FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots can clinch the AFC East today with a win against the Cleveland Browns and a little help.
For the Patriots to take their fifth straight division title, they need a Miami Dolphins loss or tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots can clinch a playoff spot with a Baltimore Ravens loss or tie against the Minnesota Vikings.
But it won't come easy. The Browns (4-8) have one of the league's best defenses, holding opponents to an average of 306.8 yards of total offense, good for fourth in the NFL. Cornerback Joe Haden has intercepted four passes in the past four games. Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson has 103 total tackles already. On offense, wide receiver Josh Gordon has inserted himself among the league's elite players with 64 receptions for 1,249 yards and seven touchdowns.
But the Browns have lost their last three games, befuddled by turnover issues and inconsistent play at quarterback. Jason Campbell (concussion) will get the start after Brandon Weeden (concussion) was knocked out last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Patriots will be dealing with their own injuries. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson (foot) is still out, as is tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle). Ten others are listed as questionable.
Here are the details for the game:
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Records: Patriots 9-3; Browns 4-8.
TV, radio: CBS (Don Criqui, Steve Tasker); 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Bob Socci, Scott Zolak).
Projected starting lineups:
Based on information distributed to the media, practice observations, and injury reports.
Patriots offense: WR Kenbrell Thompkins, LT Nate Solder, LG Logan Mankins, C Ryan Wendell, RG Dan Connolly, RT Will Svitek, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Julian Edelman, QB Tom Brady, RB Shane Vereen, FB James Develin.
Patriots defense: LE Rob Ninkovich, DT Joe Vellano, DT Chris Jones, DE Chandler Jones, LB Dont'a Hightower, LB Brandon Spikes, LB Jamie Collins, CB Aqib Talib, CB Kyle Arrington, S Devin McCourty, S Steve Gregory.
Browns offense: WR Josh Gordon, LT Joe Thomas, LG John Greco, C Alex Mack, RG Shawn Lauvao, RT Mitchell Schwartz, TE Jordan Cameron, WR Greg Little, QB Jason Campbell, RB Willis McGahee, FB Chris Ogbonnaya.
Browns defense: RE Desmond Bryant, NT Phil Taylor, LE Ahtyba Rubin, OLB Jabaal Sheard, ILB Craig Robertson, ILB D'Qwell Jackson, OLB Paul Kruger, RCB Buster Skrine, LCB Joe Haden, FS Tashaun Gipson, SS T.J. Ward.
- Erik Frenz writes about the matchup between Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib and Browns receiving phenomenon Josh Gordon. He also did a scouting report on the Browns.
- Follow the game and comment on the action in our live blog.