Despite their 1-2-1 record, the Cleveland Browns’ performance through the first quarter of the season has been encouraging.
In going 1-31 in 2016 and 2017 the Browns would find ways to lose games they were almost certain to win, often making poor decisions, having poor execution or, more often than not, a combination of both.
But the Browns of 2018 have played differently, showing the ability to rally after they’ve given up leads. The Browns certainly have the look of a team that could contend for a Wild Card this season.
Keep in mind that last season four teams – Buffalo, Jacksonville, the L.A. Rams and Tennessee – all ended Playoff droughts of nine seasons or more. Could this be such a season for the Browns?
Indianapolis (+10) at New England (51.5): These teams have provided plenty of entertaining battles over the past decade. Andrew Luck is starting to round into form after missing all of last season due to injury but his arm is still not back to full strength. And that plays into the strength of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. NEW ENGLAND
Baltimore (-3) at Cleveland (47.5): Baltimore has looked very good in starting 3-1 both SU and ATS. The Browns have looked better than their 1-2-1 record might suggest and they are also 3-1 ATS. Cleveland rookie QB Baker Mayfield continues to develop and as part of that process makes both brilliant plays and occasional poor decisions. CLEVELAND
Jacksonville (+3) at Kansas City (48.5): The Chiefs remained unbeaten with their dramatic come-from-behind win at Denver Monday night, overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and overcoming their first test of adversity this season. The Jags continue to win with a pedestrian offense and a solid defense. JACKSONVILLE
Tennessee (-3.5) at Buffalo (39): Following an opening-week loss in a long weather-delayed game in Miami, the Titans have won three in a row, including wins over Jacksonville and Philly. Yet all three wins have been by exactly a FG, which makes it uneasy to lay at least if not more than a FG, especially on the road. BUFFALO
NY Giants (+7) at Carolina (44.5): The Giants have a major concern at QB as Eli Manning is showing not just his age but his increasing lack of mobility. Carolina is rested following its Bye and still features a solid defense. CAROLINA
Denver (+1) at NY Jets (42.5): Denver came as close as any team has in taming the Chiefs on Monday night but lost 27-23. The Jets played a bad game in Jacksonville, losing 31-12 despite winning the turnover battle 3-0. Coach Todd Bowles continues to baffle with his many curious decisions, especially involving the kicking game. DENVER
Atlanta (+3) at Pittsburgh (57.5): Pittsburgh clearly misses RB Le’Veon Bell and have gone scoreless in the second half of each of their last two games. Atlanta has one of the NFL’s top offenses but also one of the weakest defenses. The situation favors more of a bounce-back effort from the Steelers. PITTSBURGH
Green Bay (-1.5) at Detroit (50.5): Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers continues to look uncomfortable and appears to still be affected by the beating he took opening night against Chicago. The 1-3 Lions have played well following their opening Monday night blowout loss to the Jets. Yet past class counts for a lot in the NFL, especially when it comes to QB play. GREEN BAY
Miami (+6) at Cincinnati (50): Miami was in the wrong place at the wrong time and the result was a 38-7 blowout loss at New England last week that followed their 3-0 start. Cincinnati continued to be another of the early-season surprises and is also 3-1 following their last-second win in Atlanta. The Bengals, however, lost TE Tyler Eifert for the season due to injury. The Cincy defense has played well against the run but has allowed 3 of its first 4 opponents to pass for over 300 yards. MIAMI
Oakland (+5.5) at LA Chargers (53.5): Oakland has started to show some improvement over the past few weeks and finally played a better second half in defeating Cleveland. The Chargers struggled more than expected in their win over San Francisco. All four of their games have gone over the Total whereas three of Oakland’s four have stayed under. OAKLAND
Arizona (+4.5) at San Francisco (41): San Francisco had several leads in last week’s loss at the Chargers with backup QB C.J. Beathard having both very good and very bad moments. The Cardinals lost their fourth straight game but could easily could have, or should have, won each of their last two. ARIZONA
Minnesota (+3) at Philadelphia (44.5): This is major revenge for the Vikes who remember vividly their 38-7 NFC title game loss to the Eagles on this field last January. They also enter this game at 1-2-1 following an ugly home loss to Buffalo and last Thursday’s loss at the Rams. The Eagles have yet to display the form they showed in winning last season’s Super Bowl. MINNESOTA
LA Rams (-7) at Seattle (51): The Rams have quickly become a huge public team this season with their 4-0 SU and 3-0-1 ATS records. They’ve scored at least 33 points in each game while also playing solid defense. After starting 0-2 Seattle has won two straight but were fortunate to win last week in Arizona. UNDER
Dallas (+3) at Houston (45.5): Both teams have been early-season disappointments, an opinion backed up by each being 1-3 ATS. Houston has played three of its first four games on the road which gives them an edge here. HOUSTON
Washington (+6.5) at New Orleans (52.5): The Saints have one of the top offenses in the NFL and have been involved in two very high-scoring games, both against Division rivals. Washington is not nearly as potent on offense but its defense has played well. UNDER
Last week: 8-7