Lions-Browns Odds, Predictions, Picks: Where Our Expert Sees Value On This Week 11 Spread with Jared Goff Out
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Goff.
- Looking for the latest Lions vs. Browns odds? The spread has moved from Browns -11.5 to as high as -13 as of Sunday morning.
- With Jared Goff now officially inactive, find out whether there is still betting value on this Week 11 NFL matchup.
Lions vs. Browns Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Gun Lake. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Detroit Lions had their best game of the season in Week 10, when they managed not to lose against the Steelers. That has prevented the Lions from joining the ranks of teams that lost every game in a season, a club that currently consists of … the Lions and the Browns.
While Detroit would surely like to avoid a winless season, it faces a tough test on Sunday. The Lions are 11.5-point underdogs to the 5-5 Browns, who are coming off a 45-7 demolition at the hands of the Patriots and have a great chance to right the ship this week.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Lions vs. Browns Injury Report
- RB Jemar Jefferson (knee/ankle): Out
- T Matt Nelson (ankle): Out
- OLB Trey Fllowers (knee): Out
- QB Jared Goff (oblique): Doubtful
- RB Jamaal Williams (thigh): Questionable
- WR Trinity Benson (knee): Questionable
- T Taylor Decker (elbow): Questionable
- S Tracy Walker (concussion): Questionable
- WR Anthony Schwartz (concussion): Out
- CB A.J. Green (concussion): Out
- CB Troy Hill (neck): Out
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin): Questionable
- DE Takkarist McKinley (groin): Questionable
Lions vs. Browns Matchup
|Lions Offense||DVOA Rank||Browns Defense|
|Lions Defense||DVOA Rank||Browns Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
No Goff, No Problem For Lions?
There’s not much positive that can be said about the Lions’ passing offense this season. After a decent start to the season, Jared Goff has played horribly as of late, and the Lions could live with a game manager instead. This is an offense built around running the football and short passes to tight ends and running backs.
However, Goff failed miserably at that. Over the last five contests, he has taken 16 sacks and thrown four interceptions to just one passing touchdown.
Head coach Dan Campbell rightly noted earlier in the season that the Lions’ margin for error in 2021 — given their limited talent — was effectively zero. Goff has made far too many of them for the Lions to have a chance at success this year.
The former No. 1 overall pick is unlikely to play this week, though, having missed practice with an oblique injury. On Friday, he was listed as doubtful for this game.
Markets seemed to react to that move, with the Lions picking up a point or point and a half from the opening number. However, I’m not sure how much of a downgrade backup Tim Boyle really is at this point.
The “strength” of this Lions offense is the run game. Detroit finally had all of its starting offensive line active on Sunday against the Steelers and ran for 229 yards at 5.9 yards per carry. If the Lions can replicate that on Sunday, they’ll at least have a chance to keep this game close.
Defensively, the Lions have also struggled significantly. Between a general lack of talent and injuries to key players, they haven’t had much of a chance this year.
The offense’s inability to stay on the field hasn’t helped much either. While there have been bright spots — like holding the Ravens and Vikings under 20 points — this defense has a long way to go. Detroit’s defensive line has been a major issue, one that could be exploited by the Browns on Sunday.
Browns Offense Missing Hunt
The Browns are the best running team in the NFL this season, sitting in a tie for first in rushing yards per game and first in yards per attempt.
The talented running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (out for Week 11) has something to do with it. However, even with both of them out D’Ernest Johnson rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries last week for more than five yards an attempt.
Regardless of which running backs are available, the Browns should have no problem running the ball against the Lions. That’s the good part.
However, the offense has struggled without Hunt. With him in the lineup, the Browns are averaging 26 points per game, which would be 11th in the league. However, that number drops to 18.75 without Hunt. Especially without Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland desperately needs Hunt’s play-making abilities.
Cleveland’s defense has surprisingly struggled this season, and much of that falls on its secondary. Ranking so poorly against the pass despite a top-three adjusted sack rate is a bad sign. Either way, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem against the Lions. Against the league’s worst receivers, secondary struggles can be masked.
The battle in the trenches will be key for the Browns defense though. Cleveland is 12th in DVOA against the run and seventh in adjusted line yards. On paper, that’s a clear win against the Lions offense, which is 21st in adjusted line yards.
However as noted above, the Lions are a different group up front with tackle Taylor Decker back in the fold. The Steelers’ run defense (nine in line yards, 17th in DVOA) is fairly similar to the Browns, and Detroit ran all over Pittsburgh last week.
NFL Pick: Lions vs. Browns
Given the struggles of the Browns offense without Hunt and the Lions’ ability to run the ball, it’s hard to see this one turning into a complete blowout. Detroit has played better teams close this year, with single-digit losses to the Ravens and the Rams.
So ultimately, what this pick boils down to is how much of a downgrade Boyle would be from Goff.
Personally, I’m expecting it to be an upgrade if anything. As bad as Goff has been, he’s looked even worse since suffering his injury. The Lions realize this too, having him attempt only 25 passes in last week’s overtime game. Detroit went as far as to run the ball — multiple times — on third-and-long instead of trusting Goff to make a play.
However, when news of Goff missing practice broke, the spread in this one moved even higher. If you think there’s no way Boyle can play worse than Goff, that’s an irrational move.
So, as scary as it is to say, I’m on the Lions +11.5 this week, but that’s as low as I’m willing to go in backing them.
Pick: Lions +11.5 | Bet to: +11.5
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