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Cleveland Browns vs. Detroit Lions Free Pick 10/13/13

Detroit Lions (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (3-2)

NFL Football: Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm (FirstEnergy Stadium)

The Line: Cleveland Browns +2.5 -- Over/Under: 45 See the Latest Odds

TV: Fox

The Detroit Lions head to Cleveland on Sunday to face off against the Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are off to a somewhat surprising 3-2 record on the year.  The majority of the people (regrettably myself included) figured the Browns were playing for a better draft position next season when the Browns traded away Trent Richardson.  That was obviously not the case.  Since the trade, the Browns have won three games in a row.  Besides Richardson, the Browns had a new face under center in Brian Hoyer.  Well, until last week that is.  Hoyer was lost for the season in last week’s win against the Bills, and now, once again it will be on the shoulders (or arm) of Weeden to continue the winning streak for the Browns.  Weeden may not have to shoulder as much burden as some other signal callers in the league however as the Browns have one of the best defensive units in the game.  The Browns have had a tough slate so far, and still Cleveland is ranked ninth in the league in points allowed per game, and first in the league in points per play, allowing just 4.3 to opponents.  The Browns will be facing the Lions on Sunday, who like to air it out.  Detroit is throwing the ball nearly 62 percent of the time this season, but this is strength vs. strength matchup as the Lions are ranked eighth, averaging 7.4 yards per pass, while the Browns defensively are ranked second in the league against the pass, allowing 5.3 yards per attempt. 

Cleveland Browns vs. Detroit Lions Free Pick 10/13/13

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are still 3-2 on the year, but the Browns come limping into Cleveland on Sunday after losing to the Packers 22-9 in Green Bay last Sunday.  The Lions were without their star wideout Calvin Johnson against the Packers, and you can see just how big of an impact he has on this offense.  Johnson is still listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Browns, but reports are that he was asking to be played last weekend, and after losing to the Pack, I don’t see the Lions holding him out against the Browns on Sunday.  The Lions offensively have the tenth ranked scoring offense in the league, averaging 26.2 points per game on the season.  Detroit is also averaging a very solid .397 points per play, and 5.8 yards per play on the year.  Defensively the Lions are struggling this season, as teams are averaging 24.6 points per game against them.  The one area where the Lions are solid and it is an important one is third down percentage.  Opposing teams are averaging just 26.98% conversions against the Lions on third downs, and if the Lions are able to keep the Browns from sustaining drives, that means that Cleveland will need to look for yards in bunches against this secondary.

The Lions are just 3-10 overall in their last 13 games, and Detroit is just 1-5 against the spread in their last six road games.  The Browns have gone under the total in 12 of their last 16 home games, and in their last six home games, Cleveland is 4-2 overall.

My play here is going to be on the Browns.  I like the capability of the Lions offense, but on the road Detroit is just a different team.  The Browns have the advantage of the home field, the much better defense, the long week to prepare, and the Lions have had back to back road games.  Stafford will get his yards, but I love the way Cleveland plays defense, and honestly since the Richardson trade this team just looks like they have a totally different mentality.  The wrong team is favored; I like the Browns to win outright on Sunday against the Lions.

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Cleveland +2.5

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