NFL Week 3 Picks: On the Browns Tanking, Brian Hoyer, and the Savior Chris Ogbonnaya

Ladies and gentlemen, YOUR Cleveland Browns!!! Led by Brian Hoyer and Bobby Rainey!!!

Huh?

It’s not hard at all to understand that we’ve gotten to this point with the Browns. It happens every year. We all know that we haven’t had a QB start every game of a season since ’99. We’re used to getting to the point in the season where a third string QB and an undrafted RB are both starting. What is hard to understand is that we’re at this point and it’s only Week 2.

Like everyone, the Trent Richardson trade totally blindsided me. I love it though and wrote some good 2000 words about it on Thursday, so I won’t go over all that again. It mostly comes down to my steadfast belief that running backs aren’t worth first round picks. And if you can get a first round pick for a RB with mediocre production, you do it every time.

Now, on the topic of “tanking”…I don’t think the Richardson trade smacks of tanking. Again, what exactly did he do this season (or last for that matter) to contribute to actual winning? As Bill Barnwell pointed out so aptly in his column the other day, you can get the production we were getting from Richardson from just about anybody. As Barnwell put it so bluntly “the Browns could have signed just about any college free agent off the street and gotten the 3.5 yards per carry Richardson’s produced so far as a pro.” So to me I don’t think trading Richardson really constitutes tanking.

Starting Brian Hoyer on the other hand??? Now THAT might be tanking.

Here’s a guy who’s been cut by three teams in the span of a year. And those teams include the Patriots (one of, if not the smartest franchise in football), the Steelers (a team with a backup QB situation so rough that we saw the decaying carcass of Charlie Batch start against the Browns) and the Cardinals (who thought it would be a better idea to bring in a 33 year old Carson Palmer who hasn’t had a good season in like five years). Now I get why people like Hoyer. He’s an Ohio kid and all that. But the guy has started one game in his NFL career. Why do you bring in Jason Campbell to be the backup QB if you want to start Hoyer instead? That makes no sense to me and that feels a little more like tanking. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes Brandon Weeden to “recover” from his hand injury.

As for the running back position, the Browns website right now has Rainey listed as the only RB and Chris Ogbonnaya listed at FB still. They of course brought in Willis McGahee also but I really would like to see Ogbonnaya get some carries. I was actually a big fan of the way he ran back in 2011 when he averaged 4.6 yards on 73 carries. I don’t love him as a fullback but I would like to see what he can do running the ball. It can’t be a whole lot worse than what we’ve gotten to this point in the season.

You listening to me, Chud and Norv? Just give Obby the ball.

Now let’s get to the games…quick pick versions this week…

(Home team is in CAPS. Lines are from SportsBook.com. Gamble at your own risk.)

VIKINGS (-7) over Browns

The Browns have only given up a total of 37 points through two games and yet, have failed to cover. It’s a full touchdown against a winless team but it’s hard for me bet on Brian Hoyer. The case for the Browns is that the defense stacks the box and shuts down Adrian Peterson which then renders Christian Ponder useless. The Browns then catch a couple breaks on offense, maybe a special teams or defensive score, maybe Chris Ogbonnaya runs wild, and maybe I’m on the verge of changing my pick. But it’s Brian Hoyer…no. Just lay the points and be done with it.

Chargers (+3) over TITANS

One of these teams might actually be good. We’ll find out which one this week.

Buccaneers (+7.5) over PATRIOTS

It’s the battle of “teams that can’t cover spreads”! The Patriots have eked out wins over two rookie QBs so I just can’t lay more than a TD against Josh Freemen, even though the Bucs have probably been the most disappointing team in the NFL thus far for me…except the Browns of course.

Texans (-2.5) over RAVENS

The Ravens aren’t good and it only takes a field goal to win this line.

COWBOYS (-3.5) over Rams

I don’t love laying more than a FG with Tony Romo but I also don’t think I can take a mediocre Rams team on the road.

Cardinals (+7.5) over SAINTS

I could be dead wrong here picking against the Saints at home. But they were so underwhelming last week that it’s tough to stomach this big of a line.

REDSKINS (-1) over Lions

They’ve gotta win eventually, right?

Packers (-3) over BENGALS

Aaron Rodgers looks dialed in.

PANTHERS (+1.5) over Giants

Taking the home dog in this cat fight. (How’s that for super lame word play?)

Falcons (+2) over DOLPHINS

This could be the game where the Dolphins announce themselves as contenders. But I’m not betting on them yet.

49ERS (-10) over Colts

Feels like Vegas might know something here. I really don’t like what I’ve seen from the Colts this season and I thought their success last season was a little fluky. And as I’m not a big Trent Richardson fan it’s not like that addition is going to make me go nuts about their team. And who knows? Maybe Trent Richardson will do to Andrew Luck what he did to Brandon Weeden last year?

Jaguars (+19.5) over SEAHAWKS

Out of sheer principle. This is an insane line for an NFL game.

Bills (+2.5) over JETS

I’ll take EJ over Gino.

Bears (-2.5) over STEELERS

The Steelers are not a good football team and this is a pretty crappy SNF game.

Raiders (+16) over BRONCOS

And this is an even crappier MFL game.

LAST WEEK: 8-7

SEASON: 13-16

BROWNS PICKS: 0-2

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