie Kitchens is essentially learning as he goes and a team with multiple big personalities is just starting to learn one another after a month of action, so the Browns remain vulnerable despite there being enough talent on the roster to end a playoff drought dating back to 2002. Odell Beckham, Jr. has started paying dividends and former top pick Myles Garrett is proving to be one of the NFL’s top defensive difference-makers week in and week out, so there’s plenty to be excited about if both units come together and play to their potential.

Cleveland has alternated wins and losses thus far, getting blown out at home by the Titans in Week 1 and losing a one-possession game to the Rams on a Sunday night two weeks ago in which Kitchens made some bad decisions to compound matters. His team is perfect on the road straight up and against the spread, defeating the Jets 23-3 and winning in Baltimore 40-25 last week in its most impressive performance to date.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is in the third season of his tenure and was poised to take a step forward, but it still remains to be seen whether there’s substance to this early success. San Francisco’s three victims will close Week 5 with a combined record of 3-12. Following this Monday night game, the Niners will go down to L.A. for a divisional clash with the Rams, so we’ll know a lot more about the 49ers in a week’s time. At the moment, they emerge from their bye week as a group that has been able to capitalize effectively on the mistakes of bad teams.

On the bright side, it’s entirely possible that the best is ahead for the 49ers considering Garoppolo appears to be playing himself back into a rhythm after tearing his ACL in Week 3 last season. He was turnover-prone all preseason, struggling both in games and in joint practices and scrimmages, so San Francisco can only hope that he’s going to turn the corner and be more careful with the ball after a bye week. Garoppolo will eclipse his game total from last season after taking his first snap here and will be making just his 14th professional start, putting him four games behind Mayfield in that category despite entering the league in 2014.

He’s coming off his first multi-pick game of the season in helping a Steelers team led by first-time starter Mason Rudolph hang around two weeks ago and has thrown five touchdowns to go with his four interceptions. Mayfield has been picked off in every game and has an ugly 4-to-6 TD-to-INT ratio, so Monday night’s showdown may very well boil down to which secondary forces the most miscues. Injuries have been a big deal for both, so be sure to scroll down for the report below on the way out for news on who is in and who’s out

Richard Sherman has remained healthy and has brought his leadership and intelligence to San Francisco defensive backfield, making up for a lost step with his attention to detail. The Browns are led by aggressive safety Damarious Randall, a former first-round pick who has had 14 interceptions over four years with Green Bay and Cleveland and has really blossomed into a guy who can be counted upon to fly around the field.

Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry form the Browns’ highly-regarded receiving combo, while San Francisco employs more of a collective approach in playing off elite tight end George Kittle. Rookie Deebo Samuel may ultimately emerged as the No. 1 receiver, but burner Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis and Richie James all have touchdown receptions. Shanahan has effectively utilized his run blocking schemes to get multiple guys going thus far, utilizing Matt Breida as the workhorse, Jeff Wilson around the goal line and Raheem Mostert in a change-of-pace role that may now be played by offseason acquisition Tevin Coleman, who will make his 49ers debut after healing up from an ankle injury.

The Browns’ run game is led by Nick Chubb, who helped take down Baltimore with an 88-yard fourth-quarter run. In all, he went for three scores, all in the second half, and wound up with 165 yards on 20 carries. The second-year standout from Georgia has led Cleveland in rushing in all four games but his 100-yard effort was the first of the season. As a whole, Cleveland is looking for improved offensive line play to stave off DeForest Buckner, Nick Bosa and a fierce 49ers front seven.

The Niners have played only once in Santa Clara this season, failing to cover against Pittsburgh prior to their bye week. They were 4-4 at home last season but covered in only three of their wins. The Browns have covered five of their last six road games, winning three outright. After an unseasonably warm day for October in NoCal, weather is expected to be gorgeous as the night unfolds, with typically windy weather not expected to factor in. The total has hovered in the 47.5/48 range since opening for business.