Atlanta Falcons vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction
Atlanta Falcons (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (2-6-1 SU, 5-4 ATS)
NFL Football Week 10
Date and Time: Sunday, November 11th, 1:00pm EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium - Cleveland, OH
By Bob Clark, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ATL -4/CLE +4
Over/Under Total: 51
POWER RATINGS – WEEK 10:
ATLANTA FALCONS -8
TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 9
I was actually able to watch both of these teams closely over the past weekend and I took away a few things. First off, the Falcons are BACK! Many experts had them as not only the favorite to win the NFC South but a few major outlets had them as the favorite to win the Super Bowl which consequently will be held in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The offense is still firing on all cylinders, Matt Ryan is putting up even better numbers than he did in 2016 (the year he won league MVP) and…wait for it…the Falcons young and banged up defense is actually starting to get some stops and make some plays. With the way New Orleans is rolling right now, I find it extremely difficult for Atlanta to win the NFC South, but the entire NFC will be on alert if this team battles back to take one of the Wild Card spots come January. As for the Browns, a few weeks ago I was very high on them. Not high in them being a contender, but high on them improving and becoming respectable. Well as everyone knows they are now rolling with a new O.C. and Gregg Williams is now acting as head coach. Against the Kansas City Chiefs, the offense had some success with Baker Mayfield passing for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns but the defense had trouble getting stops…however, most NFL defenses are having trouble stopping the Chiefs attack. With that said, this coming weekend will not be much different and the Browns better tighten up on D if they think they can hang with Atlanta.
HOW THE PUBLIC IS BETTING ATLANTA AND CLEVELAND:
As it stands, Sportsbooks have the Atlanta Falcons are a four point favorite on the road against Cleveland. As of Tuesday morning a whopping 72% of the action was on the Falcons to cover on the road which means this line will shift. If this trend of betting keeps up, I think we can be looking at a seven or eight point line by kickoff. I am not saying just yet that my pick is Atlanta but if you are convinced to take the Dirty Birds…bet them NOW before you end up giving up more points later in the week.
These two teams rarely play each other and dating back to 1978 they have only faced off ten times while the series itself dates back to 1966. Remember before a certain year, those games could actually be considered games against the Baltimore Ravens since the original Browns franchise moved and they were left without a team for a few seasons. Regardless of that, the Browns hold an 11-3 record against Atlanta but lets not forget that over the last decade, the tide has turned and Atlanta has been the more consistent winner while Cleveland has been a dumpster fire as of late. What I am really trying to say here is keep history out of this because both franchises are in very different places than they were in the past.
Other than the guys on each team that sit on the IR that we already knew about, there is no major injury news although both teams have a few players who are listed as “Day to Day.” The reports I am hearing sounds as if they will all play and no new injuries will have any major impact come Sunday.
WHEN ATLANTA HAS THE BALL:
On offense, the Falcons just need to keep doing what they are doing. This team is clicking and Matt Ryan is having one of the best seasons of his career so far. Atlanta comes into this game ranked 2nd in the league in passing. They are also piling on another 90+ yards a game on the ground. It is obvious the run game is not their strong suit (although they ran for 154 against Washington this past Sunday) and they will again rely heavily on the pass. Even on first downs this season, Atlanta is throwing the ball 58% of the time. Matt Ryan is getting everyone involved and if this Cleveland defense cannot find a way to disrupt Ryan in the pocket, he will pick them apart and continue his success. The Falcons game plan: Pass, Pass, Pass, PAT, Pass….then Pass again. They are almost making it look too easy right now.
WHEN CLEVELAND HAS THE BALL:
The Browns are going to have to hope the Falcons defense that showed up against New Orleans and Cincinnati comes this weekend. If that is the case, they have a shot. From a Browns perspective though, they must, must, must keep the Atlanta offense off the field. Cleveland will need to give Atlanta a huge dose of Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson and just hope for the best. They need to shorten this game and milk as much time as they can off the clock. If they get in a shootout with Atlanta, that will not end well. Currently, the Cleveland Browns offense ranks 9th in the NFL in rushing…they need to continue their success. That was the Redskins plan last week and the Atlanta front stopped the run and ran away with the game. The Browns O-Line will need to play better and at least let Cleveland sustain long drives to shorten the game.
Sometimes I like looking at past trends and numbers or what have you, but then there are just games that I go 100% on logic, the eye test, and on paper. This Atlanta team is rolling right now and they are going to be hard to stop. They have won three straight while Cleveland has dropped their last four in a row. There is no trend here…Atlanta is just better, much better, and they will show it come Sunday.
The weather favors Cleveland seeing as how we are looking at about a 50% chance of scattered showers while the temperatures are expected to be a high of 44 and a low of 33 during game time. This may slow down the Falcons on offense but will it be enough for Cleveland to actually pull off the upset?
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the Atlanta Falcons keep rolling and win this game with ease. I like a bit of a lower scoring game from Atlanta, but I think the defense keeps Mayfield and company in check. Atlanta wins and covers this game 24-16 on Sunday.