Cleveland Browns (3-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date and Time: Sunday, October 20, 4:25pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field
by Evergreen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CLE +10/GB -10
Over/Under Total: 46
It is not quite playoff push time yet in the NFL but it is certainly time
to separate the contenders from the pretenders as many teams are hovering
around the .500 mark. The Cleveland Browns are a surprise
at 3-3 and they head North to take on the Green Bay Packers this weekend. A
win will be a tall order for the Browns but the 3-2 Packers havent quite
been as dominant as in years past and are really feeling the bite of the
Green Bay opened up as 11 point favorites but 55% of the early action went Clevelands way and the online sportsbooks have trimmed the line to 10. That point spread has seen nearly 50/50 betting since so dont look for any more changes there and the over/under total looks to be set at 46.
The sky was falling in Cleveland after a trade sent Trent Richardson to Indy but the Browns reeled off three straight wins before falling to Detroit last weekend. Richardsons departure was seen as an organization throwing in the towel but the Browns have found some playmakers in the form of TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon to get some points on the board and let an underrated but very good defense earn those Ws. Clevelands defense is top-10 in the yardage allowed stats and enters the week 11th in points allowed, giving up 20.8 on average. Green Bay is certainly the toughest all around opponent they will have faced but the Browns have proved they will not be doormats.
Statistically, the Green Bay offense is elite with Rodgers and Co. racking up the yards through the air and the emergence of a solid running game behind rookie Eddie Lacy. The Pack is top-5 across the offensive stat categories but they have been dealt a major blow with the loss of standout WR Randall Cobb. Cobb was submarined during the Baltimore game and has been placed on the IR (designated to return) with a broken leg. James Jones suffered a PCL strain and shin bruise in that game as well, leaving just Jordy Nelson as a proven pass catcher for this weekend. Jarrett Boykin will be the primary replacement but the young receiver has just one catch in 2013 and looks to be out of sync with Rodgers at the moment. Jermichael Finley needs to step up to take some of the defensive attention away from Nelson and Jake Stoneburner has been called to action to allow Finley to line up wide.
The Green Bay defense is hurting as well. Nick Perry is out indefinitely with a broken foot and that leaves an even wider gap in the linebacking crew as Perry was replacing the injured Clay Matthews. The 3-4 scheme may need to be simplified with all of the LB injuries and the cracks are starting to show as Green Bay is allowing almost 300 yards through the air and are outside the top-15 in total yards and points per game allowed.
Aaron Rodgers is still going to find a way to get the ball moving no matter who is on the field but the Packers have had some issues putting the ball in the endzone and may do so again against the 8th best pass defense of Cleveland. The Browns have five interceptions and nineteen sacks on the season and will look to attack a Green Bay offensive line that has been suspect at times.
The Packers have won their two home games by an average of 15.5 points so that certainly leads one to think they can cover the double digit spread. Those wins, however, were against an immobile version of RGIII in week two and the Lions without Calvin Johnson so there are some hidden helpers there that led the scores to be what they were. If you read the Packers previews often, you know my feelings about how Green Bay covers tight ends over the middle. They dont. Even the aged Dallas Clark burned them for a touchdown up the seam last week so Jordan Cameron may prove unstoppable if covered by a linebacker. Brandon Weeden is playing better, not much better, but he should find some matchups to exploit and be able to not only move the ball but score. I like the Packers to get the straight up win at home and the over but I think Cleveland is the better ATS play here as they should be very competitive with Green Bay dealing with injuries across the board. Green Bay 27 Cleveland 21
Evergreens Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting the Cleveland Browns plus the points.