It was a crazy first half of the Cleveland Browns season with three different guys playing quarterback, a three game winning streak, a three game losing streak, ACL injuries, fake punts, fake field goals, dumb coaching, gutsy coaching, and ultimately the Browns find themselves coming out of their bye week at 4-5 with the playoffs still very much a possibility.
The Browns sit a game and a half behind the Bengals for the division lead, who just so happen to be their opponent this week. So as we get into that game let’s hit the lines as well…
(Home team in CAPS. Lines from SportsBook.com. Gamble at your own risk.)
Browns (+6.5) over BENGALS
I’ve written this multiple times throughout the season but for the Browns to get wins they are going to need great defense and special teams because the quarterbacks just aren’t good enough to get the job done on their own. Here’s the interesting thing about this week’s opponent: the Bengals are kind of in the same boat. Andy Dalton is a fine quarterback but he’s not a superstar by any means and he usually needs a solid running game and a couple amazing catches by AJ Green to put up points. Fortunately for the Browns they are quite good at shutting down the running opponent’s running game and Joe Haden is more than capable of corralling Green. In their Week 4 win in Cleveland, Brian Hoyer got all the headlines but it was the Browns’ defense that won game by dominating the Bengals and only allowing six points. I expect a similar result this week
As for Jason Campbell and the offense…they are going to need a similar performance to what they got in the second half against Baltimore out of the veteran QB. This is a very good Bengals defense much like the Browns so limiting mistakes is one of the biggest keys. They can’t afford turnovers to make things easier for Dalton. The Bengals defense has had several injuries so Campbell and the offense needs to take advantage.
The line for this game is at least three points too high. Considering how these two teams have been playing lately and considering their previous result, I can’t fathom why the Bengals are laying 6.5 points. I won’t complain though because I like the Browns this week to win but I’ll gladly take the extra points for a cushion.
Falcons (-1) over BUCCANEERS
I don’t care about this game and it’s a coin flip anyways so I’m just picking the better QB and moving on.
BILLS (+1.5) over Jets
It’s round two of the AFC East rookie QB battle! Geno Smith and the Jets took the first meeting in New York but the Bills behind EJ Manuel will get their revenge this week in Buffalo. This will also be Manuel’s second game back from the injury he suffered against Cleveland so you’d have to think that he’ll be a little more comfortable than he was last week.
Lions (-2.5) over STEELERS
Did I miss where the Steelers actually got good and just wasn’t paying attention? No? So they only have three wins on the season and two of them came against rookie QBs? And they’re just two weeks removed from getting eviscerated by a mediocre Patriots offense? So why are they only getting two and a half points against one of the best offenses in the NFL? I’d take the Lions this week if they were favored by seven and I’d probably still take them at ten. So at under a field goal? It’s a no-brainer.
EAGLES (-4) over Bravehearts
The Eagles offense under Nick Foles is really starting to look pretty good as the young QB becomes more comfortable and confident in it. They’ll look really good this week against a Washington defense that is more of a theory than a reality.
BEARS (-3) over Ravens
This should be a pretty close yet thoroughly unentertaining game. Both teams are really hampered with injuries and neither has played especially well this season. I feel more comfortable just taking the home team in this matchup.
Raiders (+9) over TEXANS
I never feel good taking the Raiders no matter how big the line or the opponent is. On a side note, my fantasy team is in such tough straights that I’m actually thinking about starting Case Keemun this week in hopes that he goes nuts against that porous Raider defense and throws for like five TDs.
Cardinals (-9) over JAGUARS
The Jags have no burned me twice this week in my quest to always pick against them no matter the line or the opponent. Twice is still not enough even when they’re getting nine points at home.
Chargers (-2.5) over DOLPHINS
Miami is currently in “don’t pick them under any circumstances until you see something good from them” territory considering everything that team is going through and that they just lost to a previously winless team. Also the Chargers aren’t bad.
SEAHAWKS (-12.5) over Vikings
I don’t feel good about laying many points. But I would feel less good about taking Christian Ponder/whoever is playing QB for the Vikings these days to cover any spread on the road in Seattle against that defense.
SAINTS (-3.5) over 49ers
This is good game and should be a really fun matchup between the Saints offense and the Niners defense. However, only one week removed from the Saints offense looking like it was playing Madden on Easy level I would have a hard time picking against them, especially considering that the Niners are coming off a nine-point explosion at home last week.
GIANTS (-5) over Packers
I dislike this game very much because it’s going to keep me from watching the aforementioned Saints/Niners game. I hate living in Wisconsin. How did this game not get flexed?
Chiefs (+7.5) over BRONCOS
I don’t think the Broncos offense will be able to go quite as nuts against the Chiefs this week especially with that defensive line hounding a hobbled Peyton Manning all night. I think I still like the Broncos to win the game but it’s going to be close and this line is just too big for a team that, ya know, hasn’t lost a game yet.
PANTHERS (-1.5) over Patriots
I don’t feel good about picking against Bill Belichick coming off a bye week but I just like this Panthers team. They’re playing great defense and they’re getting enough out of Cam Newton and the offense to get wins. The good news? I actually picked a Patriots game right two weeks ago so there’s hope that I may have figured out this team actually.
LAST WEEK: 6-6-1
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