The Browns could very well be 5-0 right now, with two losses and a draw decided by three points or less. A win in this spot would start to move them into the playoff conversation, believe it or not.
The Cleveland Browns made a statement with a 12-9 win over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. That victory over a tough division rival sent a message to the rest of the AFC that the Browns aren’t going to be the doormats of the NFL any longer. Cleveland will look to build on that performance when they host the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Los Angeles is 9-3 straight up in its last 12 games dating back to last season. The Chargers followed up a 29-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers that was a lot closer than most expected to be with a 26-10 over the Oakland Raiders that made it clear this is a capable playoff team. However, Los Angeles has struggled to cover the number this season with a 2-3 record against the spread.
The Browns are 5-1 against the spread in their last six contests dating back to last season. Cleveland has turned a number of heads with a 4-1 ATS record this season including a perfect record at home. The Browns have won the last five meetings between these teams. Cleveland will be a slight underdog when they take the field against the Chargers this Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers will dedicate this week’s contest to the memory of team owner Alex Spanos, who passed away on Tuesday. The Los Angeles offence has been on cruise control so far this season but that tends to mean they either beat teams like Oakland, San Francisco and Buffalo, or they play half asleep and sloppy, and get worked by the better teams in the league. Phillip Rivers has thrown for 1,495 yards and 13 touchdowns with just two interceptions this season. However, he’ll need the running game going this week with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to get the job done on the road.
Gordon has averaged 4.6 yards per carry while rushing for 334 yards and three scores. Meanwhile, Austin Ekeler has averaged 6.0 yards per carry while rushing for 203 yards. The Browns run defence is 22nd in the NFL, so there is an opening for the Chargers to exploit that matchup. The key will be maintaining a sense of urgency continuing this weekend when they visit Cleveland and not showing up sloppy and unprepared.
Speaking of must-win games, the Browns are suddenly being talked about as a legitimate playoff team in the AFC. In order for that to continue, Cleveland will need to beat the Chargers this week in order to climb above .500 with a tough schedule ahead. The Browns will host Los Angeles before a two-game trip to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers. After that, Cleveland will play the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. It’s an extremely difficult schedule, which means the Browns can’t afford to suffer any more letdowns.
Cleveland is 2-1 since rookie first-overall pick Baker Mayfield took over at quarterback. Mayfield has completed 58.9% of his pass attempts while throwing for 838 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions. There is no doubt he can sling it. The key will be producing positive numbers without the costly turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Browns defence will be pressed this week as they attempt to slow down Rivers and company in order to give their offence a chance. Cleveland ranks 12th in the NFL with an average of 22.6 points allowed per game this season. If they can keep this a low-scoring affair, they’ll have a good chance to pull off the win.