One of our favorite matchups this week comes with the Washington Football Team (1-1) traveling to the Cleveland Browns (1-1) (1pm ET Sunday live on Fox).
Washington is coming off a tough loss to the surging Cardinals while the Browns got in the win column last week versus the Bengals. Browns -6pts was one of the more disappointing backdoor covers of the week as Cincinnati scored a touchdown with 43 seconds left to lose by five. As the old adage goes: “Good teams win, great teams cover.” Washington has opened as seven-point road dogs at the USA online oddsmakers, with a current total of over/under 44 points.
Key Injuries to Watch
Both teams have a few key injuries to watch throughout the week, but Washington appears to be the slightly healthier unit. The biggest loss for Washington was starting guard Brandon Scherff who got hurt versus Arizona. The Pro Bowl guard is reportedly expected to miss 3-5 weeks with a knee injury. This is a massive blow for a relatively weak offensive line.
One name to keep an eye on is Washington corner, Kendall Fuller. The starting corner and one of the best defensive backs on the team missed week two with a knee injury, but the team is hopeful to have him back this week.
The Browns have several defensive players listed as questionable. Defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Adrian Clayborn, starting linebacker Mack Wilson, and starting corner Greedy Williams. Vernon was inactive for last Thursday’s game and Clayborn went down during the game and did not return.
Both Williams and Wilson participated in practice on Monday. Wilson could make his first start of the season depending how his knee responds to a full week of practicing. Pro Bowl defensive end Vernon is arguably one of the most important of the injuries and will be a name to monitor closely. Vernon missed week two (abdomen) after recording two tackles against the Ravens in week one.
Washington Football Team and Cleveland Browns have both struggled quite a bit on the defensive side of the ball despite their 1-1 records. Washington has given up 23.5 points per game through two weeks and the Browns have given up 34 points per game. This ranks them 15th and 20th respectively in the NFL in points allowed per game. I expect this trend to continue as both offenses have enough weapons to score fairly well. The Washington offense has averaged 21 points per game and Cleveland has averaged 20.5 points per game. Cleveland went up against the Ravens, which is arguably the best defense in the league. I think both of these averages will come up after strong week three performances against average defensive units.
Cleveland lines up well against a less than stellar Washington secondary. Kendall Fuller is a potentially huge lift to the unit, but Cleveland has a stable of stars to give them fits. Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt should be a tough task to handle. Washington struggled mightily against the Cardinals last week with arguably less explosive weapons than the Browns. Arizona gained 286 yards through the air and Kyler Murray added 67 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Expect the Browns to move the ball well through the air.
Washington doesn’t have nearly the amount of offensive weapons but the Browns secondary has been so bad through two weeks and arguably the worse of the two. If second year quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, can stay composed and replicate his performance against the Eagles in week one they will move the ball through the air with ease.
The Browns rank 27th in the league in passing yards against per game with 277.5 yards allowed. They gave up 316 yards and three touchdowns to rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. The Browns lost second round pick and projected key member of the secondary, Grant Delpit, to a torn Achilles in August. The secondary has been arguably the biggest disappointment this season after getting torched the first two weeks.
Washington should be able to move the ball through the air with speedster Terry McLaurin, tight end Logan Thomas, and rookie running back Atonio Gibson. These may not be household names but they are certainly capable of putting up some points against this Browns defense.
McLaurin had an impressive performance last week despite being shadowed by the Cardinals’ best corner Patrick Peterson for much of the game. McLaurin had seven receptions, 125 yards, and one touchdown in the 30-15 loss. Expect a repeat performance against the lackluster secondary. Terry should be one of the more difficult matchups for the Browns and one of the more exciting for us to watch.
Read on for our Washington at Cleveland Browns predictions and concluding betting picks.
Last Week: Week two of the NFL season provided us with two of the more exciting games of the year thus far. The Cowboys stormed back from a 20-point deficit to the Falcons. It took an improbable onside kick and a last second field goal for them to win a nail biter 40-39. I truly feel for anyone who had bet the Falcons on the moneyline. USAbetting gave out the over (of 53.5 points) in our preview of this game, which covered easily. The Chiefs were able to beat the Chargers in overtime off a 58-yard field goal by Harrison Butker. We then saw Cam Newton and New England stopped on the final play of the game to lose 35-30 to Seattle (the spread was Seahawks -4.5). Here’s to hoping week three can be equally as exciting.
Our Preview’s Washington at Cleveland Browns Predictions & Picks Final Conclusion
With several key defensive players questionable and question marks even with them on the field, this game looks to be a higher scoring affair. The total of 44 points feels too low for two offenses with several pass catching weapons. Expect each team to air it out with the Washington front seven able to slow down a strong Browns’ rushing attack.
Kareem Hunt out of the backfield will provide a significant mismatch for any of the linebackers. I think this has 28-24 Cleveland written all over it, which would comfortably cover the over and also make Washington at +7pts a play. That feels a bit too high for a team that battled back and beat an arguably better Eagles team. The Browns ultimately struggled to put away the Bengals last week and are currently 0-2 against the spread. So our WFT vs Browns predictions are: