The Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers have a big matchup at SoFi Stadium in the late slot on Sunday afternoon. These are two teams trending up, but something will have to give on Sunday. The Browns travel to Los Angeles following a 14-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota.
Their defense put on a clinic against a pretty good Vikings’ offense. For as much as Kirk Cousins gets bagged, he has been playing pretty good football this season. However, that wasn’t the case against the Browns last weekend. Cousins was limited to 203 yards with 1 touchdown and interception.
The #Browns currently rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 5, 2021
Even more impressive is how they handled Dalvin Cook. Cook was held to 34 yards on 3.8 yards per carry. He also had just 2 receptions for 10 yards. It’s about time that the Browns’ defense gets some more respect. I liked their defense right away out of the gate.
I was on the Browns in Week 1 against the Chiefs because of their revamped defense. The front office did a good job bringing in talent that is going to contribute. They were aware that Myles Garrett just needed a little extra help to get this defense to the next level. Signing Jadeveon Clowney was a big step in that direction.
The defense has finally caught up to the offense in Cleveland, and that makes them a dangerous team. Their only loss this season was a 33-29 defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs on the road at Arrowhead. That win was there for the taking and they botched the landing in the 4th quarter.
If the Browns don’t shoot themselves in the foot in Week 1, they’d be going to the west coast with a perfect record of 4-0. Not bad at all that their only loss is a 33-29 win versus the Chiefs, though. The Chargers are in the same position with a record of 3-1. They’re coming off a 28-14 win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football.
Justin Herbert put on a nice show with 222 yards and 3 touchdowns. Austin Ekeler carved the Raiders up for 117 yards and a touchdown on 7.8 yards per carry. It was a good all-around performance for the defense and offense. Their only loss this season was a 20-17 final three weeks ago versus the Cowboys.
Justin Herbert now has 3 Pass TD in the 1st half. The last QB with 3 Pass TD in the 1st half of a Monday Night Football game?
Justin Herbert, who did it in Week 5 last season. pic.twitter.com/xLo202KJmN
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 5, 2021
Unlike the Browns, the Chargers knocked off the Chiefs in their meeting. Herbert out performed Patrick Mahomes with 281 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. Instead of a letdown, the Chargers followed up with their win over the Raiders. I have Brandon Staley winning Coach of the Year, and Kliff Kingsbury on my shortlist, so it’s been a good season in that regard.
This should be a good one between two quarterbacks that are some of the finest young signal callers in the NFL. Baker Mayfield has reportedly been playing with a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder since Week 2 against the Texans. It doesn’t require surgery, and he hasn’t looked bothered or in pain. He has to make throws to a wide open Odell Beckham Jr, which he missed last week. Head below for our free Browns vs. Chargers pick on October 10, 2021.
Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers Live Odds and Betting History:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Browns||+1 (+105)||+115||Over 47 (-113)|
|Chargers||-1 (-125)||-135||Under 47 (-107)|
|Points Per Game||25||23.8|
|Points Against Per Game||16.8||18.5|
|Passing Yards Per Game||212.3||283.5|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||177||107.5|
Browns vs. Chargers Prediction:
Without too much work, it’s easy to identify what the Browns are going to attempt to do in this game. They will hand the ball off to Nick Chubb, and then give it to him again and again.
The Browns have been one of the best teams in the league in finding yards on the ground. Statistically they are the best in the NFL with 177 rushing yards per game.
Van Pelt on the offense's evolution in the run game.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 7, 2021
Chubb has gained 362 yards and 3 touchdowns on 5.2 yards per carry. Kareem Hunt has chipped in with 234 yards and 3 touchdowns on 5.4 yards per carry.
The Browns played the ball control game to perfection against the Vikings last week. They didn’t need Baker Mayfield on fire with the defense getting stops and Chubb and Hunt going to work.
Mayfield missed throws in that game that should have been completed. He had a wide open Odell Beckham Jr. free down the sideline, but Mayfield missed 6 easy points. Mayfield finished the game completing less than 50% of his passes at 15-for-33.
A partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder isn’t the biggest problem in the world, but it could certainly be irritating, especially just tearing it two weeks ago. He’s far from feeling 100%.
The good news for the Browns is that they can play the ball control game in this one against a bad Chargers’ rush defense. The Chargers are 29th in the league with 139.5 yards allowed per game on the ground. If there’s any weakness for the Chargers, it’s their shaky output against the run.
Cleveland Browns vs. LA Chargers Betting Trends:
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games
- 5-0 ATS in their previous five games after a win
- 4-0 ATS in their previous four games on the road
- 6-13 ATS in their previous 19 games in October
- Underdog is 7-0 ATS in their previous seven meetings versus the Chargers
- UNDER is 4-1 after allowing less than 15 points
- UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five Week 5 games
- 7-1 ATS in their previous eight games
- 5-0 ATS in their previous five games
- 4-1 ATS in their previous five games as the favorite
- UNDER is 4-0 in their previous four games
- UNDER is 5-1 in their previous six games as a favorite
The Browns will look to pound the ball and keep it away from Herbert. They should probably have some success. Dropping back in the pocket with an injured Mayfield with Joey Bosa lurking probably isn’t a good move. They will obviously have to, but the game plan is likely going to be simple on the ground.
The Chargers’ pass rush has been a problem for their opponents this season. It’s helped limit offenses to just 192.5 passing yards per game for fifth in the league. The Browns don’t want to pass into the stretch of the Chargers. Fortunately, they have a ground game that can dictate the pace.
Most QB pressures so far this season
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 5, 2021
Cleveland has been the most underrated unit in the NFL. They need respect after going into Week 5 ranked second in the league with 250.3 yards allowed per game. The Browns have been equally sharp against the pass and run, with 183.3 passing yards allowed and 66.5 yards rushing.
Their effort has equated to 16.8 points scored per game. They are also activating line backer Anthony Walker off the IR for this one, which is only going to help add more beef to their defense. Not that they’ve needed any extra help.
I know the illusion in this one is that it’s Mayfield vs. Herbert so those two young quarterbacks are going to get into a shootout. Maybe, but I think there’s a better chance of this one turning into a ball control game. Taking risks against these defenses usually doesn’t work out well. This total looks a couple of points too high.