After a 3 game win streak the Falcons travel to Cleveland as 6 point favorites to play the Browns. The Browns are playing their second game since firing their coach and are extremely undervalued here. Maybe it is public perception of the Falcons being a good team and finally putting together a complete game last week. Combine that with the Browns always losing but I think they shock a lot of people here. Not me because I don’t think the Falcons are very good but I think the Browns should easily cover this game.
Going into last week, the narrative around the Falcons was that they were 1-8 in their last 9 games on grass. After winning easily it would seem they have put those concerns in the past. I still think playing outdoors on grass will be an issue. Also the Browns match up well with the Falcons. Their pass defense is ranked 2nd compared to Atlantas pass offense ranking 4th. The Browns have faced the 2nd hardest schedule of opposing offenses while the Falcons have faced the 3rd easiest schedule of opposing defenses. The Browns are now ranked 11th in overall defensive efficiency. Going into last week’s game against the Chiefs number 1 offense they were ranked 3rd. Rookie cornerback Denzel Ward was injured in that game but should be playing this week which is huge for the Browns secondary. The Falcons offense is ranked 6th in overall efficiency and there is a huge drop off from number 1 to number 6. The Browns defense should be back in the top 10 after this week.
On the other side of the ball the stats show major incompetence on both teams. The Browns offense is ranked 29th in overall efficiency (30th passing, 21st rushing) and the Falcons defense is ranked 30th in overall efficiency (28th passing, 31st rushing). The Browns last game was their first with their new offensive coordinator and they looked better than they had. They were able to keep the game close with the Chiefs in the first half with a 21-15 score going into halftime. The Chiefs got the ball to start the second half and scored another touchdown to make the game 28-15. The following Browns drive resulted in a punt block which resulted in another Chiefs TD and the score was quickly 34-14. I think the Browns will have a better grasp of their new offense after a second week of practice. The Falcons defense will be expecting a boost from newly signed pass-rusher Bruce Irvin. Despite getting more lucrative offers to go elsewhere he decided on the Falcons because Atlanta is his hometown. He’s not playing at home this week, he is playing in Cleveland. I don’t think he will be much of a factor despite the clip going around of his 1 sack that he made on Baker earlier this year as a member of the Raiders. I see the Browns offense having success this week.
This is my favorite time to bet on a team. Once all hope is lost and they are playing a team that is red hot. Bookmakers are overcompensating for the public sides and it is the perfect time to get an easy win with an underdog. I see the Browns getting an early lead and nursing it to the finish line.
Cleveland Browns +6