New Orleans Saints (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date and Time:Sunday, September 14, 1:00pm EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, OH
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NOR -6.5/CLE +6.5
Over/Under Total: 48
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Sunday, September 14, the New Orleans Saints will travel to Cleveland to take on the 0-1 Browns. New Orleans is a heavy road favorite at 6.5 points and the total points are set at 48. Both teams enter this contest at 0-1. The Browns are just trying to find their identity, while the New Orleans Saints feel they are primed for a Super Bowl run in 2014. This is a huge game for both teams…no one wants to start the NFL season 0-2, especially if you have dreams of a Lombardi Trophy. The “eye test” would tell the casual NFL fan that the Saints march in, win by 14, and go home. Trust me, I was once that casual fan who would lose lots of money on games I thought were a “gimmie.” 6.5 points is a lot for a road team in the NFL so let us take a closer look at this game and see who is the smarter wager.
“We Dat” was the chant throughout the Georgia Dome last Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons upset the New Orleans Saints in overtime. The Saints stormed out to a 20-3 lead with under two minutes to go before halftime, and at that moment, the Falcons offense began clicking. The 2nd half was a back and forth shootout that ended with Atlanta getting the 37-34 win. The Saints offense was as good as advertised. Drew Brees passed for 333 yards while the running game totaled 139 yards on the ground. The defense let the Saints down big time in this one. Last season New Orleans boasted a top five defense, and they were claiming to be just as good if not better than 2013 on that side of the ball. Well after just one week, no team in the league has given up more passing yards than the New Orleans Saints. Not only that, they also gave up over 120 yards on the ground as well. Of course, they were playing the Atlanta Falcons, who will be a good offense all season, but at some point the defense has to take responsibility for their performance. I do believe we will see much better defensive numbers for the Saints in Cleveland, but in the NFL, nothing can be taken for granted. The key to the Saints getting their first win of 2014, and covering this 6.5 spread is to play well on both sides of the ball. We know they are going to score, they always do, but defense must be played. If they can hold Hoyer and the Browns under 20, I see this being an easy Saints win and cover.
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The Cleveland Browns come into this game at 0-1, but they showed some pride taking the Steelers down to the wire in a game they once trailed by three touchdowns. Brian Hoyer played well enough to keep the Browns in the game, throwing for a little over 200 yards, but it was the Cleveland running game that shined on the offensive side of the ball. Ben Tate got injured after just 6 carries, but Terrence West came in and gained 100 yards averaging a little over 6 yards a carry. All offseason long we heard about Johnny Manziel and when and if he would get the starting job. It is looking more and more like the coaches and players are behind Hoyer and he is the leader of this team for now. If he can get a win over the heavily favored Saints, I think he will be even more revered in Cleveland. The key is simple…play defense. The Falcons made just enough plays to beat the Saints, but we also saw that if you do not put pressure on Brees, then he can pick you apart. The Browns defensive line MUST GET PRESSURE. That is the only way they win or keep it close.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: A home dog of 6.5 points in the NFL is disrespect…trust me, that is how Cleveland is looking at this. Of course, anyone in their right mind would think New Orleans would be an angry team and come in and beat the brakes off the Browns. However, I have seen this too many times before. Sometimes the NFL just doesn’t make sense. I also remember about a three or four game run last year where I lost my rear end betting against the Browns..It was insane! I kinda see that happening this weekend. Something tells me the 6.5 points looks too good to be true. I, along with many others, would predict this game to end like 34-14 Saints, or 27-16 Saints…something like that. And it is attitude like that, that gets me burned every time. I also did a little digging, and it seems that 65% or more of the Vegas action is on the Saints. That is a lot of action on such a huge road favorite. I am going to go against the eye test, and go way against the public here. I think Cleveland not only covers this spread, but they very well may upset the Saints. Look for a 24-21 final. PICK THE CLEVELAND BROWNS +6.5 POINTS. ALSO BET UNDER THE POSTED TOTAL OF 48 POINTS.