It finally happened. The Detroit Lions did not lose! They didn’t win, either, but hey, you have to start somewhere. Playing a struggling Browns team in Cleveland will not be easy, but if a few calls and bounces go their way, who knows? Maybe the underdog Lions will get a big win this week.
Detroit has won the last four meetings with Cleveland and has dominated the series, 19-5.
Here are the betting odds for Sunday’s game.
|DraftKings||Detroit +12.5 (-110)|
Cleveland -12.5 (-110)
|Detroit +425 |
|Over 43 (-115)|
Under 43 (-105)
|BetMGM||Detroit +11.5 (-110)|
Cleveland -11.5 (-110)
|Detroit +400 |
|Over 43.5 (-110)|
Under 43.5 (-110)
|Caesars||Detroit +12 (-110)|
Cleveland -12 (-110)
|Over 43.5 (-115)|
Under 43.5 (-105)
|BetRivers||Detroit +11.5 (-110)|
Cleveland -11.5 (-110)
|Over 43.5 (-109)|
Under 43.5 (-112)
Detroit Lions (0-8-1 SU, 5-4 ATS)
It was not a pretty game in Pittsburgh last week for either team. But with Covid-19 knocking out Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger of the game, that was expected. What was unexpected, though, was how unprepared his backup, Mason Rudolph, would be.
The Lions’ defense deserves some credit for not letting the Steelers get into the end zone after the game’s opening drive. But facing an erratic and unprepared Rudolph rather than a future Hall of Famer (Roethlisberger) certainly helped.
Credit for the tie also goes to the offensive line. It was expected to be one of the better units in the NFL this season and certainly the best position group for the Lions. Several factors (injuries, players playing out of position, etc.) have led to them not living up to those expectations for much of the season. But they did against the Steelers.
With the holes the line opened, the Lions rumbled for 229 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. RB D’Andre Swift had his first 100+ yard day of the season and just the second of his career. But while they ran the ball because it was working, they had to do so because QB Jared Goff was dealing with an oblique injury that has his status for Sunday’s game against the Browns in doubt.
If he cannot go, Tim Boyle will likely get the nod. Despite being on the injured list, Boyle has been taking most of the first-team reps this week.
Cleveland Browns (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS)
The Browns entered the season with high expectations and were viewed by many as a legitimate playoff contender. But for one reason or another, they have struggled to get everyone on the same page. Injuries have played a role in their issues and will likely factor into Sunday’s game against the Lions.
Getting RB Nick Chubb back from the Covid-19 list will give the offense a much-needed boost, but there is a big question mark at quarterback. QB Baker Mayfield has been trying to play through a shoulder injury all season but left last week’s loss to the Patriots with a knee injury. He is expected to start this week, but you have to wonder if that is the right move.
Case Keenum has been a capable quarterback in the past. Against the Lions, with some help from Nick Chubb in the running game, he could be good enough for the Browns to get a much-needed win. That way, Mayfield could get a much-needed day off so he could heal.
Regardless of who lines up at QB, the Browns are going to lean on the run game. The Lions have been one of the worst run defenses in the league this season (No. 30 with 135.7 yards allowed per game). Detroit has held only two teams to less than 100 yards rushing. Pittsburgh RB Najee Harris last weekend became the fourth running back to have a 100+ yard day against the Lions’ D.
With Chubb returning to the backfield and Mayfield hurting, it is not hard to figure out how the Browns will approach this game.
If there was an award for effort, the Lions would deserve it. They play hard most of the time, but they just don’t have enough talent to win games in the NFL. If they can bring their ‘A’ game and catch the Browns on an off day, however, they could steal a win here.
Instead, look for the Browns to lean hard on their run game and defense, which will be looking for redemption after last week’s debacle against the Patriots, to make sure they get a win they desperately need.