San Diego Chargers(3-3SU,3-3ATS) vs.Cleveland Browns(1-6SU, 3-3-1ATS)
Date/Time:October28th, 1:00PM EST
Where:Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
byJeffHochman,Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: SD-1/CLE+1
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The San Diego Chargers will try to get back on trackwhen they face thestrugglingCleveland Browns on Sunday. No team has more losses than the Browns at this point of the season. They have scored 147 points and have allowed 180. Cleveland is 1-6 ITS (in the stats) and have allowed five teams to gain season high yardageagainstthem. Last week, the Colts defeated the Browns 17-13 as 1-point home favorites. Cleveland had a great to chance to go ahead late, but a dropped pass near the goal line did them in. The Chargers arecomingoff a 35-24loss to the Broncos on 10-15-12, as 1-point home chalk. SanDiego was out-stattedby 59 yards and is now 2-4 ITS this season.
The biggest problem for the Browns right now is that teams are loading the box and not respecting the outsidereceiversin crunch time. Greg Little is a nice piece and has thepotentialto be a player that teams must game plan for. Cleveland is averaging 245 passing yards per game butthat stat is very misleading. Cleveland racks up most of their passing yardswhen they are way behind in the game.Defenses have no fear against-the-runwhen playing the Browns right now. They can’t run and they can’t stop the run.The Browns average 79.1 rushing yards per gamewhile allowing teams to rush for 133.7 per game. That is like the worst combo in the NFL when trying to win games. The Chargers are ranked No. 1 against the run allowing 71.2 yards per game but have struggled against the pass ranking 25th. TrentRichardson is averaging 3.4yardsper rush and has 5 total touchdowns in his rookie year but has a rib issue. There is a strongpossibilityhe will NOT play in this game and might be shutdown for three weeks. He also leads the team in receiving so the Browns really need him to suit up.
I see this as apotentialhigh-scoringaffair. BrandonWeedenhas thrown for 2,080 yards while completing just 55.5% of his passes. Philip Rivers is completing 68.2% of his throws and has a solid 81.7 quarterback rating.I do thinkboth teamswill have some success through the airas the Chargers and Browns are twoofthe worst teams when defending the pass. The Chargers will have two weeks to prepare for this game and will be the healthier of the two teams. Ryan Mathews should have a huge dayagainstaweek Browns rundefense, so look for the Browns to stack the box and try to stop him. If that happens, I would expectPhilip Rivers to find the one-on-onematchupshe loves. The Browns will need to contain Antonio Gates as he loves playing against them. Three years ago, Gates racked up 167 yards while Philip Rivers threw for373 in the Chargers win and cover. Brady Quinn started for the Browns and had oneof his best games throwingfor 271 yards and three touchdowns.
The eye test tells me the Chargers have more talent and areclearly the better team. The stats also prove that as the Chargers will bring in the better offense and defense. The Browns are allowing 410.6 yards against while the Chargers do a better job at 339.3 yards against. I do think Cleveland has better special teams and offensive line. Philip Rivers has struggled in the red-zone due in part to a shaky offensive line. The line is having trouble picking up theblitz. I would guessNorvTurner and company had lots of time duringtheirBYE week to work on it. Speaking of Turner, much has been made about his statement of a shift in offensive strategy. This game marks the first time San Diego will implementNorvTurner’s new game of taking fewer shots down field, opting instead for safer, shorter throws to decrease turnovers. Philip Rivers also vowed he would play a safer brand of ball. Look for the Chargers to preach ball security throughout this game. Don’t read too much into that. The Chargers will still take some shots deep but should be a lot smarter about it.
Check this statout. The San Diego Chargers are 13-1SUand 12-2 ATS in games after battling the Denver Broncos. San Diego is also 13-5SUand 13-5 ATS as road favorites of 3 points or less.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Spread:San Diego Chargers -1 & Over 44.
I like the fact the Chargers have more talent and have two weeks to prepare for a team without many weapons. Look for a high-scoring game as both teams do not have a shut-down defense.
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