The Cleveland Browns are finally playing as well as they are supposed to.
The Browns’ vaunted offense simply hasn’t played up to expectations—until last Sunday, that is. Early weeks of underwhelming play were wiped away with their 40-25 beatdown of the Baltimore Ravens. However, they will face a serious test against an unbeaten San Francisco 49ers team on Monday Night Football.
Against the Ravens, the Browns offense was nothing short of amazing. Baker Mayfield threw for 342 yards, 167 of which went to Jarvis Landry. Nick Chubb ran for an unreal 165 yards and three touchdowns. And all of this was despite an oddly quiet 20-yard receiving day from Odell Beckham Jr.
This high-octane offensive performance shouldn’t diminish the achievements of a defense that bottled up Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. The impressive stat line of four sacks, six tackles for a loss, and two interceptions doesn’t even quite get at how dominant the defensive unit really was.
Even if the Browns play up to where they were last week, they will have a challenge in the 49ers. The Jimmy Garoppolo-led squad has looked impressive so far, and they will be coming off of an early bye week refreshed and ready to play.
The 49ers offense isn’t always dazzling, but the bruising combination of George Kittle at tight end and Matt Breida at running back has been enough to gut out wins.
Though Jimmy G. hasn’t put up amazing stats, he has played well and avoided mistakes. With a defense that was number 2 in DVOA heading into their bye, according to Football Outsiders, Garoppolo doesn’t need to be perfect to win games.
This should be one of the best matchups of the week, as two imperfect teams with a lot of potential try to prove just how well they have figured things out.
Cleveland Browns vs. San Francisco 49ers
- When: 8:15pm ET, Monday, Oct. 7
- Where: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California
- Streaming: Monday Night Football airs exclusively on ESPN. You can stream ESPN on a number of streaming platforms.
Browns vs. 49ers live stream: How to watch MNF online
- Cost: $44.99 per month
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
Hulu with Live TV includes sports programming among its offerings, including ESPN and FS1, and as a subscriber to the service, you’ll get free access to Hulu’s sizable on-demand library. (Check out the full list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
2) Sling TV
- Cost: $25-$40 per month (40% off first month)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire TVs, Android Fire Stick, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
Both Sling Blue ($25 per month) or Sling Orange + Blue ($40 per month) include NFL Network and a number of sports channels—like three ESPN channels and NBCSN—and it’s still a nice perk that Sling subscribers can order a la carte packages. Sling TV also offers a special Latino package for bilingual viewers. Sling TV is currently offering a deal where you can subscribe for 40% off the regular price for the first month of your subscription. That means Sling Blue would cost $15, and Sling Orange + Blue would cost $25. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels and our Sling TV review.)
For $10 extra per month, you can get NFL RedZone via the Sling Blue Sports Extra package.
How to use AirTV with Sling
AirTV solves one of Sling’s biggest problems: The inability to receive all of your local channels. By purchasing a basic AirTV for $79.99 or the AirTV Player for $119.99, you can merge those local channels into your Sling TV (or on your mobile device if you have the basic AirTV). As the Daily Dot wrote in its AirTV review, “It’s practically magic.”
The basic AirTV is a dual-tuner streaming device, while the AirTV Player is basically an upgraded Chromecast that has Netflix preinstalled. You’ll still need to own an HD antenna because even though AirTV gets you access to your local channels, it doesn’t actually physically show them to you.
But AirTV—which has no monthly fee—serves to strengthen one of Sling’s biggest weaknesses compared to other live streaming services like Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue. All those services have plenty of local channels. While select NFL and college football games (on Fox, FS1, and FS2) are no longer on Sling, you can still catch Fox games with AirTV.
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- PlayStation Vue local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
If you’d like to watch live NFL games directly from your PS4, PlayStation Vue is your best bet. PlayStation also works with streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire products, but what separates PlayStation from the rest of the streaming services is that it’s also compatible with Kodi. No matter how you stream, you’ll get to choose from four tiers of channels—all but the cheapest include NFL Network. From there, you can also add NFL RedZone as part of the $10-per-month Sports Pack, which also unlocks ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Classic, Longhorn Network, Outside TV, and NBCUniversal regional sports networks. You can see the full list of PlayStation Vue channels here. Two other great perks: You can stream on up to five devices at once, and there’s also unlimited cloud DVR.
4) YouTube TV
- Cost: $50 per month
- YouTube TV devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- YouTube TV local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
Fantasy Football: Who should I start?
Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver: Don’t be put off by OBJ’s disappointing outing last week. He is still the number one option in Cleveland’s offense. With Jarvis Landry going through the concussion protocol, Beckham may be the best receiving option on the field by far.
George Kittle, Tight End: Cleveland’s defense is really good, and running back Matt Breida has been up and down on the year to date. While you are likely starting Breida, you want to see another solid performance or two before you feel great about it. Kittle is the only sure thing on this offense in Week 5.
Browns vs. 49ers: Why it matters
These two teams are vying to be the future of the NFL, and in some weeks this season, they have looked like it. But, at other times, they haven’t.
The question is whether these teams have signal callers who are really ready to go the distance. The problem for Baker Mayfield has been mistakes: the QB has more interceptions than touchdown passes through four weeks.
Jimmy G isn’t perfect either. He needs to get more productive and find consistency with someone other than Kittle.
Despite these shortcomings, both of these quarterbacks are talented and have dynamic weapons around them. Both squads also have the kind of defensive talent that can bail them out if the going gets tough.
These are two similar teams that could produce one of the most exciting matchups of Week 5.
- How to watch NFL RedZone without cable
- How to watch NFL Sunday Ticket without a DirecTV satellite
- How to watch NFL Network online (without cable)
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