Saturday NFL football returns as the Cleveland Browns (5-7-1) travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High to take on the Denver Broncos (6-7). For the Browns, they have been playing surprisingly well lately, going 3-1 overall since Hue Jackson was fired as head coach. Still, they have been good on the road for years (let’s be honest, they haven’t been good for years) so a road trip to Denver won’t be easy.
For the Broncos, they have played pretty inconsistently all season long. Nothing epitomizes that more than the fact they had won 3 games in a row prior to laying an egg against a dreadful San Francisco 49ers team last week, 20-14. With improved play out of the Browns, they could be in trouble if they have the same type of effort this week as they did last week. The two teams will square off Saturday with a 8:20 pm ET kickoff.
The point spread comes in with the Denver Broncos being 2.5-point favorites at home. The over/under on total points scored is set at 45.5 points.
By The Numbers
On the defensive side, neither of these teams have been particularly good at slowing down opposing offenses. In terms of average total yards per game, the Broncos rank 24th, giving up 383.4 yards per game on average to opposing offenses. The Browns are even worse at 31st, giving up 411.2 yards per game. Despite the yards given up, the Broncos seem to be a bend not break team as they rank 9th in points given up to opponents (allowing 21.7 points per game). Cleveland comes in at 24th, allowing 25.5 points per game.
Offensively, these two teams are both pretty similar. The Browns are gaining an average of 359.4 yards per game while the Broncos are just behind them at 358.6. Points is pretty much the same story as the Browns are averaging 22.5 points per game while the Broncos are scoring 22.3 points per game.
Browns Look To Keep Rolling
The Cleveland Browns have been the laughing stock of the NFL, but that might soon be changing. The Browns have been playing some inspired football since the coaching change and sit at third in the AFC North. In theory, they could still finish over .500, thanks to their one tie. The Browns are led under center by rookie Baker Mayfield. On the season, he has thrown for 2,877 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has also rushed for 109 yards on 29 carries.
His leading receivers this season have been Jarvis Landry and David Njoku. Landry has gone for 790 yards and 3 touchdowns on 69 receptions while Njoku has 474 yards and 3 touchdowns on 47 receptions. In the backfield, the Browns are led by Nick Chubb. This season he has rushed for 760 yards and 8 touchdowns on 144 carries. Impressive given that he was behind Carlos Hyde on the depth chart for the first several games of the season.
Defensively, the Browns are led by Damarious Randall (67 tackles and 4 interceptions), Myles Garrett (12.5 sacks), and Denzel Ward (3 interceptions).
Broncos Looking To Win At Home
Still clinging onto the chance of a postseason berth, the Denver Broncos will look to Case Keenum to lead them under center. On the season, he has thrown for 3,139 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Unfortunately for Keenum, he has lost his two best receivers in Demaryius Thomas (traded to Houston) and Emmanuel Sanders (torn Achilles). As a result, he will be working with a wide receiving core that is led by Courtland Sutton, who has 572 yards and 3 touchdowns.
On the ground, the Broncos are led by Phillip Lindsay. This season he has 967 yards and 9 touchdowns on 168 carries. He also has 210 yards receiving and a touchdown on 29 catches.
Defensively, the Broncos are led by Todd Davis (72 tackles), Von Miller (13.5 sacks), Bradley Chubb (12 sacks) and both Justin Simmons and Chris Harris (3 interceptions apiece).
Don’t Love Either Team, But Rolling With Browns
This one is a pretty tough one to choose. The Broncos have a better defense overall but the Browns offense has been shining brighter as of late. If the Browns offensive line struggles, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb might feast on Baker Mayfield, but I actually like the Browns in this one. They have been rolling as of late, have been playing more inspired football and are getting spotted a couple points in what I anticipate is a low-scoring affair. For my money, I am taking the Browns +2.5.