Browns look to end longest current playoff drought in NFL with Week 15 win over Giants
Cleveland suffered sixth setback Against The Spread in the last eight games with loss to Baltimore last week
Though Giants remain in the playoff hunt, starting QB Daniel Jones is dealing with hamstring injuries
Bookmaker.eu (established 1986) sees this one as an easy cover for Cleveland -6
The Cleveland Browns are looking to end the longest current playoff drought in the NFL and can take another step towards that goal with a win over the New York Giants when the teams tangle on Sunday Night Football. Both clubs saw their four-game winning streaks come to an end last week putting their postseason charges on hold. Despite their nine wins, which are their most in the last 12 seasons, the Browns haven’t clinched a spot yet, though they control their own destiny to reach the postseason for the first time since 2002 and just the second time since the rebirth of the franchise.
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants
Date and Time: Sunday, December 20, 2020, 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
NFL Odds: Cleveland -6 O/U 44
Browns at Giants TV Coverage: NBC
Despite their glossy 9-4 record the Browns haven’t been a team worth backing this season. Taking a safety on the final play of Monday’s 47-42 loss to Baltimore handed the Browns their sixth ATS setback in the last eight games. They closed as a 3-point dog and were on the verge of a push until that fateful play. When playing as a favorite the Browns are 7-1 SU but just 3-5 ATS. Still, they are getting support with the opening line of Browns -5 wagered up a full point to -6. The Giants are just the opposite. At 5-8 they shouldn’t be fighting for a playoff spot, but playing the woeful NFC East has them just a game out of first place. And we’ve watched the Giants play a number of close games helping their status against the line. They were 5-1 ATS in the previous six games before losing 26-7 as a 3-point dog to the Cardinals last week. Overall New York is 8-5 ATS but just 2-4 ATS at home. The total has been wagered up a half point to 44.
Game of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
The Real NFC East Threat: Washington Football Team Wins Four Straight
Could the pressure of trying to secure their first playoff berth since 2002 get to the Browns? It’s possible, but don’t count on it, especially with their next two games against the Giants and Jets. There is a chance the Browns have a letdown after coming out on the losing end in one of the most exciting games of the season and having a short week, but given what’s at stake I expect Baker Mayfield to lead this team to a win.
Mayfield has been on fire the last two games throwing for over 330 yards in each with six touchdowns. He tossed four scoring passes in a road win over Tennessee and had a season-high 343 passing yards against Baltimore. “Baker is obviously playing at a high level. He doesn’t lack confidence and I say that in a good way. That’s who he’s always been, which is great. His comfort level is certainly growing,” Kevin Stefanski said of his QB.
Mayfield’s play makes the Browns even more difficult to defend. With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt handling the chores out of the backfield, the Browns boast the NFL’s third-best run game at over 156 yards per game. They’ve scored more than 40 points against good defensive teams Tennessee and Baltimore the last two games and average nearly 27 points for the season.
New York Giants
Just like the Browns the Giants are in the thick of a playoff battle. The only way they can make it is by winning the NFC East and their loss last week dropped them a game behind the Football Team. The good news is that New York swept the season series with the team formerly known as the Redskins claiming a tie-break advantage. If the Giants are to win their division, they better start scoring more points. It’s been a chore all season and the G-Men are having issues with their quarterback. Daniel Jones returned from injury last week and was ineffective. And Colt McCoy isn’t going to lead them to the Promised Land.
Even during their recent winning streak points were hard to come by, showing just how good the defense has been. Twice in that four game run they scored less than 20 points and averaged 21.5, only slightly better than their season average of 18.3 points, which is better than only the Jets in the entire NFL. For the third time this season the Giants were held to a single digit in their 26-7 loss to the Cardinals.
Jones continues to deal with ankle and hamstring injuries that limited his effectiveness last week. He’s a game-time decision. And the defense will be without starting cornerback James Bradberry, who was put on the COVID list this week. Already thin at the position, the Giants could be susceptible to an aerial onslaught by Mayfield.
More: College Football Game of the Week – ACC Championship Game – Notre Dame vs. Clemson
Bet Browns at Giants at BookMaker.eu
There’s a reason why this game was flexed to primetime. With both teams fighting for a playoff berth it should be exciting. However, the Giants have had a hard time scoring all season and I don’t see that changing. Myles Garrett has 10.5 of the Browns 34 sacks and the Giants are allowing the third-most sacks in the NFL. A hobbled Jones won’t get the job done, which is why I’m backing the visitors minus the points.
NFL Score Prediction: Browns 26, Giants 13
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– Phil Simon, Gambling911.com