Atlanta Falcons (4-4) vs Cleveland Browns (2-6-1)
NFL: Sunday, November 11 at 1 pm ET (First Energy Stadium)
Odds: Falcons -4, O/U: 50.5
Falcons vs Browns NFL Preview, Pick and Odds
The Atlanta Falcons are starting to heat up at the right time. Currently on 3 game win streak after struggling with a 1-4 start. The Falcons offensively have been clicking the the whole season averaging 28.5 points-per-game that is 8th in the league. Matt Ryan along with his many weapons led by Julio Jones are getting in a groove that is reminding most of their 2016 Super Bowl run. Julio Jones just caught his first touchdown last week against a stout Redskins defense and Calvin Ridley is proving to be a great compliment to Julio. Even with Devonta Freeman missing most of the season with a nagging foot injury, the dual-threat ability of Tevin Coleman has been leading the backfield.This Falcons offense doesn’t have major holes. The early season struggles were more related to their red zone deficiencies which seem to have been corrected.
On the other hand, their biggest problem for this team is injuries with MLB Deion Jones going down with a broken foot, but should be coming back soon. Both of their safeties are out, SS Keanu Neal out for the season with a torn ACL and FS Ricardo Allen is done with an Achilles. Injuries have affected their defense the most because those players are key into their 4-3 defensive scheme especially middle linebacker which is the most important position in that system. Their defense was lacking without him earlier in the season but currently they are thriving holding their past two opponents to 20 points or less.
After starting after the season strong, the Browns have hit a wall. They are on a 4 game losing streak with three out of the four being blowouts. They were a field goal kicker away from being 4-0. But now the Browns have let go of the reins. At the beginning of the season, the defense was one of the top in the league creating pressure from the defensive line and the secondary was playing as well as they good. But currently, they are the 30th ranked total defense being ranked 27th in pass defense and 29th in rush defense.
The offense had an initial spark by Baker Mayfield when he was inserted in the third game of the season. The first couple starts of the Mayfield era were a success leading to an offensive explosion in a loss to the Raiders and winning against the Ravens a top 5 defense. The Browns have played a pretty hard schedule since then playing the Chiefs, Steelers and the Chargers. The schedule doesn’t get any easier so Mayfield will have to step up to the challenge with a less-talented receiving corp starting against a Falcons defense that will give him opportunities to make big plays.
Pick: Falcons -4
The Falcons can’t be stopped right now. They gashed a stout defense in the Redskins who are a top 10 defense. The Browns defense will have trouble stopping Tevin Coleman on Sunday. This game will not be close. Falcons 34-20.