The Denver Broncos travel to the FirstEnergy Arena to take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 7’s Thursday Night Football feature.
The Broncos have dropped three straight games including a 34-24 defeat against the Las Vegas Raiders last week. Denver opened the season with three straight wins but has struggled in the previous three as their star-studded secondary has failed them. Denver is now tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for third in the AFC West at 3-3.
The Browns enter this game with back-to-back losses. Cleveland was manhandled by the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals 37-14 last week after dropping a close 47-42 shootout against the Chargers. The Browns are also in third place in the AFC West division with their 3-3 record.
Denver is 8-1 SU and 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games played against Cleveland. The Broncos won the most recent matchup between these two teams, a 24-19 victory a Mile High last November 3, 2019.
Denver ranks 12th in the league in passing at 271 yards and is 14th on the ground with an average of 117.5 rushing yards per game. They are 22nd in scoring at 21 points per game and 4rh in scoring defense with only 18.3 points per game allowed.
Teddy Bridgewater has passed for 1,514 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. Melvin Gordon has rushed for 332 yards on 70 carries with two touchdowns. Javonte Williams has 300 rushing yards on 65 carries with one touchdown while Courtland Sutton has caught 33 passes for 471 receiving yards with two touchdowns.
The Broncos lost linebackers Alexander Johnson (chest), Baron Browning (concussion), and Andre Mintze (hamstring) to injuries in the first half of their previous game. It’s uncertain which of them will be available to play in a short week.
Cleveland is ranked 23rd in passing at 246 yards per outing. The Browns are the best rushing team in the NFL at 168.5 yards per contest. They also rank 9th in scoring points at 26 points per game and are 22nd in scoring defense at 25.2 points per game.
Mayfield leads the Browns with 1,474 passing yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions on the season. Nick Chubb has 523 rushing yards on 90 carries with four touchdowns while Kareem Hunt has 69 carries for 361 rushing yards with three touchdowns. David Njoku has 15 catches for 266 receiving yards with one touchdown while Donovan Peoples has caught two TD passes.
Running back Nick Chubb is out with a calf injury and so will Kareem Hunt who also hurt his calf against the Raiders. Baker Mayfield reinjured his left shoulder and has been ruled out of this game. Without Mayfield, Case Keenum will get the start for the Browns against his former team.
Denver is 5-10 SU in their last 15 games played. The Broncos are 2-1 SU in three road games played this season but are 2-7 SU in their last nine games against the AFC. Cleveland is 3-4 SU in their last seven games played. The Browns are 2-1 SU in three home games played this season but are 0-5 SU in their last five games against the AFC West division.
Head to head, the Broncos are 8-1 SU in their last nine games played against the Browns. Denver is also 5-1 in their last six home games against Cleveland.
The Denver defense allowed just a total of 26 points in their first three games of the season but have conceded an average of 28 points per game in their last three outings and have gone 0-3 SU and ATS during that span. However, this is a game where they can right the ship on that end of the field with their opponents having injury issues with their top offensive players.
The Browns are already without Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt left last week’s game with a calf injury. More worrisome is QB Baker Mayfield who reinjured his left shoulder last weekend and has been declared out for this game. Then there is Odell Beckham Jr. who briefly left their last outing with a shoulder issue as well.
Denver’s issues with its secondary won’t be too evident here against a Cleveland team that has trouble making big plays and is missing key offensive players. If the Broncos can limit the Browns’ rushing attack, there’s a good chance they win this game.
Prediction: Denver Broncos
Denver is 11-3 ATS in their last 14 Thursday games played. The Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last five games after amassing 250 or more passing yards in their previous game, 6-2 ATS in their last eight games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous assignment, and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games after an ATS loss.
Cleveland is 5-14 ATS in their last 19 games against the AFC, 1-5 ATS in their last six October games, 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as home favorites, 3-9 ATS in their last dozen games after a double-digit loss at home, 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine Week 7 games, 17-44-1 in their last 62 games after a straight-up loss, and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
Head to head the Broncos are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games played against the Browns.
The timing couldn’t have been worse for the Browns to have a short week. Injuries have hit the team and they are claiming their top offensive players. The biggest one perhaps is QB Baker Mayfield who has been ruled out for this short turnaround game with a shoulder issue. Without Mayfield, former Broncos starter Case Keenum will make his first start of the season.
Teddy Bridgewater had a bad game the last time out but he did finish strong. Denver is the healthier team between the two and in some games, the best ability is availability. The Broncos have also had a good track record when playing on a short week, going 11-3 SU and ATS in their last 14 Thursday Night games.
Prediction: Denver Broncos +1.5
The total has gone under in four out of the last six games played by the Broncos. The under is 5-2 in their last seven games, 27-13-1 in their last 41 games against the AFC, 19-7 after accumulating 250 or more passing yards in their previous game, and 18-7-1 in their last 26 games after allowing less than 90 rushing yards in their previous game.
The total has gone over in six out of the last nine games played by the Browns, The over is also 4-1 in their last five home games, 8-2 in their last 10 games played on grass, 4-1 in their last five games after a loss of more than 14 points, 6-2 in their last eight games after a straight-up loss, 5-2 in their last seven October games, and 5-1 in their last six games against the AFC.
Head to head, the total has gone over in six out of the last nine meetings between these two teams.
The Broncos have seen the total go under in four out of their last six games but Denver enters this game after back-to-back overs with totals of 46 and 58 points. The Browns have also hit the over in four out of their last six games, including the last two.
Cleveland has several key offensive players absent here including Baker Mayfield but the Broncos are also hurting in their defensive line and linebacking corps. The Browns should be able to put up points on the board against the struggling Denver defense. With a total just over 40 points, these two teams should be able to hit the over for this game.
Prediction: Over 41
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