CLEVELAND — Deshaun Watson made his long-awaited official debut with the Browns this past Sunday, looking rusty after two years sitting out despite a 27-14 Cleveland win over the Houston Texans. His first game in front of the home fans at FirstEnergy Stadium won't take place for another couple of weeks, but now a bit of intrigue has been added to the occasion.
As promised, the NFL has flexed three Week 15 games to Saturday, Dec. 17, rather than the usual Sunday. The Browns' home game against the rival Baltimore Ravens will be the second of a triple-header, scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m. and airing live on NFL Network.
The showdown will be notable for a number of reasons. At 5-7 and with a road battle against defending AFC champion Cincinnati looming this Sunday, the Browns likely have to beat both the Bengals and Ravens in order to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. And of course, it will be Clevelanders' first chance to get an in-person look at their new quarterback, who is coming off an 11-game suspension and was booed by his old fans in Houston.
This is the second straight season the Browns have had a mid-December game flexed to Saturday as part of the league's special holiday schedule. However, last year's bout ended up with an unfortunate twist, as a COVID-19 outbreak among Browns players forced the NFL to move their matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders to Tuesday.