Ringing in 2023 with Wild Card Stakes
The Cleveland Browns will visit the nation’s capital for the new year as they take on the Washington Commanders. Cleveland’s playoff hopes ended after Week 16’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, but it could play spoiler. The Commanders are desperately trying to fix their struggling offense with a change at quarterback. Washington holds the NFC’s No. 7 seed with a half-game lead.
Neither team has performed well against the spread (ATS) over the last three weeks with the Browns going 1-2 while the Commanders went 0-3.
Browns vs Commanders Betting Lines
Incoming Coaching Change in Cleveland?
The 17-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 16 eliminated the Cleveland Browns from the playoffs. However, there is still plenty to play for.
Coach Kevin Stefanski could be on the hot seat, and certainly will be if Cleveland loses the final two games. At times, his situational play-calling has been questionable. Ultimately, the Browns have been too inconsistent during his tenure. Cleveland could also look to make a move with various intriguing coaching candidates available, like Sean Payton.
Over the last three games, the Browns are averaging only 11 points and have been under six yards per pass attempt in the last two games. Quarterback Deshaun Watson could have another rough game against the Commanders, who rank seventh in allowed passing yards per game. Cleveland will likely lean on its run game, which is fifth in yards per game, as Washington ranks 19th in allowed yards per carry.
The Browns are 1-4 and 2-3 ATS in their last five away games. Will Cleveland finally perform away from home?
Washington Must End Two-Game Skid
It’s now or never for the Washington Commanders. Following the 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Commanders were fortunate that other contending Wild Card teams lost, like the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. With two games left, Washington holds +180 odds to make the postseason.
The offense has been the main issue in the last four games. It is averaging only 17.8 points, which would be the NFL’s fourth-worst average on the season. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke’s magic has worn off, which has led to Carson Wentz being named as the starter for Week 17. This decision will make or break the Commanders’ season.
Taking down the Browns is a must-win, especially when Washington will face the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18. The Commanders’ defense must shoulder the load, which ranks fourth in yards per game. If Washington can limit Cleveland’s top-five rushing attack, it has a great chance to win. In the previous game, the Commanders held strong against the run for most of the game, but they allowed an early 71-yard scoring run by San Francisco’s Ray-Ray McCloud III.
Browns vs Commanders Game Injuries
Browns vs Commanders Head-to-Head
The Commanders are 3-1 and 2-2 ATS in their last four matchups with the Browns. In addition, Washington has won three consecutive home games against Cleveland.
Browns vs Commanders Game Information
- Game: Browns vs Commanders
- Date/Time: Sunday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET
- Location: FedEx Field, North Englewood, MD
- How to watch Browns vs Commanders?: FOX
Browns vs Commanders Live stream: NFL Game Pass
Browns vs Commanders Game Weather Conditions
The forecast calls for a high of 52°F with a 90% chance of rain. However, the wind is expected to stay under 10 mph, so the weather should not be a major factor.
Browns vs Commanders Picks & Prediction
Predicted Score: Commanders 21, Browns 16
- Worth Betting on the Moneyline?
The Browns’ run defense has been an issue most of the season, ranking 25th in allowed rushing yards per game. Washington heavily relies on the run, ranking eighth in attempts per game. Plus, the Commanders have averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry in three of the last four games. Washington RB Antonio Gibson (foot, knee) is questionable, but rookie Brian Robinson has gotten the majority of the workload with at least 15 carries in four of the last five games.
- Worth Betting ATS?
This is a toss-up game as Washington is favored by one point. The Commanders are 2-1-1 ATS in their last four home games while the Browns are 2-3 ATS in their last five away games. With a win, Washington will also cover by winning the ground game.
- Worth Betting on the Totals?
The 40½ projected total feels like too much. The Browns haven’t reached 14 points over the last three games, and the Commanders rank 24th in points per game. Plus, both teams will likely be run-heavy, which could lead to fewer possessions by both teams. Cleveland has gone under in five straight, and Washington has hit the under in three of the last five. Go with the under.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.