Chiefs find a way to win against Browns in season opener

Patrick Mahomes vs Browns 2021

Two of the best teams in the AFC went head-to-head in the season opener, and for most of the game the Browns were in control. They moved the ball at will against the Chiefs defense and managed to get some stops against the amazing KC offense. The Browns were driving again in the third quarter with the opportunity to take a three-score lead when Nick Chubb fumbled, and then things started to fall apart.
Punter Jamie Gillan muffed a snap and then tried to run when he didn’t have to, setting up a short field for the Chiefs. Along the way Patrick Mahomes made the sort of ridiculous plays that have made him the best player in the NFL.

But apart from the turnovers, everyone know the Browns can play with the Chiefs. Of course all the talking heads will go on and on about Baker Mayfield’s interception on the last drive. And Baker certainly has more to prove. He needs to show he can make things happen late in the game when everyone knows he needs to pass to get a winning score. So the Browns have much more to prove, but the Chiefs won’t be excited to play this team again.

The Browns covered the spread and should have won outright absent the turnovers. Can they take the next step and knock off the Chiefs? Nobody knows at this point. But they have the talent and the coaching staff to pull it off.

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Browns answer critics and run over Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens started the season against the Miami Dolphins, easily one of the worst teams in NFL history. Then they played the woeful Arizona Cardinals. After easy wins, naturally many in the press jumped to the conclusion that the Ravens were one of the best teams in the NFL. Oh, and suddenly Lamar Jackson was a cut below Patrick Mahomes.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns had plenty of hype coming into the season, and many in the pressed relished watching them struggle in their opener and then suffer some horrible play calls from Freddie Kitchens last week against the Rams. Many loved mocking Baker Mayfield for his slow start.

This poll from last week summed up the silliness we’ve been hearing. Lamar Jackson is a very talented player with a unique skill set, but there’s no way you take him over Baker Mayfield.

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Johnny Manziel likes to party

Right – like we didn’t know this already.

Well, stuff like this will get plenty of attention, because Johnny Manziel loves the attention and outlets like ESPN can’t talk enough about him. The whole topic is already exhausting.

In the end, the key here is whether he can perform at the highest level while maintaining this partying lifestyle. The best quarterbacks live and breath football, so you have to wonder about a trip to Las Vegas in the middle of his first OTAs with the Browns. Did he really maximize his learning of the playbook by hanging out in Las Vegas? Only a fool would think that. But, the issue is how he plays when it matters. If he stumbles, stuff like this weekend’s events will be thrown back in his face over and over again.

This isn’t 1976 when party animal Kenny Stabler led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl season. Johnny Football’s antic will be broadcast everywhere. If he plays well and wins he’ll add to his legend. If he messes up he’ll have to answer for it.

NFL Week 15 Free Picks

Eagles vs. Vikings, 1:00PM ET
With both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart expected to be out for Minnesota, points will be at a premium for the Vikings. The Eagles defense was brutal in the first two months of the season but the team has found its rhythm of late and is playing better on that side of the ball than at any point this year. Philly is also running the ball at will, and Minnesota has had issues slowing the run over the past few weeks. The Eagles are 4-0 against the spread in their last four road games, 4-1 ATS in their last four games versus a team with a losing record, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. They’re also 5-1 against the spread in their last six games versus the Vikings so lay the points.
NFL FREE PICK: EAGLES -6.5

Patriots vs. Dolphins, 1:00PM ET
Thanks to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Patriots will survive without Rob Gronkowski, just like they did earlier in the season when he missed the first six games of the year. That said, they survived earlier in the year because of the play of their defense, which has lost Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Tommy Kelly along the way. The Dolphins impressed last week in Pittsburgh, beating the Steelers on the road and in the elements. The Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin distraction has died down and there has been a semblance of stability again in Miami. The Patriots are 0-4 against the spread in their last four road games, 1-4 ATS in their last five games in December and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games versus AFC opponents. On the other side, the Dolphins are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games overall, 4-0 ATS in their last four games versus AFC opponents and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games.
FREE PICK: DOLPHINS -1

Bears vs. Browns, 1:00PM ET
With all the talk about who should start under center, the most glaring situation that is facing the Bears has gone somewhat unnoticed. The defense is an absolute mess and with the way Jason Campbell has played since taking over the starting quarterback job in Cleveland, Chicago should continue to struggle defensively today. The over is 10-3 in the Bears’ last 13 road games, 11-4 in their last 15 games overall, and 5-1 in their last six road games versus a team with a losing record. The over is also 5-1 in the Browns’ last six games overall, 4-1 in their last five home games and 4-0 in their last four games following an ATS win.
FREE PICK: OVER 44

Packers vs. Cowboys, 4:25PM ET
The Packers were fortunate to come away with a victory last week at home versus the Falcons in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. They trailed 21-10 at halftime and Atlanta did them a favor by once again putting together another second half collapse. Give credit to Dom Campers’ defense for coming alive in the final two quarters of that game, but today will be a different animal in Dallas. The Cowboys’ defense has been atrocious this season, ranking dead last in total yards per game. But they should have an easier time defending against an ineffective Matt Flynn and a hobbled Eddie Lacy at home. The favorite is 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 meetings between these two teams while the Packers are 0-5 against the number in their last five trips to Dallas.
FREE PICK: COWBOYS -6.5

College Football Week 5, NFL Week 4 Free Picks

Mississippi vs. Alabama, 6:30PM ET
Alabama doesn’t look as dominant as it has in year’s past, and bettors have taken notice. The spread in this game has been bet down from one key number of 17, to another key number in 14. The Rebels have fared well against the Tide, covering in all four of their last four meetings with ‘Bama in Tuscaloosa. They’re also 6-2 against the spread in their last eight meetings overall with the Tide, while the road team is 5-0 against the number in the last five meetings between these two teams. Ole Miss has a balanced offensive attack thanks to quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti, who is a running threat. The Rebels enter tonight’s game with plenty of confidence and should stay within two touchdowns of a Tide team that didn’t look sharp defensively two weeks ago versus A&M.
FREE PICK: OLE MISS +14

Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, 8:00PM ET
The Buckeyes have been flat-out dominant in their first three games and own the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country (52.5 points). But Braxton Miller is set to return tonight following a sprained left MCL injury suffered a few weeks ago. Rust might be a factor in the early going, which could give Wisconsin confidence for the rest of the game. The underdog is 10-3 against the spread in the last 13 meetings between these two teams and the Badgers are 4-0 against the number in their last four games overall. They’re also 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 conference games and have rushed for 387 yards or more in three of their four games. Look for Wisconsin to give Ohio State its first challenge of the season.
FREE PICK: WISCONSIN +6.5

Bengals vs. Browns, 1:00PM ET
The Bengals are coming off two emotional victories against Pittsburgh and Green Bay, and now has to travel to Cleveland and play a team in the Browns that they’re expected to beat. There’s always value in the home underdog, especially one in Cleveland that shocked bettors a week ago by beating Minnesota outright as a 6.5-point dog. The line in this game has been bet down from 5 to 3.5 despite the public siding with Cincinnati. The underdog is 10-1-1 against the spread in the last 12 meetings between these two teams and the Bengals are just 2-5-1 against the number in their last eight games versus the Browns. Look for a confident Cleveland team behind Brian Hoyer to keep this game within a field goal.
FREE PICK: BROWNS +3.5

Seahawks vs. Texans, 1:00PM ET
The Seahawks look every bit a Super Bowl contender in the early going. They suffered no letdown last Sunday when they thumped a brutal Jacksonville team a week after crushing division rival San Francisco on Sunday Night Football. But the Seahawks have never been a team that travels well and the Texans are licking their wounds after being embarrassed in Baltimore last week. Houston knows it can’t afford to fall behind in the AFC South, especially with Indianapolis playing Jacksonville this week. Look for the underdog Texans to win outright as a small home dog.
FREE PICK: TEXANS +1

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