Seattle Seahawks (2-3 SU 3-2 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (2-3 SU 1-3-1 ATS) Week 7 NFL Football, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, OH, 1 PM ET Sunday October 23, 2011 on FOX
by Jason Green, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Sea +3/CLE -3
Over/Under Total: 40.5
The Seahawks do not rank in the top 25 in the league in passing or rushing yards per game, but last week they had a bye and in their previous week shocked the Giants in the Big Apple scoring 36 points in a win. In that game QB Charlie Whitehurst came in for an injured Tarvaris Jackson and may get the start in this game. Whoever starts under center will be facing a solid Cleveland pass defense that ranks 4th in the league.
The Browns have lost 2 in a row and are only 2-3 and things continue to look worse, as lead RB Peyton Hillis, who has struggled this season, may be out of this non-conference game due to an injury. This season was supposed to be a tryout for QB Colt McCoy to show if he is the future in Cleveland and he has looked decent in the past couple of weeks with 565 passing yards with 3 TD and only 1 INT.
2 weeks back the Seahawks beat the New York Giants 36-25 while the Browns lost to the Oakland Raiders 24-17.
McCoy will carry the offense this week with Hillis likely out and that is not a bad thing since the Seattle pass defense ranks 23rd in the league. The Seahawks picked off Eli Manning 3 times in the Giants’ win even though they gave up a ton of passing yards. McCoy is staying away from the INT this season and he will play well move the chains through the air.
Another reason why McCoy will have a good game is that the Seattle pass rush is one of the worst in the league and they only have 8 sacks through 5 games. Look for the Browns’ 2 leading WR’s of Mohamed Massaquoi and Benjamin Watson to run short routes and each have good games. Seattle’s secondary recently took another blow, as the team placed starting CB Marcus Trufant on IR with a back injury.
With Hillis out backup RB Montario Hardesty will get most of the carries and do not look to improve on his 3.6 yards per carry average against a Seattle run defense that ranks 7th in the league.
Whitehurst or Jackson, Jackson or Whitehurst? Whitehurst led the Seahawks to a win over the Giants, but Jackson is Seattle’s 2nd leading rusher and the Browns only rank 27th in the league defending the run. The Seahawks will not get a lot of yards in the air, but Marshawn Lynch may have his best game of the season facing a Cleveland run defense that gave up 151 rushing yards last week.
Last week the Browns were killed in time of possession and that will not happen in this game, as even though they will not run the ball well McCoy will make many short and accurate passes so their defense will not have to stay on the field for most of the game.
Seattle is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog of 0.5-3 points, 6-20 ATS in their last 26 games as a road underdog, and have an Over record of 13-3 in their last 16 games.
Cleveland is 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games, 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall, and they have an Over record of 6-2 in their last 8 home games.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This should be a close game. Whitehurst has been named the starter and the team has been really receptive to the change. I like Seattle to steal a straight up win on the road this week.
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