- Cleveland Browns @ New England Patriots
- NFL regular season Week 10
- Date: 14/11/2021
- Start time: 01:00 PM ET
- Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
An important game for the AFC picture
One of the most interesting games on the Week 10 NFL board is the Sunday afternoon derby between the 5-4 Cleveland Browns and the 5-4 New England Patriots.
Both teams are still in contention for their division crown which would make a long postseason run much more likely for these squads. The Patriots are in an easier spot based on their remaining schedule difficulty as they will have easy games left on their deck including matches against Miami & Jacksonville coming up.
Cleveland has a rough end to their regular season with two games coming up against Baltimore, one against Green Bay, and really no easy games for the during the last couple of weeks besides one matchup against Detroit.
The Browns are also clearly the second-best team behind division-leading 6-2 Baltimore Ravens, so winning this game would mean the world for them, especially if the Ravens end up losing this week.
Market supporting the road team
Early week market moves in the NFL are usually known to be sharp and are respected by serious bettors. After the markets opened up with a spread of Cleveland +2.5, we’ve seen the Browns quickly getting bet moving this spread down a full point. What are bettors seeing? It is likely related to the improving health of this Cleveland roster.
Cleveland was held back by health issues among their squad for most of the season. The Browns mainly had injuries on the defensive end of the ball, all of these issues have been resolved by now. Offensively, the team is also getting healthier with only Nick Chubb being questionable for this game due to Covid-19. The team did cut WR Odell Beckham Jr., but his backup Donovan Peoples-Jones has been playing amazingly complementing #1 WR Jarvis Landry.
Cleveland’s underlying numbers are improving
While Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield hasn’t been flashy this season, he is still an upper echelon QB and has improved where it matters the most. Mayfield’s average depth of target is up 0.7 yards per pass and his completion rate is up to 68%, among the better QBs of the league.
Last Sunday, Mayfield had a 77.6% adjusted completion rate with a 12.4-yard average depth of target and zero turnover worthy plays, so it is safe to say that the 26-year-old is trending in the right direction.
The receiving core is also stepping it up this year averaging 12.3 yards per reception reaching first downs 56% of the time after successful receptions.
The real story for Cleveland has been the improvements in the run game though. The Browns are averaging 5.3 yards per carry (up from 4.8 YPC last year), while giving up less than 3.6 yards per carry on the defensive end (down from 4.3 YPC last season).
New England Patriots – Cleveland Browns Odds
Pick: Cleveland Browns +1.5 -110 (1.91x) Bet365
The Browns are fully healthy and improving. They have the better overall defense and the much more potent offense both on the ground and in the air. They also match up well agianst New England. This Patriots secondary is still below league average, allowing over 11.8 yards per reception and while Mac Jones is a decent QB, especially for being a rookie, his short passing game likely won’t be enough to hang with such a powerful offense as Cleveland’s.
Note: Our model makes the Browns slight favorites in this point so this selection should have value at Browns –1 –110 (1.91x) or better.