Cleveland Browns (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CLE -1/IND +1
Over/Under Total: 40.5
The Cleveland Browns face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in a battle of two teams looking for their first win of the season. Cleveland was gritty in a week one loss against the Steelers, but not so much this past week in a loss to the Ravens, 24-10. The Colts were hammered in week one and almost had a win at home last Sunday, before fading late and losing in overtime. Who can get in the win-column this week in Indy?
The Colts are really dealing with a lot of rotten luck, pun intended. This is simply not a team that can thrive without standout quarterback play and they are a shadow of what they would be with Luck behind center. What really makes it an awful situation is how the injury list grows longer and longer with key members on both sides of the ball banged-up or out for extended time. Still, despite all of that, they were up by ten against the favored Cardinals and in a great position to win. For them to come up short is just another troubling development in the 2017 Colts storyline.
After starting the season at 0-2 for the 4th straight time, the Colts look to be rolling with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. He is a good player, perhaps a bit too new to the Colts system to really take off, but not a bad back-up. After a solid start to the last game, the offense petered-out. Frank Gore had a touchdown, but they were unable to bring much out of aerial talent like TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Jack Doyle, and others. Its not a very exciting group and its hard to remember another team so dependent on a quarterback. With Luck, they have a chance to make something happen. Without him, theyre a meandering unit and among the worst in the league.
After blowing a 10-point lead in the last half of the 4th quarter at home to an Arizona team that has enough of their own issues, it didnt reflect well on the Indy defense. Giving up 46 points the previous week to the LA Rams wasnt much better. At least they were pretty good at home for most of the game against an Arizona offense that isnt exactly clicking right now. Guys like Hassan Ridgeway, Al Woods, and Nate Hairston got after the QB and rookie Malik Hooker had an interception. Theyre a group that could be better if given a little more support on the other side of the ball. Theyve been run a bit ragged through two games this season. In any event, losing at home to a team that is 2-25 in its last 27 games would be a demoralizing blow to absorb. They really need to beat the Browns.
Cleveland was good in week one, with various issues leading to them being less-viable against Baltimore last week. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer had to leave the game with migraines and had a rough day with three picks and a lost fumble. At the same time, there is something promising about the young rookie and its hard to really put a finger on it. He moves the offense pretty well and can use his legs nicely.
The Browns offense is coming off games against a pair of good defenses in the Steelers and Ravens, so this could be a spot to see some good things materialize. The line looks to be a good one, which can allow other pieces to come around. Helping Kizer in the ground game is Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. Aerially, they had a nice development on Sunday with Rashard Hopkins snagging 7 passes for nearly 100 yards. Tight end Seth DeValve was big with 61 yards, while Duke Johnson can be effective in the short-pass. First-round rookie tight end David Njoku caught his first TD pass on Sunday. Its just a very stripped-bare group, not made any better with WR Corey Coleman now out for extended time.
Giving up 21 to the Steelers and 24 to the Ravens with not much help coming from the offense isnt too bad for the Browns defense. The Ravens actually were outgained by the Browns on Sunday. They look to have an improved back-seven. Their new corner duo of Logan Ryan and Jamar Taylor could come around nicely, with nice safety play from Derrick Kindred and rookie Jabrill Peppers. Christian Kirksey has been nice in the middle and maybe theyll get a boost down the line when overall top draft pick Myles Garrett hits the field.
This is not an easy game to predict. It feels strange to say, but Cleveland might actually be the more-reliable football product right now. Indianapolis, in this current manifestation, is wholly undependable. The Browns at least have a plan, while the Colts seem to be more in winging-it mode. Again, taking a team that has won so seldom recently as a road favorite isnt the easiest thing to do, but I see the Browns getting the job done in week three.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Cleveland Browns minus 1 point. Where are you betting this game? Bet it for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% welcome bonus offered to new players at Bovada Sportsbook