In this Feb. 3, 2019, file photo, New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) passes under pressure from Los Angeles Rams' Aaron Donald (99) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game in Atlanta. The Rams, the defending NFC champions, with an offense teeming with talent and defense led by incomparable star tackle Donald, will visit Cleveland in the Browns first nationally televised Sunday night game in 11 years. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
CLEVELAND (AP) The Browns passed their first prime-time test. The second one won't be nearly as easy.
Here come Aaron Donald and those big, bad Los Angeles Rams.
The defending NFC champions, with an offense teeming with talent and defense led by incomparable star tackle Donald, will visit Cleveland in the Browns' first nationally televised Sunday night game in 11 years.
On Monday night, the Browns (1-1) bounced back from a dreadful 30-point loss in their season opener to Tennessee by bullying the New York Jets, who were already missing quarterback Sam Darnold when his replacement, Trevor Simiean, went down with a season-ending injury.
The uber-hyped Browns, who have gone from winless two years ago to somewhat overexposed in 2019, get a chance to see how they stack up to a legitimate Super Bowl contender, one fixated on winning an NFL title this season.
''It'll be a challenge and we'll be able to really measure where we're at as a team,'' said Browns guard Joel Bitonio. ''Now it's a true team, a true playoff team, a team that was in the Super Bowl, a team that we can see, `Hey, how are the Cleveland Browns this year?'''
It's hard to gauge them to this point. The Browns were undisciplined in Week 1, committing 18 penalties and allowing the Titans to score 28 unanswered points in the second half. Cleveland cleaned things up considerably against the Jets, but quarterback Baker Mayfield had his second straight shaky performance and the Browns suffered a couple major injuries that may force first-year coach Freddie Kitchens to play rookies in key spots.
That could help the Rams (2-0), not that they really need any.
Quarterback Jared Goff and the Los Angeles offense have had some issues, but Donald and the rest of the defense are playing at a high level already. They shut down New Orleans last week, helped by Donald inadvertently sidelining Saints quarterback Drew Brees with a thumb injury.
Browns star Odell Beckham Jr. said Donald will have everyone's attention.
''There's no way to even go around him,'' said Beckham. ''He's probably the best player in the league. If not the best player in the league, one of the most disruptive players I've ever seen. So, yeah, No. 99 has to be accounted for. The game plan starts right there. They have a lot of other stars, a lot of very, very talented, great players, but it starts with 99.
''So we have to get that handled, and we're going to be tested in every position.''
The two-time AP Defensive Player of the Year, Donald has no sacks and just two tackles through two games. The numbers are deceiving as teams are scheming to stay clear of Donald. The Browns will probably do the same.
''Everybody is sliding to him,'' defensive end Michael Brockers said. ''He's going to get a lot of attention, and that's what's happening now. It's leaving a lot of opportunities for other guys to make plays. As the season goes on, they're going to have to pick their poison on which guys to block, and that's when it's going to get really fun.''
It didn't get fun for Donald until Week 4 last year. He have record a sack in his first three games and still finished with 20 1/2.
Mayfield has been guilty of holding onto the ball too long, and not taking advantage of receivers being open while trying to complete long passes.
He's still getting into a rhythm with Beckham, who sat out the preseason but showed why he's elite on Monday by scoring on an 89-yard play.
''It's a learning curve,'' said Mayfield, who while not as accurate as usual has still completed 60 percent of his throws. ''Needing to know when I can take my shots and check the ball down to get completions. It's a little difficult at times but, like I keep harping on, I just need to get completions.''
The Browns could exploit inexperience up front for the Rams, who are likely to have three untested starters on their offensive line.
Right guard Austin Blythe is unlikely to play due to a left ankle sprain. If he becomes the first starting offensive lineman to miss a game due to injury in McVay's tenure, sixth-round pick Jamil Demby is expected to make his first start alongside fellow 2018 draft choices Brian Allen at center and Joe Noteboom at left guard.
Allen and Noteboom will be making their third career starts. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right tackle Rob Havenstein haven't been spectacular so far this season, either.
Rams running back Todd Gurley has fond memories of the team's last meeting with the Browns: Gurley scored his first two NFL touchdowns against Cleveland during a 128-yard performance as a rookie in St. Louis in 2015.
Gurley is a quiet ninth in the league this season with 160 yards rushing on 30 attempts. Backup Malcolm Brown has 17 carries as the Rams attempt to lessen the load on Gurley, who leads the NFL in yards rushing since the start of the 2017 season. Gurley has insisted his knee is fine and he's ready for any workload.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay pulled in five catches (nine targets) for 121 yards in the loss to the Packers on Monday night. Johnson continues to be involved heavily, and with at least eight looks from quarterback Matthew Stafford in each game this season, the 25-year-old has established himself as a top fantasy wideout in 2019. The Lions will face a tough Vikings Defense in Week 7, but Golladay should continue to retain his must-start tag moving forward.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts in the loss to the Packers on Monday. After accumulating at least 20 carries throughout his last two games, Johnson took a step in the wrong direction, and had he not scored, this performance would have been considered another failure. With just three total touchdowns on the year to go along with a subpar 3.3 yards per carry, Johnson's outlook doesn't look favorable against a tough Vikings Defense in Week 7.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford finished with 265 yards on 18-for-32 passing in the loss to the Packers on Monday. The veteran still played relatively well despite failing to throw a touchdown and had it not been for rookie mistakes from tight end T.J. Hockenson, the story would have been different. With Week 6 in the books, things will get tougher for Stafford against a tough Vikings Defense on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham pulled in just two of his five targets for 17 yards during the Monday night win over the Lions. With Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) both missing some time in this one, fantasy managers were hoping for an increase in production. That did not happen. If Davante Adams (toe), Allison, or Valdes-Scantling miss more time moving ahead, look for Graham to see a slight uptick in looks from Aaron Rodgers. However, continue to expect the worst and hope for the best from week-to-week.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished with two catches for 48 yards in the win over the Lions on Monday night. Valdes-Scantling would briefly exit this one after injuring his leg but would return to haul in a 46-yard catch to offset his lack of fantasy progress up to that point. With Davante Adams (toe) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) potentially not playing against the Raiders on Sunday, the 25-year-old could see an increased role in Week 7.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) hauled in three catches (seven targets) for 40 yards in the win over the Lions on Monday night. After leading the way in looks from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the 25-year-old would exit the game prematurely in the second half. He did not return. With Allison's status for Sunday's showdown with the Raiders in question, fantasy managers will want to monitor his progress throughout the week.
Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams ran for 104 yards on 14 carries to go along with four catches in the win over the Lions. After Aaron Jones fumbled and dropped a wide-open pass from Aaron Rodgers that would have led to a score, Williams was inserted and made the most of it. Though the 24-year-old will likely continue as the No. 1 option out of the backfield, Williams may have some value against the Raiders on Sunday. If Davante Adams (toe), Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest), or Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) aren't able to suit up in Week 7, look for Jones to get more looks as a receiver, with Williams coming in for relief, especially on rushing downs.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones ran for 47 yards on 11 carries in addition to four receptions for 13 yards in the win over the Lions. It was a much different performance than the four-touchdown outing that Jones had against the Cowboys in Week 5, and while it wasn't a horrible performance, he did fumble and drop a wide-open, 33-yard toss from Aaron Rodgers that would have led to a score. Jamal Williams did get some touches, rushing for 104 yards on 14 carries to go along with a few receptions after Jones hit the sidelines, but expect the 24-year-old to reclaim his role as the No. 1 option against the Raiders in Week 7.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went 22-for-39 for 283 yards and a touchdown in the narrow win over the Lions on Monday night. Though he did throw an interception, it was an acceptable performance for the signal-caller who was without top receiver Devante Adams (toe), while also dealing with the in-game losses of Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest). Despite the injuries on the offensive end, Rodgers' outlook against the Raiders in Week 7 is still promising.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (hamstring) should be a full participant during practice Wednesday, Oct. 16, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
Fantasy Spin: Penny was held out of the Week 6 game but likely will be available for Week 7. He will receive a handful of carries if he plays but may only be a flex option in deeper leagues because of the matchup.
Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky (elbow) participated in practice Monday, Oct. 14.
Fantasy Spin: Trubisky has been sidelined for a few weeks but appears to have a decent chance to play in Week 7. He would be facing a tough New Orleans Saints defense if he is active and could be benched in leagues if fantasy players have better options.
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (quadriceps) hopefully will be available to play in the Week 7 game, according to head coach Sean McVay.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation during the week to see if Gurley will be able to practice this week. He likely would have a favorable matchup if he is able to play and would be a starting option in leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt (pectoral) has been diagnosed with a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the rest of the 2019 season. He will undergo surgery in the near future.
Cincinnati Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) is expected to miss around four weeks because of a hyperextended knee, according to sources. He is scheduled to meet with a doctor Tuesday, Oct. 14, to confirm the diagnosis.
New York Giants LB Nathan Stupar was released Monday, Oct. 14.
Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper's (quadriceps) quadriceps injury is no worse than it was for the last two weeks, but his status for Week 7 is uncertain, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor Cooper's practice participation during the week to have a better idea on his status for Week 7. Cooper is a solid starting fantasy option when healthy, but players will need other options ready is case he does not play.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught his only target for 15 yards in Week 6's 38-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Treadwell played 7-of-71 (10%) offensive snaps operating as the fourth receiver and hasn't been in on more than 15% of snaps in a game since being re-signed prior to Week 4. Treadwell will likely continue to work in as the fourth receiver moving forward but won't offer any fantasy value with his very limited role in the offense.
Minnesota Vikings tight end caught 3-of-3 targets for 36 yards in a Week 6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. This was Rudolph's best game this season by quite a large margin, which just reinforces that he can't be trusted as a starting tight end even with the position being as shallow as it is. He played in 68-of-71 (96%) offensive snaps and had the third-most targets this week, but he still possesses a low weekly floor and ceiling with his lack of red-zone usage. Rudolph is only a desperation play as a TE2 heading into Week 7's road game against the Detroit Lions.
Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola (chest) is officially active for the team's Week 6 game.
Fantasy Spin: Amendola posted 104 yards in Week 1 but has posted only 34 combined yards in his other two games this season. He probably will see a handful of targets this week but can be avoided in most leagues.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot) is making good progress in his recovery and is expected to return to practice after the team's Week 7 bye, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Kyle Allen has won each of the last four games with Newton hurt, so it is not known if Newton will regain his starting job when he is healthy. Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation over the next few weeks to see if Allen or Newton will be the starting quarterback.