Washington vs. Cleveland Pick Against the Spread
For at least one week, the Cleveland Browns silenced skeptics with a 35-30 victory over the Bengals last Thursday. After a disastrous opener against Baltimore in week 1, the Browns got some momentum rolling on the offensive side of the football thanks to running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who combined for 210 rushing yards, and four touchdowns. This week the Browns will get another extremely generous gift on the schedule when they host the Washington Football Team at FirstEnergy Stadium. Currently, the Browns are favored by 7 points, which is surprisingly the 3rd most points the team has been favored by in the last five years.
The Washington Football Team scored an improbable upset in the opener with a 27-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The WFT defense shined in that game by racking up eight sacks and forcing three turnovers. However, the defense could not duplicate their efforts in week two and was thrashed by Kyler Murray's Arizona Cardinals in a 30-15 defeat. Washington trailed 20-0 at the half, which exposed the offense's inability to move the football effectively down the field. The only bright spot was WR Terry McLaurin's seven catches that resulted in 125 yards with a touchdown. McLaurin was targeted heavily due to the game script and proved to be one of the only bright spots in a struggling Washington offense.
Analyzing Washington vs. Cleveland Match-Ups
At first glance, this appears to be an excellent opportunity to jump on Cleveland, who is fresh on the heels of a Thursday night win and has a few extra days of rest, opposed to Washington that struggled in every way imaginable in week 2. However, I think the stylistic match-up between both teams provides value to Washington's 7 points they are receiving. Washington's defense was beat last weekend against the elusive threat of Kyler Murray, but that will not be the case this weekend against Baker Mayfield.
In the midst of Mayfield's struggles, the Browns rushing offense is what really got the team going last week with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. However, the rushing attack will run into the heart of Washington's defensive strength this week along the defensive front. If Washington can stand strong against the run, which I believe is very possible, WFT defensive ends Chase Young, and Ryan Kerrigan could create nightmares for a struggling Browns offensive front. Everyone in the NFL has seen Baker Mayfield's struggles while under duress, and that is clearly the path for Washington's defense, which is notorious for applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If the Browns fail to get the ground game going, this could easily be another disaster spot for the offense who has consistently under-performed.
Washington's struggles on offense continue
Washington's biggest downside is that they are also insanely inconsistent on the offensive side of the football. QB Dwayne Haskins remains wildly inaccurate even with a potential superstar in WR Terry McLaurin on the outside. To further complicate issues, running back Antonio Gibson has not lived up to the hype that he gained over the offseason. Gibson has produced just 91 yards rushing in two games and caught only three passes for five yards. Washington fans were hoping that Gibson could play the "McCaffrey" role for new Head Coach Ron Rivera, but that has not been the case.
With any struggling quarterback, you have to find a way to simplify things and be effective. Coach Rivera and the Washington staff understand this, but we have not seen much progress through the opening two games. Gibson's role needs to increase, and/or Haskins must continue to force-feed McLaurin the football as he was in week 2. Rivera has typically found ways to keep the ball in his playmakers' hands, and that has to be the approach here. Luckily, Washington does not need a ton of fireworks in this week's match-up if the defense plays well as I expect. Oddsmakers have this game listed at one of the lowest totals of the week, and I think that points towards value in the points being offered for WFT.
- Get more details: Washington at Cleveland Match-up Stats
Washington vs. Cleveland Betting Trends
- WFT is 1-4 ATS in their last five games
- The total has hit the "over" in four of the last five games for WFT.
- Cleveland is 0-5 ATS in their last five games.
- Cleveland is 5-1 SU in their last six games at home.
- The total has hit the "over" in four of the last six games for Cleveland.
Washington at Cleveland Prediction ATS
I believe Washington is definitely capable of the upset in this game and just needs a few big plays on offense to make it happen. I would not be surprised to see Washington's defense come up big similar to their Week 1 efforts against Philadelphia. The Browns are 0-5 ATS in their last five games going back to 2019, and I think that streak continues.