The Browns hope Josh Gordon can help them get their first win of the year.
The Cleveland Browns head into the final stretch of the NFL season staring down a potential 0-16 record. Getting their first win of the year won’t get any easier this week when they travel across the country to face the Los Angeles Chargers, who have won five of seven. Can the Browns surprise – or at least cover – as a two-touchdown underdog on the NFL odds board?
Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers
NFL Point Spread: Chargers -13.5 Date: Sunday December 3rd, 2017 – 4:05 PM ET Location: StubHub Center, Carson, California
Point Spread And Betting Analysis
The Browns have been nearly as bad against the spread as they have been straight up with an NFL-worst 2-9-0 record ATS this season. They are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven as a dog of 10 points or more. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has actually exceeded expectations based on the numbers with a 6-4-0 record against the spread this season. It’s been a long time since they were favored by this kind of number as it hasn’t happened in the last three seasons. They have covered just eight of their last 21 as a favorite of 10 points or more.
The one bit of good news for Browns fans this week is the return of wide receiver Josh Gordon, who will play his first regular season game since the 2014 season. That should give a boost to DeShone Kizer and a pass offense that ranks last in scoring offense with an average of 15.1 points per game. The lack of a consistent ground game hasn’t helped Cleveland’s rookie quarterback. Missing veteran left tackle Joe Thomas has hampered the team’s attempts to move the ball on the ground. They could get exposed this week versus the pass rush duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who are two of the best in the business.
The good news for the Browns is that the Chargers rank dead-last in rushing yards per game, giving up a league-high 133.5. If the Browns can run the ball and take pressure off Kizer, they could push for a win.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are red hot right now. They’ve won five of seven and are coming off their best performance of the season in Dallas. On top of that, they’ve had 10 days to prepare for this game. While it had seemed like their season was a lost cause, they are now just one game out of a playoff spot. That should motivate them even more so this weekend.
Ingram and Bosa have combined for 19 sacks, which is the most in the NFL by any defensive end tandem this season. They should be licking their chops at facing the turnover-prone Kizer. And while their run defense is a weak spot, they rank sixth in the NFL in points per game at 18.4.
The offense has come alive with Philip Rivers leading an attack that ranks fourth in the NFL with an average of 263.9 points per game this season. Rivers is coming off his best performance of the season after torching the Dallas Cowboys for 434 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-6 win on Thanksgiving Thursday. If he’s focused in this one, this should be a breeze as the Browns haven’t stopped anyone this season. Three of Cleveland’s last four opponents have scored 30 or more and as long as the Chargers aren’t half asleep, they’ll top that number too.
Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers Prediction:
Chargers 35, Browns 10