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Brian Hoyer starting for Browns on Sunday vs. Colts

It's not Johnny Football time in Cleveland just yet.

Brian Hoyer will start at quarterback this week for the Browns, the team confirmed in a press release. Hoyer was replaced by Johnny Manzielin the fourth quarterlast Sunday in Buffalo, but coach Mike Pettine is sticking with the veteran for at least one more week. FOX Sports first had the news. 

NFL Media's Albert Breer reports that Cleveland's status in the playoff race at 7-5 was the deciding factor. Hoyer helped get them there, and the Brownsfeel he gives them the best shot going forward. (For now.) 

Pettine was asked Wednesday what the biggest factor in choosing Hoyer was.

"The fact that he'd been in there, he'd been a part of our success," Pettine said. "It wasn't perfect and he's made his share of mistakes, but he's gotten the lion's share of the reps in practice and virtually all of them in games and has us in the thick of a playoff hunt. That to me was probably the biggest determining factor."

The news comes as a surprise. Pettine has been tight-lipped about his starter since the loss to the Bills, which usually means that a change is coming. Hoyer has exceeded expectations overall as the team's starter, hitting on a surprising number of deep throws and helping the Browns to a 7-5 record.

But there's no denying Hoyer has played his worst football over the last few weeks, and he has inconsistent accuracy for someone with a limited skill set. There have been a number of miscommunications with Josh Gordon over the last two weeks.

Manziel appeared to give the offense some life in his brief appearance in Buffalo, and it would not be a surprise to see him come off the bench again if Hoyer struggles Sunday against Indianapolis. Hoyer will be fighting a game-to-game battle to keep his job, not to mention a potential contract in the offseason when he becomes a free agent. 

Pettine has been a big supporter of Hoyer, dating back to the preseason. Ultimately he is choosing the mid-level quarterback he knows versus the greater upside and risk of Manziel. 

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews Cowboys-Bears and reacts to Brian Hoyer earning the nod over Johnny Manziel. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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