Nover’s View: Raiders-Browns Free Sunday Play

On October 30, 2020, in Free Picks, NFL, by Stephen

By Stephen Nover

Raiders at Browns Under 51 

Yes, Under.

I understand this is a game involving the Raiders, who have yet to go Under a total all season. I realize the Raiders’ defense has been terrible the past two years under D-coordinator Paul Guenther and have given up the second-most points per game in the NFL this year. Nearly all of the Raiders’ high draft picks on defense have yet to pan out.

However.  There are two other key elements besides a high total that point to this going Under – weather and Cleveland’s offensive strategy and current makeup.

The forecast is for light rain and heavy wind. It’s the wind – projected to be in the 25-35 mph range – that rates heavily in my Under thinking. The Raiders have yet to play in a game where weather is a strong factor.

These weather elements really hurt the Raiders, whose offensive line and running attack have struggled lately. Derek Carr has made up for this by shredding his game-manager label, averaging a career-best 8.2 yards per attempt. The Raiders’ strength is speed at the flanks and improved performance from Carr.

Cleveland ranks fifth in the league in run defense. Myles Garrett is the top pass rusher in the NFL. Denzel Ward is one of the better cornerbacks in football. Aside from those two, though, the Browns aren’t very good defensively. The combination of gusting winds and the nearly unblockable Garrett, though, can really slow down the Raiders’ attack. The Raiders will be spitting into the wind if they try throwing deep into the wind.

The Browns have thrived on turnovers leading the NFL with 14 takeaways. Jon Gruden knows he can’t let the opportunistic Browns beat his team this way. So I’m expecting a conservative game plan from him given the weather situation.

Kevin Stefanski is run-oriented. His team just lost Odell Beckham Jr. for the season. Beckham wasn’t putting up big numbers in Stefanski’s style of offense. But he gave the Browns a deep-threat dimension they no longer possess. Beckham still had enough of a reputation to draw the other team’s top cornerback plus extra safety attention on third down passing situations. Now that’s gone. The Browns do not have any explosive receivers left.

Cleveland is the better team. There’s no reason to put banged-up Baker Mayfield in harm’s way, or let him take chances. The Browns have a bye next week. They could be getting Nick Chubb back in Week 10. Just be basic and get this home win is what Stefanski wants, not style points or any kind of dueling downfield passing contest against Carr.

I am beating the NFL for the 24th time in the last 27 years. If you’re interested in my sports service please email me at scriber26@gmail, or message me via Twitter. All of my plays come with writeups and are emailed to you well in advance of the games. Thank you and best of luck! 


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