Cleveland Browns vs. Green Bay Packers Pick 12/25/21
Cleveland Browns (7-7 SU, 6-8 ATS) v. Green Bay Packers (11-3 SU, 11-3 ATS)
NFL Week 16
When: Saturday, December 25 at 4:30 pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field – Green Bay, WI
Point Spread: CLE +7/GB -7 (MyBookie – Give yourself a Christmas gift by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus up to $300 when you sign up through our link and use bonus code PREDICT100)
Over/Under Total: 44.5
Week 16 is full of playoff-relevant matchups to make your holiday a bit more exciting. Cleveland is fighting for its postseason life at 7-7, while Green Bay is looking to take one more step to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Christmas at Lambeau has not been friendly for visiting teams, with the Packers sporting a 6-2 record in games played on Christmas Eve or Day. Weather isn’t set to be a big factor this Saturday, and that may actually be bad news for Cleveland as Mother Nature could have helped cool Aaron Rodgers’ current hot streak. Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown pass in Week 10 but has thrown 14 in the four games since and is now the franchise leader in touchdown passes after three scores against Baltimore last week. Green Bay’s narrow win against the Ravens helped Cleveland stay close in the AFC North, but now the Browns have to capitalize with a win or likely kiss their playoff chances goodbye.
Cleveland is just 1-4 against the spread over the last five games overall but has won 5-of-6 ATS when on the road against an opponent with a winning record. Green Bay has five straight ATS wins as the home favorite with a 16-5 record against the spread in the last 21 overall at Lambeau. The Over is 4-1 when Cleveland is a road dog and 6-1 when the Browns play a team above the .500 mark. Green Bay has averaged 35.7 points over the last four games, with the Over hitting in each of those contests, and the Over has paid in seven straight when the Packers put up at least 30 in the week before. Covid is impacting rosters throughout the league, but Aaron Rodgers will not be tested following his recent positive test, so there is no danger that he will miss this game. That certainly is leading to nearly 75% of the public money on Green Bay’s side, with 70% of the early action coming in on the Over.
Spinning Their Wheels
Cleveland had some nice wins over the last few months, including big division wins against Baltimore and Cincinnati, but they are just 4-6 over the last ten games and missed some critical opportunities to take control of the division. The Browns best chance on Saturday is to use their 5th ranked run game to keep the game close. Nick Chubb crossed the 1,000-yard plateau last week and leads the team with eight total touchdowns. Baker Mayfield is proving to be one of the toughest players in the league, but Cleveland is 26th in passing, and this game could get out of hand if Green Bay can get out to an early lead. Mayfield has limited the turnovers with just seven interceptions on the season, but the big play has been absent, and Cleveland has averaged just 14.8 points per game over the last five weeks. Donovan Peoples-Jones leads the team with 478 yards and is one of three receivers with three touchdown grabs. The tight end position has been heavily utilized, with David Njoku and Austin Hooper combining for 726 yards and six touchdowns. Mark Andrews just put up a 10-136-2 line against the Packers last week so look for the Browns to utilize a similar attack. Cleveland’s pass rush was already short-handed without Jadeveon Clowney, and they may be with Myles Garrett, who is listed as questionable with a bad groin. The Browns have been a top-10 defense across the board with top-5 marks in total yards allowed and sacks, but they are in a tough spot against a top-tier offense with just four days to prepare.
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Third Time’s a Charm?
Green Bay has been to the last two NFC Championship games, and they look well on their way to earning a third berth if they can clean up a few items to round out the regular season. Rodgers is again in MVP form with 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Green Bay has committed the fewest turnovers in the league, and they are 3rd in time of possession without a dominant running game. The ground attack is capable with the duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon well over 1,200 combined rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Jones is second on the team with six receiving touchdowns as both backs have done damage as receivers out of the backfield. Davante Adams (96-1248-8) has been unguardable, and Marques Valdez-Scantling is handling the big plays at 17.1 yards per reception. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith have 13.5 sacks between them, and Green Bay holds the opposing QB to an 87.2 rating on average, good for 9th. The pass defense is also 9th in yards allowed per game, and big plays have come from nearly every member of the secondary, including Rasul Douglas, who has two pick-sixes and three total interceptions in just nine games.
Rodgers Unwraps a W
There have been stumbles and close calls along the way, but Green Bay has proven to be the best team in the NFC. Outside of a dud in Week 1, the Packers only loss with Aaron Rodgers at the helm was a 34-31 shootout in Minnesota. Cleveland doesn’t have the kind of offense to push Green Bay’s defense like Minnesota did, and the Browns are on the wrong side of the injury/preparation equation. Even with a bad little toe, Rodgers has been near-perfect over the last month, and he has Green Bay in line to push the 30-point mark again. Cleveland doesn’t have the playmaking firepower to keep up, and that is going to lead to a relatively easy cover for the home team. Baltimore’s late comeback last week was fueled by a relatively conservative approach by Matt LaFleur after Green Bay jumped out to a 14-point lead. Expect the Packers to stay aggressive in this one to avoid a similar finish, and Rodgers has another multi-TD game en route to a 31-20 Green Bay win.
Ted Walker’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Green Bay Packers minus the points. Be sure to check out our College Bowl Game Picks!