Oakland Raiders (5-9 7-7 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (3-11 8-6 ATS), Week 16 NFL, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, OH 1 PM EST Sunday December 27, 2009 on CBS
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Raiders +3.5 / Browns -3.5
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In a match up of two of the weaker teams in the league the Cleveland Browns host the Oakland Raiders. OK, so both of these teams have struggled this season, but each is coming off a win and there are some signs of life for each team. The Browns blew up for 41 points in their last game and football guru Mike Holmgren was recently brought on to be the president of the team. Still, the Browns have only 3 wins this seasons and are weak on both sides of the ball.
The Raiders are coming off a solid win over the Denver Broncos in their last game and they have won 3 of their last 5 games. The QB situation is Oakland is a mess, as JaMarcus Russell, who played terrible causing him to be benched, may start in this game because of injuries to the backups. Russell has the worst QB rating in the league and he only has 3 TD as opposed to 10 INT’s.
Man, what a match up! Cleveland ranks 31st in the league on both offense and defense and Oakland has the league’s last ranked offense and 27th ranked defense.
This season the Browns are 1-5 at home and the Raiders are 3-4 on the road.
In their last game the Browns won a shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs 41-34. Even though the Chiefs dominated the passing game the Browns dominated on the ground with 353 yards rushing and KR Joshua Cribbs ran back 2 kicks for TD’s. The Browns did have more turnovers in the game (2 to 1), but they really won the time of possession battle having the ball for 10 more minutes than the Chiefs did. The Browns were underdogs by 2.5 points so they covered the spread and Over bettors are happy since the 38.5 total was surpassed big time.
The Raiders beat the Denver Broncos in their last game in dramatic fashion with a 10-yard TD pass for a TD with only 35 seconds left. In the game the Broncos had more passing yards, but Oakland dominated the ground game out-gaining the Broncos 241 yards to 80 yards. Even though the Raiders won they were the same old Raiders with 9 penalties for 62 yards and they committed 2 turnovers. The Raiders were underdogs by 14 points so they obviously covered the spread and the Over was the good call, as the posted total was 37.
Browns’ RB Jerome Harrison rushed for a team record 286 yards in the won over the Chiefs and he will have another big game against a Raiders’ run defense that ranks 30th in the league giving up an average of 148.9 rushing yards per game.
You could say the same for Raiders’ RB Michael Bush, who had 133 rushing yards last week and will have a good game against a Browns’ run D that is giving up just under 150 yards per game on the ground.
Turnovers may be key in this game and this season Cleveland ranks last in the AFC in giveaway / take away (-14) and Oakland is 2nd to last (-9). However, the Raiders will be playing in the cold and there is a good chance of rain, so they will cough up the ball a few times.
Derek Anderson will take over at QB for the Browns after Brady Quinn is out with a foot injury. Anderson will be keen to put up big numbers to help him retain the starting job next season. He will do just that in this game against a mediocre, at best, Oakland secondary.
Whoever is the QB of the Raiders should have a good game since the Browns secondary is giving up an average of 244.1 passing yards per game.
Jason’s Pick: Both of these teams are not good, but the winner will be on a 2-game win streak, which is HUGE. OK, maybe not huge, but big for these teams. Neither team features a good offense or defense, but I think that the Browns will kill the Raiders on the ground and cause a few turnovers, which I think is the key to this game. Look for the Browns to play a good game and for them to win and barely cover the spread.