Browns vs. Patriots Odds, Predictions, NFL Picks: New England Is Overvalued In Week 10
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Baker Mayfield.
- Browns vs. Patriots odds remain unchanged, with New England listed as a short home favorite for NFL Week 10.
- Find out how our analyst is betting Browns-Patriots with his predictions and pick below.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
When the Browns fell at home to the Steelers in a typical AFC North bloodbath, Cleveland slowly becoming an afterthought in the AFC contender conversation. Baker Mayfield was clearly injured and underperforming. Odell Beckham Jr. was causing off-the-field drama. There were injuries everywhere on both sides of the ball.
The Browns entered Cincinnati as an underdog in Week 9, a market-low point for a team that two weeks earlier was a 3.5-point favorite against undefeated Arizona. The preseason lookahead line was Cleveland by 4.5 — the market had really soured on the Browns.
How did they respond? By thoroughly dump-trucking the Bengals 41-16. The pass rush looked the part, and the offense was crisp and efficient. The Browns looked the part of the AFC contender tabbing they had been given in the preseason.
Cleveland isn’t the only team coming in riding high. The Patriots, led by a swarming defense, are winners of three straight, including an upset win over the Chargers in Los Angeles. It wasn’t Halloween last weekend, but Bill Belichick brought back the ghosts for Sam Darnold, as Carolina’s offense was shut down in a 24-6 win.
New England has generated a lot of buzz this week. Some of the media talking-heads are putting this team into Super Bowl contention, drawing parallel’s to Tom Brady’s first season as the starter. That means the Patriots should surely be favored at home against a fellow 5-4 team that is missing its star RB and has an injured QB, right?
Wrong. Cleveland is the better football team, with a now healthy defense and an offense that has been extremely unlucky on late downs. The Browns pass rush can make life difficult for Mac Jones.
The value in this spot is on the Dawg Pound — here’s why.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Browns vs. Patriots Injury Report
- DE Tak McKinley (groin): Out
- CB Greedy Williams (shoulder): Questionable
- RB Damien Harris (concussion): Out
- LB Jamie Collins (ankle): Doubtful
- RB Rhamondre Stevenson (concussion): Questionable
- LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (ribs): Questionable
- LB Dont’a Hightower (ankle): Questionable
- CB Jalen Mills (thigh): Questionable
- LB Kyle Van Noy (groin): Questionable
- WR N’Keal Harry (knee): Questionable
- TE Jonnu Smith (shoulder): Questionable
- OL Shaq Mason (abdomen): Questionable
Browns vs. Patriots Matchup
|Browns Offense||DVOA Rank||Patriots Defense|
|Browns Defense||DVOA Rank||Patriots Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Browns Offense is Due for Positive Regression
The 2021 Browns offense has been on the wrong side of variance in two ways: injuries and bad luck on late downs.
Let’s start with the injuries. Only at tight end have the Browns been spared of significant, game-changing injuries.
The offensive line is probably the healthiest it’s been all season, and boy is this unit important for this football team. RT Jack Conklin remains on the IR, but the rest of the unit — including All-Pro C JC Tretter and both All-Pro guards — are healthy. Every single player on the Cleveland offensive line has been hurt at some point this season, and it’s great to see them mostly healthy.
Mayfield is still playing through injuries, but he looked better against Cincinnati. The RB situation is a bit of a mess, as it has been all season. Nick Chubb has missed a handful of games, and Kareem Hunt remains on the IR. D’Ernest Johnson handled himself well against the Broncos, but he won’t even have Demetric Felton to spell him this week. Fortunately Jarvis Landry is back to help the short passing game.
Despite all the injuries and time missed from impactful players, the Browns offense grades out well. This unit is top 10 in Success Rate and Expected Points Added (EPA) per play. This is definitely the best rushing attack in the NFL, thanks to that dominant offensive line.
The numbers don’t tell the full story, however. This offense should continue to get even better if it can somehow minimize bad luck on late downs.
In general, early-down metrics are more predictive of future success than late-down metrics. Third- and fourth-down data tends to be noisier and varies wildly from week to week and game to game.
This is great news for the Browns, who are by far the best offense on early downs this season. Cleveland leads the league in EPA/play on early downs, including ranking top five in both passing and rushing. On late downs the Browns are 27th, behind the Jaguars and Panthers. Part of that may be not change, as you could argue that Mayfield’s injury makes him worse in obvious passing downs. But given Cleveland’s early-down success rate, it’s more likely that this team will start converting on more late downs.
If it does, watch out.
Patriots Offense is Overrated
Mac Jones is being graded on a curve this season. While he has outperformed his fellow rookie quarterbacks, this New England offense is still a bad unit.
The Patriots are currently one of eight teams with a negative EPA/play — that is, they lose win probability on average when they run a play. They share that honor with the likes of the Bears, Giants and Dolphins. Early downs haven’t been much kinder, as their metrics are similar.
This passing attack is extremely limited. Jones has a bottom-five average depth of target (aDoT), relying on short passes and screens to try and stay ahead of the chains. Jones has a top-five expected completion percentage on his throws this year, which means the Patriots are making things easy for him.
The vaunted rushing attack from last season, with an elite offensive line, has not really materialized. The Patriots shockingly rank 25th in run-block win rate, which has hampered their success on the ground. They will miss Damien Harris this weekend and Rhamondre Stevenson is still questionable after both missed practice all week.
Browns Have Formula to Stop Pats
The Cleveland defense has been underwhelming on the surface, but like the offense, this unit has been extremely injured. It would take too long to list all of the injuries this unit has had.
The most important piece of news in this game is that Myles Garrett will go. Combined with Jadeveon Clowney, this front has absolutely dominated opponents this season, ranking second in pressure rate and first in pass-rush win rate. Garrett and Clowney are the NFL’s premier pass-rushing duo right now, and they absolutely made their presence felt last weekend against Joe Burrow.
The Browns are doing this despite a bottom-10 blitz rate. This gives their now healthier secondary plenty of opportunities to slow down opponents. The Browns ranked third in success rate allowed and have been extremely stingy against short passes — the exact offense New England wants to run.
Cornerback Greedy Williams looks good to go here, giving Joe Woods all his secondary weapons. And it appears rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Komoroah — PFF’s third-ranked LB — is going to be back as well. JOK gives Cleveland another elite tackler and a counter to New England’s heavy TE sets.
Cleveland’s defense is 20th in EPA/play allowed despite all this. But like its offense, the early-down metrics are elite — Cleveland ranks fifth in EPA and first in success rate allowed on early downs. The Browns are giving up successful plays at a 39% rate on early downs, forcing tons of third-and-longs. With Garrett and Clowney fully healthy, this pass rush should continue to dominate and turn those numbers around.
Jones has wilted under pressure this season. His passing grade drops to 60.8, and his QBR falls from 95.6 to 73.2. If Cleveland can continue to dominate on early downs and put New England in third and longs, it could turn into a very long day for Jones.
NFL Pick: Browns vs. Patriots
Cleveland’s numbers don’t tell the full story this year, and we as bettors are the beneficiary. This team is due for positive regression on both offense and defense, and the injury report is as good as it’s been in several weeks.
The Browns have advantages all over the defense. Their offensive line remains a juggernaut, so Mayfield won’t have to do much in order for Cleveland to get it done here. And in-game decision making? Kevin Stefanski is one of the best at going for it on fourth down when he should. As for Bill Belichick, he is dead last so far in terms of win probability lost by punting instead of going for it. In a tight, physical game, one extra possession may be the difference.
Home-field advantage has been chronically overvalued this season in the market, with home teams winning on average by less than half a point in 2021. New England has some home-field advantage, but even with a conservative advantage, I have Cleveland as a favorite.
The Browns have the formula to finish off a game with a lead. I prefer them on the moneyline over the spread here, but I don’t fault anyone for splitting the two.
Pick: Browns ML +120 | Bet to: -105
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