The Atlanta Falcons (1-2) will host the Cleveland Browns (2-1) on Sunday. The Browns are coming in with extra rest after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-17 as a 4.5-point favorite last Thursday. The Falcons are coming off a win as well after beating the Seattle Seahawks 27-23 as a one-point road dog last Sunday. This will be the first head-to-head meeting between these franchises since 2018.
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Key injures dominant headlines as Browns head to AtlantaThe Cleveland Browns opened the season with a 26-24 win as a 2.5-point underdog to Carolina. In Week 2, the Browns had a historic collapse falling to the Jets 31-30 after leading 30-17 with less than two minutes left in the game. Last week a short turnaround was good for the Browns who outgained the Steelers 376 to 308 in total yards and controlled the game with over 12 extra minutes in time of possession. Jacoby Brissett completed 21 of 31 passes for 220 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers. Nick Chubb rushed for 113 yards on 23 attempts, and Kareem Hunt added 47 yards on 11 carries. Amari Cooper had a big day catching several passes for 101 yards and a touchdown and David Njoku had nine catches for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Myles Garrett was released from the hospital last night and his injuries aren't life-threatening, per @TomPelissero— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 27, 2022
Garrett swerved in an attempt to avoid an animal on a wet road resulting in his car flipping over multiple times. pic.twitter.com/8M39vkf7fC
Cleveland leads the NFL with 190 rushing yards per game, with Chubb leading the NF with 341 yards and 52 attempts.
The Browns' defense is 13th in the NFL allowing 323.7 yards per game. They are seventh, limiting the opposition to just 83.7 rushing yards per game and 17th allowing 240 passing yards. Cleveland's injury report features several key players, starting with defensive end Myles Garrett who is listed as doubtful after getting into a car accident earlier this week. Jadeveon Clowney, another defensive end is listed as questionable, and so is Pro-Bowl corner Denzel Ward.
On the offensive line, tackle Jack Conklin, and guard Joel Bitonio are also among the key injuries.
They don't go awayThe Atlanta Falcons got their first win straight up last Sunday but they are 3-0 ATS this season. Prior to beating Seattle, the Falcons opened the season with a 27-26 loss to the Saints as a six-point home dog and fell to the defending Super Bowl champion Rams 31-27 as a 10.5-point road dog.
Falcons injury report: Cordarrelle Patterson returned to practice Friday https://t.co/LQuGG2PtvA— Atlanta Journal-Constitution (@ajc) September 30, 2022
Against Seattle, Atlanta was outgained 420 to 386 in total yardage and lost the turnover battle 2 to 1. The Falcons were solid in the penalty department only committing two for 15 yards. Marcus Mariota went 13 for 20 with 229 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Cordarrelle Patterson picked up 141 yards for 17 carries with one touchdown. On the season, the Falcons are 14th in total offense, 26th with 197.7 passing yards, and fifth with 156.7 rushing yards. Mariota has completed 63.3% of his passes with three touchdowns and three interceptions and is second on the team with 92 rushing yards. Patterson is third in the NFL with 302 rushing yards and is fifth averaging 6.2 yards per attempt game.
On defense, Atlanta is 22nd allowing 380.7 rushing yards per game. Their run defense is 16th, giving up 109.3 yards per game, and they are 27th allowing 271.3 passing yards.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
With so many injuries and questionable players, this is a tough call between two teams that tend to play close games. In a contest I believe will be decided by a couple of plays, I expect the Browns running game to be the difference here. The Browns are sixth averaging 5.0 yards per rush, and Atlanta is 21st allowing 4.8 yards per rushing attempt. The Falcons have run the ball as well too ranking seventh with 4.9 yards per carrying, but the Browns do a better job of stopping the run allowing just 4.1 yards per rush. Cleveland has also gotten solid quarterback play from Brissett who ranks ninth in QBR compared to Mariota who is 12th. I know the differences aren't drastic, but they will be in a game of inches. Cleveland also has the better defense, even without Garrett, and I assume Denzel Ward will be able to go.
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is 3-0 for both of these teams this season, and I see that trend continuing here. Atlanta will struggle to slow down the Browns' rushing attack, and Cleveland will also be able to make some big passing plays downfield. The Browns have only allowed four sacks this season, tied for third best in the NFL. They are giving Brissett plenty of protection, and I see the Browns all around having success offensively against a Falcons team that is allowing 27 ppg. The Browns have allowed 24 ppg despite facing three bad offensive teams in Carolina, the New York Jets and Pittsburgh, and have been vulnerable against giving up big plays. The Falcons are eighth in the NFL scoring 26.7 ppg and have only allowed six sacks on Mariota this season. With Myles Garrett not expected to play and Clowney also possibly out, expect the Browns' pass rush to see a drop-off. I will take the over with Cleveland winning 30-28.