Cleveland Browns Tight End David Njoku to Miss 2-5 Weeks
The Cleveland Browns took a bad beat in the injury department when tight end David Njoku suffered a high ankle sprain in a grueling 23-20 loss against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Njoku went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter against the Ravens. He got checked out in the locker room, but never returned to the game. Njoku was having a standout performance with seven catches for 71 yards prior to the ankle injury.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Njoku could miss two to five weeks with the ankle injury. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski indicated that Njoku is considered week-to-week.
High ankle sprains are difficult injuries to gauge because the recovery time is different for every player. The Browns were fortunate that Njoku didn’t fracture any bones. In 2019, Njoku missed 12 games with a broken wrist. In 2020, a knee injury kept him out of four games.
After starting the season 2-1, the Browns lost four games in a row. They’re tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for last place in the AFC North.
Njoku Out, Harrison Bryant Next Man Up
Njoku was one of the bright spots for the Browns this season. He caught at least five passes in four out of his previous five games. In Week 4, Njoku lit up the Steelers for nine catches, 89 yards, and one touchdown.
Fantasy football team owners are bummed at the prospect of losing Njoku to an injury. Through the first seven games this season, Njoku was the fifth-best tight end on ESPN’s fantasy football rankings. He caught 34 passes for 418 yards and one touchdown.
Harrison Bryant is the backup tight end for the Browns this season. He caught 14 passes for 114 yards and zero touchdowns.
The Browns selected Bryant out of Florida Atlantic University with a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He added three touchdown receptions in his rookie season in 2020 and caught three touchdowns last season with the Browns.
In 38 total games, primarily as a backup, Bryant contributed 59 receptions for 585 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 9.9 yards per catch.
AFC North Coin Flip
There’s no clear-cut, dominant team in the AFC North this season. The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals are both 4-3, while the Browns and Steelers are 2-5.
After a slow 2-3 start, the Bengals finally shrugged off their Super Bowl hangover and won two games in a row. The Bengals beat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8 during an impressive 35-17 rout. For the first time since last year’s postseason, the Bengals’ offense looked awesome when Joe Burrow passed for 481 yards and three touchdowns.
The Ravens have serious issues on defense and blew leads against the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and the New York Giants. They almost squandered a double-digit lead against the Browns last Sunday, but hung on to win 23-20.
In the win totals department, the 2-5 Browns are projected to win seven games. They’ll have to win .500 of their remaining games to get there.
The Browns host the Bengals on “Monday Night Football” in Week 8 before a bye in Week 9. The Browns are +3 home dogs against the Bengals.
After the bye, six out of the Browns’ final nine games are on the road. They have three home games after Thanksgiving against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, and New Orleans Saints. They hit the road for games against the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Bengals, Washington Commanders, and the Steelers.
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