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Let’s face it. The Browns have been better this season, and Nick Chubb is a major reason why.
So the fact that their prized running back will return from injured reserve this week should offer a boost in morale and productivity.
The Browns (5-3) are coming off a bye after Baker Mayfield and the offense put forth an absolute clunker on Nov. 1, dropping a 16-6 home decision to the equally unpredictable Las Vegas Raiders.
Before that, the Browns barely survived the Bengals and were walloped by the Steelers. All three of those games came without Chubb, who suffered a knee injury in Week Four at Dallas. The Browns will play the rest of the season without Odell Beckham Jr., who tore his left knee ligament against the Bengals.
OBJ hasn’t been as dynamic with the Browns as he was with the Giants, but he does force opponents to stay honest and not place their entire focus on the running game.
Lately, that running game has consisted solely of Kareem Hunt, who has played well. Between Hunt and Chubb, the Browns have perhaps the best RB tandem in the NFL.
Chubb’s potential return comes at a time when the Browns have every opportunity to keep themselves in the playoff conversation.
They host the struggling Texans this weekend, then get another home game against the struggling Eagles. After that, it’s a trip to Jacksonville.
If the Browns bring even their B-minus game, they should be 8-3 with five to go. They will also face the hapless Jets and Giants in the final stretch of the season.
Chubb has been their MVP, the primary reason they can rack up points while keeping the clock running. If the Browns get to where they want to go, Chubb will be the man who drives the bus.
Good news for the Browns: it appears he’s one step closer to getting back behind the wheel.