The Browns and Patriots face off in New England knowing that a win would put them in a good spot for at least a wild-card place in a congested AFC where 9 teams are currently sitting on 5 wins, including these two.
The Superbowl odds still have them as outsiders due to them being unlikely to win their divisions, but the playoffs are still on the table for the two of them. This week the spread line has the Browns as slight underdogs on the road and it’s likely to be a low-scoring game set around 45 points.
Cleveland Browns vs. New England Patriots
Sunday, November 14, 2021 – 01:00 PM EST at Gillette Stadium
Will the Dawgs Keep Barking?
After beating the Broncos with Case Keenum and without Nick Chubb, and a low scoring loss to the Steelers in week 8 the Browns needed to show a spark this weekend just past and they definitely did that when beating the Bengals in all facets of the game in a comprehensive 41-16 victory on Sunday.
They are finally getting people back healthy and looking good. Denzel Ward returned after a week off against the Steelers and quickly announced himself with a 99-yard pick 6 to get them off to a fantastic start and they went on from there.
That defense should be in a good spot against rookie Mac Jones for the Patriots and I can see Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney getting a lot of pressure on him upfront.
The offense runs mainly through Nick Chubb with a banged-up Baker Mayfield, although he threw well on Sunday and didn’t show any signs of his injury. Chubb topped 100 yards again while Baker threw for 2 TDs. The Patriots' defense has been improving by the week so it won’t be as easy for them this time around.
Will the Patriots Restrict the Browns?
As always in a Bill Belichick-coached team, the Patriots have been better week by week and dominated their game against Sam Darnolds’ Carolina Panthers last week allowing just 6 points and grabbing 3 interceptions off of the troubled QB.
It meant they didn’t have to put up huge numbers on offense with Mac Jones only attempting 18 passes. It was a Belichick fever dream. Nearly 40 carries for 150 odd yards, short fields, and defensive scores, it doesn’t really get much better for the way he likes to play ball.
They may well need to get the passing game going against the 3rd best rushing defense in the league this weekend though so Mac Jones will need the likes of Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, and Kendrick Bourne to step up as well as Hunter Henry to keep on scoring as he found the end-zone again this past week.
The run game has been key and they mixed in rookie Rhamondre Stevenson who looked great running through Panthers defenders last week in relief of Damien Harris who scored for the 5th straight game, the longest streak since LeGarrette Blount in 2016.
Who Takes a Step Towards the Post-Season?
Coming out of week 10 with 6 wins would be a good step towards the playoffs for each of these teams. For the Browns, it puts them ahead of the Steelers and Bengals while chasing the Ravens atop the division. For the Patriots it basically guarantees them at least 2nd place in the AFC East with a chance to be ahead of the Bills.
Both are currently odds-on to make the playoffs, the winners' price at the NFL odds will shorten considerably.
It should be an intriguing match-up, both teams like to try and play similar football, strong on defense and running the ball as much as possible to keep possession away from their rivals.
I can see at least one takeaway from each team in this one, a tough defensive game.
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