Green Bay Packers 2021 opponent preview: Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Four years ago, Brett Hundley and the Green Bay Packers defeated DeShone Kizer and the Cleveland Browns.

We should be set for a completely different matchup this time as both the Packers and Browns can make a case for being serious Super Bowl contenders.

In 2021, the Browns return to Lambeau Field in the regular season for the first time in eight years.

Last season

Eighteen years of waiting finally came to an end for Browns fans. Since 2002, the Browns had failed to reach the playoffs and only had one winning season in that time. It had been the best part of three decades since their last playoff win.

But that all changed in 2020.

Cleveland never lost two games in a row and finished the regular season with an 11-5 record. Even then, it was only good for third place in the division. They still haven’t finished higher than second in the AFC North since 2007.

It did, however, earn them a wild-card berth, and a week later they eliminated the division-champion Pittsburgh Steelers, winning 48-37. A game with the Kansas City Chiefs proved one step too far and the Browns lost by five points in the divisional round.

When is the game?

The Packers and Browns will meet at Lambeau Field in a potential Christmas classic. The game begins at 3:30 p.m. CT on Christmas Day, which falls in Week 16 this season.

Offseason additions/departures

There’s a lot to like about Cleveland’s offseason. The team added edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, cornerback Troy Hill, and safety John Johnson. In the draft, they selected cornerback Greg Newsome II in the first round and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the second.

Have the Browns taken the step from playoff contenders to a Super Bowl team? Don’t forget, they’ll also get Odell Beckham Jr. back this year.

Last meeting with Packers

December 10, 2017: Packers won 27-21 after overtime at FirstEnergy Stadium

Player to watch

Nick Chubb: If the Packers are to have any chance of defeating the Browns on a frozen afternoon at Lambeau, they’ll need to stop the run. Against Cleveland, that means stopping two-time Pro Bowler Nick Chubb, who has 3,557 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns in his first three seasons.