|117: GREEN BAY
Last Updated: 2017-12-06
The Green Bay Packers are one of many teams that are fighting for their playoff lives this week and they couldn’t have asked for a better matchup. With a 6-6 record, the Pack remain on the outside looking in but a win against Cleveland this week will at least keep them alive for at least another week. A best-case scenario would have them beating the Browns and having Aaron Rodgers return in Week 15 for their pivotal game in Carolina against a Panthers team that currently holds a 2-game lead on Green Bay in the wild-card race. It’s a hard road ahead but they aren’t dead yet. This squad has been getting better on the offensive side of things but they still have just 2 wins in their last 7 games with just 3 covers to show for it.
The Cleveland Browns did just what they were expected to do and lost in Los Angeles in Week 13 to bring their record to 0-12. The one thing that they were able to achieve was beating the 13.5-point spread in their 19-10 loss. They were actually in this game at halftime when they trailed by just 2. They can now be proud that they no longer have the worst ATS record in the NFL. Still, they have the lowest scoring offense in the league and they give up a ton of points. At least they can see that number one draft pick on the horizon.
Packers at Browns
Spread: Green Bay Packers -3 (-120), Cleveland Browns +3 (+100) at 5Dimes Sportsbook
Moneyline: Green Bay Packers -170, Cleveland Browns +150
Total: Over 40.5 (-110), Under 40.5 (-110)
Green Bay Packers
The Packers didn’t make it easy for themselves but a nice effort from Jamaal Williams helped them come away with the win which was capped when Aaron Jones took his only carry for a game-winning 20-yard dash. The reliable Mason Crosby nailed both of his field goal attempts. After 4 straight 200+ yard outings, quarterback Brett Hundley completed just 13 of 22 passes for a lousy 84 yards. He didn’t connect for a score and he tossed a pick. None of his talented receivers were able to eclipse the 50-yard plateau and no connection netted more than 14 yards.
As mentioned, Williams had a good day turning 21 carries into 113 yards and a score. He will need to bring his A-Game if Green Bay is going to have success against a very good Cleveland rush defense that allows just 96 yards per game and a league-leading 3.3 yards per carry. Green Bay will absolutely need a bounce-back performance out of Hundley but he and his receivers will be in deep against a Cleveland pass defense that cedes 230 yards but allows a not so great 7.5 yards per completion. They will also need to be aware of Cleveland’s ability to get to the quarterback. Green Bay has given up 42 sacks this year which is second-worst in the NFL. Who’s given up the third-most sack? Well, that would be Cleveland.
K. Clark (Ankle), Aaron Rodgers (Collarbone) are out. J. McCray (Knee), L. Patrick (Hand), K. King (Shoulder), and D. Randall (Concussion) are day-to-day while K. Murphy (Foot) and D. Goodson (Knee) are questionable.
This team might have one or two wins if it wasn’t for their flaccid offense. Their rush defense has been great and their passing yards against per game is middle of the pack although that 7.5 yards per completion is far from great. The pass defense was picked apart by Philip Rivers last week to the tune of 344 yards. Yikes!! They pick up a lowly 6.1 yards per completion which places them near the bottom of the heap and Kizer is a pick machine. He has thrown just 6 touchdown passes while tossing a whopping 16 picks. He also has a propensity to give up costly fumbles and his 52% completion rating is terrible. Yes, the offensive ineptitude is a big reason that these guys have the record that they do.
Green Bay’s defense is far from great but they will be given their opportunities to shine this week even if they are on the road. They’ll need to keep an eye on Josh Gordon as well as paying attention when Duke Johnson Jr. is on the field. He is a viable threat out of the backfield despite being virtually shut down last week. Isaiah Crowell could be a big X-factor in this one too. A pretty weak Tampa rushing attack put up 165 yards against the Pack last week so it’s not out of the question that Cleveland’s rushers find some seems.
Packers at Browns Betting Lines
This game opened with a moneyline of Green Bay -172. It has since moved up a few cents at some books while dropping a few cents at some others. It is between -170 and -180 now at most books. Most bookies opened the spread with Green Bay being 3.5 to 4-point favorites and it is now Green Bay -3 to -3.5 depending on where you go. As for the total, It has trended slightly up form the 39.5 opening mark edging up to 40.5 at most books.
I’m going to look for a sloppy game with a few turnovers and lots of 4th down punts. Despite covering a rather large number last week, the Browns are still a very profitable fade.
My Pick: Green Bay -3 (-120)
Total: Under 40.5 (-110)