Cleveland Browns vs. New Orleans Saints 9/14/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction
New Orleans Saints (0-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-1)
NFL Football: Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm (FirstEnergy Stadium)
The Line: Cleveland Browns +6.5 -- Over/Under: 48 See the Latest Odds
The Cleveland Browns host the New Orleans Saints in a battle of teams that lost by a field goal in their respective divisions in week one.
The New Orleans Saints dropped their opening contest to the Falcons, 37-34 in overtime in Atlanta. Drew Brees completed 69% of his passes for 333 yards with one TD and one interception as star pass catchers Marques Colston (5 rec, 110 yards) and Jimmy Graham (8 rec, 82 yards) each had big days, although Colston’s fumble in overtime did end up sealing the Saints fate in the loss. The Saints backfield was also effective as the team averaged five yards per carry on 28 rushing attempts and Pierre Thomas also caught six balls for 58 yards. The defense wasn’t very sharp however, conceding 568 total yards while registering just one sack.
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The Saints have historically been worse in outdoor road games over the years as their precision routes are better suited for the stable environment inside a dome. This weekend’s weather in Cleveland looks pretty tame though with mild temperatures and very little chance of rain. It would thus be fair to expect a minimal offensive decline from the Saints potent offense, and potentially room for improvement on defense as well after battling an elite passing offense in week one.
The Cleveland Browns dropped their opener 30-27 in Pittsburgh, conceding a game-winning field goal after scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half to tie the game at 27. Browns rookie running back Terrance West led the offense with 16 carries for 100 yards as Brian Hoyer retained the starting QB role completing 61% of his 31 attempts for 230 yards and a touchdown. Andrew Hawkins was Hoyer’s primary target collecting eight balls for 87 yards, while Jordan Cameron injured his shoulder on a 47 yard grab and is questionable for this Sunday’s start. The Cleveland defense left plenty to be desired in week one allowing 503 yards of total offense and struggling immensely to defend the Pittsburgh passing attack in the first half.
The Browns figure to be missing Ben Tate at running back for this game in addition to Cameron’s questionable status, leaving some holes to fill on offense while looking to match Drew Brees’ output. The defense doesn’t figure to be ideally suited to deal with the Saints attack either as the linebacker unit lacks a strong option to cover tight ends. In Cleveland’s favor is significant home field advantage at the dawg pound.
The Saints can pile on points but I expect the Browns to slow down the game with no real chance of winning a shootout. Simultaneously I don’t expect much output out of the Browns offense which leads me to taking the under.