It’s gotten to the point where it looks like the New England Patriots can pretty much do whatever they want. And it’s because of a defense that has absolutely stopped opponents cold. They’re undefeated, and once again atop the AFC East, although they are getting heat from the Buffalo Bills.
The Cleveland Browns are the kind of team that could conceivably give anyone a hard time if they are on their game. But they are also flawed enough to be coming into Sunday’s proceedings with a 2-4 record. So what will happen?
That gets explored starting at 4:25 PM ET at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. And if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can watch the game on CBS and place wagers in real time with Live Betting Ultra.
What happened to the Browns?
Cleveland was expected to make a big leap, and were a “fashionable” pick to win the AFC North. Things started to go awry in the opener, as Baker Mayfield got picked off three times. The result was a 43-13 Tennessee victory.
Mayfield is a swash-buckling type, so he’ll make some plays but also give up the ball from time to time. And it looks as if he is being victimized by the sophomore jinx, as he has just five TD passes and a league-leading eleven interceptions.
Nick Chubb has very nice numbers (607 rushing yards, 5.3 ypc). But he may be getting overworked. Soon Kareem Hunt should be off suspension, so he could help. And the Jarvis Landry-Odell Beckham duo has combined for 54 receptions, which is a good thing.
Defensively, the Browns have suffered somewhat from injuries in the secondary. In fact, for one game against the high-powered Los Angeles Rams, they were missing all four starters. And it was a badge of honor that they hung in so well and allowed just 20 points. Myles Garrett has nine sacks, but the defensive front as a whole has had its difficulties against the run, allowing five yards a carry. They don’t stuff other teams much. And they have a lot of problems when opposing backs get into the secondary.
Here are the numbers……….
In the NFL betting odds available on this game (and subject to change, of course), the Pats are laying a heavy number:
New England Patriots vs. Cleveland Browns NFL Week 8 Odds
|Browns||+10½ (-110)||43 (-115)||+397|
|Patriots||-10½ (-110)||43 (-105)||-520|
And remember, if you sign up with BetAnySports and go into the sportsbook, you can get “reduced juice” for a better price than the -110 you see here!
This New England defense…..
It would be hard not to get incredibly enthusiastic about this Patriots stop unit. Not only do they lead the NFL with only 16.7 yards allowed per drive. But they also force more turnovers than anyone else. And this includes 18 interceptions as they’ve allowed just ONE touchdown pass. They made Sam Darnold “see ghosts” last Monday night (in his own words) in the 33-0 shutout of the Jets.
They have now yielded just 4.3 yards per pass attempt. And that has contributed to the fact that they have gotten their opponents to punt the ball 52% of the time. They are the NFL’s best defense in the red zone.
With the great cornerback Stephen Gilmore, who may be fashioning a case for himself as defensive player of the year, they may have the guy who can minimize the effect of Beckham. But Bill Belichick’s approach has usually been to put his team’s best cornerback on the other team’s #2 receiver and then double-team the #1 guy. Let’s see if that happens here. Take note that the Browns have only two players outside of the running back spot with more than nine catches.
When you have the most opportunistic secondary in the league against the quarterback who has thrown the most INT’s, there exists a recipe for disaster. And the Browns would be on the receiving end of such a disaster. Fundamentals don’t favor them.
The Pats placed Josh Gordon on injured reserve and traded for Mohamed Sanu (with Atlanta). So the beat goes on with the plug-and-play assets for Tom Brady, a 66% passer. New England can create some distance.
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