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The Browns are….Favored?!?!
Cleveland’s offense hasn’t exactly found another gear since Deshaun Watson returned to action in Week 13 against the Texans. The Browns totaled just 304 yards in that game in Houston and last week in Cincinnati were only marginally better at 344 yards of offense. By the way, while Watson’s performances the last four weeks are likely the only thing that Browns fans are interested in, let’s not forget the Cleveland defense struggled against the run last week against the Bengals allowing 136 Cincinnati rushing yards and a 5.2 yards per carry average for the Bengals. What do you think Baltimore is going to look to do in what looks like another game without Lamar Jackson? The Ravens torched the Steelers last week on the ground to the tune of 215 rushing yards and J.K. Dobbins could not have returned at a better time. Gus Edwards is also healthy now in the Baltimore backfield as well. Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley is in a race to clear the concussion protocol before this Saturday late afternoon kickoff on Lake Erie, but we feel pretty good about Baltimore being able to gash the Browns on the ground regardless. If the Cleveland offense had shown a little bit more I would probably pass this game on the basis that the Ravens wouldn’t be able to keep the game in the teens like they did last week against the Steelers. But that’s exactly what I think they’re going to do again and so we’re on Baltimore +2.5.
A Philly Sandwich Spot
If you’re looking for actual sandwich spots in Philadelphia, I grew up in the area so I’ll happily recommend some. But, when it comes to lining our wallets, there’s a sandwich spot involving the Eagles on Sunday that we want a bite of. Philadelphia ran right through the Giants last week winning 48-22 at MetLife Stadium and it wasn’t really even that close. The win meant that with wins against the Bears and Cowboys next week, the Eagles will clinch the top seed in the NFC and have a full three weeks to relax before the divisional round of the playoffs in late January. I understand if you don’t want to step in front of Philly right now, but a date with the Bears in between divisional road games against the Giants and Cowboys is exactly the kind of game the Eagles go lightly in. It’s entirely possible they attempt to get in and get out with a vanilla game plan and therefore not build up significant margin. The Bears are returning from a bye week and don’t you think young quarterback Justin Fields would like to make a statement against the Eagles? When you’re as good as the Eagles are, you’re going to get everyone’s best shot. I’m not sure Philly can win by double digits on the road for the second week in a row. I’ll take Chicago +9.
Tapped Out Cardinals
Here goes nothing! I’m about to lay points with the Denver Broncos! Of course this is not a bet on Denver and is almost exclusively a fade of the Arizona Cardinals. Kliff Kingsbury’s team has been riddled with injuries, particularly on the offensive side of the ball this year, and the latest injury was to their marquee quarterback, Kyler Murray, who suffered a torn ACL last week against New England and is out for the year and almost definitely a portion of 2023 as well. I don’t know if Kingsbury is going to get fired as his Cardinals teams had gotten progressively better in each of his previous three seasons prior to 2022. It’s possible management writes this off as a lost season and turns the page to 2023. Either way, I don’t want any part of the Cardinals for the rest of the season. I’d like to think there’s at least an ounce of fight left in the Broncos too. After all, they did cover each of the last two weeks against playoff teams Baltimore and Kansas City. Russell Wilson may not play in this game after suffering a concussion last week at home versus the Chiefs, but we’ve reached the point where it doesn’t matter for the Broncos. I was encouraged enough by Denver’s offensive output last week to plug my nose and get there with the Broncos -2.5 this week.
So if Baker Mayfield can win a game having been on the Rams’ roster for approximately 48 hours against a bad team, he couldn’t beat another bad team with 11 days of rest? That’s the setup for the 2018 No. 1 overall pick as Mayfield and the Rams travel to Lambeau Field to square off with the Packers on Monday Night Football after defeating the Raiders on Thursday Night Football in Week 14. Better yet, we don’t even need Mayfield to win. We’re getting a touchdown here! Green Bay is still mathematically alive for a playoff spot, but I don’t really care at this point. I’ve seen enough of the Packers to not take them seriously and I’m certainly not laying a touchdown with the Packers. Give me motivated Mayfield to have another nice game with his future hanging in the balance in this final portion of the regular season with the Rams. Baker should have more familiarity with the offense and I think that’s enough to cash a Rams +7 ticket.
By Greg Frank
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