The Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns collide on Sunday for a Week 11 showdown that promises to be as exciting as a trip to the dentist. How it will unfold is anybody’s guess, but betting online markets are projecting a win for the hosts and tipping the Browns as the 11½-point home chalk.
|Detroit Lions||+11½ -115||+425||43½ -110u|
|Cleveland Browns||-11½ -105||-550||43½ -110u|
The Detroit Lions have the 4-0 edge in this series dating to 2005. The most recent meeting came in 2017, which the Lions won 38-24. A lot has changed in both these camps, rendering this record a moot point as evidenced by the NFL odds, which corner this game with the Cleveland Browns quite substantially.
Next game: vs. Chicago Bears
The Lions finally didn’t lose a game. They settled on a 16-16 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday instead, putting paid to the notion that they would go 0-17 straight up (SU) this season. Whoopee! But they didn’t win either.
The game was as ugly as the conditions on the day. The incessant rain and sleet likely contributed to the multiple fumbles and drops while the muddy and sloshy turf caused missed tackles, blocks, slips, and injuries. There’s not much one can say about the game really, but that It was terrible in every sense.
Neither team played well, but the Lions did claim the moral victory in the end — small consolation though it is. They fought valiantly in the end and thwarted the Steelers on their last possession with seconds left on the clock to clinch the tie.
Defensive end Austin Bryant (shoulder), cornerback Corey Ballentine (hamstring), running back Jamaal Williams (thigh), and cornerback Jerry Jacobs (groin) are probable. Quarterback Jared Goff (oblique), defensive tackle Kevin Strong (concussion), cornerback AJ Parker (neck), defensive end Trey Flowers (knee), defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu (quadriceps), defensive back Tracy Walker (concussion), running back Jermar Jefferson (ankle), running back D’andre Swift (shoulder), cornerback Mark Gilbert (illness) and tackle Taylor Decker (elbow) are questionable.
Next game: at Baltimore Ravens
Like a deer in the headlights, the Cleveland Browns were laid to waste by the New England Patriots at Foxboro in Week 10. Puzzling, pathetic, awful, confusing, disastrous are just some of the adjectives that have been trotted out to describe the Browns’ 45-7 loss.
The Browns were thoroughly outmatched, outmuscled, and outscored on the field, and Kevin Stefanski was outcoached by Bill Belichick on the sidelines. That wasn’t the end of Cleveland’s woes on a brutal day as Baker Mayfield left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. Although he did have a brutal game himself throwing for barely 70 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
Baker Mayfield throws an INT to Kyle Duggerpic.twitter.com/WjSlD1HgVt
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 14, 2021
In losing, the Browns slipped to 5-5, which has them at the bottom of the AFC North. Interestingly, all four teams in the AFC North lost in Week 10.
Mayfield (knee), wide receiver Jarvis Landry (knee), cornerback Greedy Williams (shoulder), and guard Blake Hance (thumb) are probable. Center JC Tretter (knee), defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (ankle), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (knee), wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (personal), wide receiver Anthony Schwartz (concussion), defensive end Takkarist McKinley (groin), cornerback Troy Hill (neck), and cornerback AJ Green (concussion) are questionable.
Betting on the Game
Lookahead Las Vegas Odds projected Cleveland at -10 and the game total at 46½. The game went off the board on Monday only to return midweek with a bigger point spread. It reopened with Cleveland at -11 ½ and the game total set to 46 points.
At face value, Cleveland’s favor is a reflection of just how bad Detroit is. Nevertheless, it’s still a lot of points to lay with the Browns considering the Browns are coming off a brutal loss and have questions at the quarterback position. It’s not yet certain whether Mayfield or Keenum will start. If Mayfield starts, his fitness is bound to be an issue.
Mayfield is the most banged-up quarterback this season having had issues with his shoulder, arm, knee, and whatnot. He’s soldiering on, getting praise left and right for his commitment and grit. But at what cost?
Separately, it’s worth noting that the Browns have a date against AFC North leaders the Baltimore Ravens the following week — a Sunday Night Football showdown at the M&T Bank Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend. The occasion doesn’t get bigger than Thanksgiving Sunday football, and the national scrutiny that comes with it can be the making of a team and/or player.
For the Browns, it has the potential of becoming a season-defining game. For Mayfield, it could be a career-defining game. The fourth-year quarterback is eager to pen a long-term deal that will see him crack the upper-echelons of quarterback remuneration and join the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, and Josh Allen.
Looking at this game from Detroit’s perspective, one thing that could turn everything on its head is the fact that Jared Goff is a question mark too. Goff didn’t practice on Wednesday. In his place, backup Tim Boyle took the first-team reps.
The expectation is that Tim Boyle will make his NFL starting debut. It’s impossible to tell what Boyle brings, although he spent a year with the Packers (2019) before going to the Lions this year.
All things considered, this game has all the hallmarks of being a trap game for bettors. If the Browns are caught looking ahead, they might just blink here thus failing to cover as the 11½ point home chalk for NFL picks against the spread. Keep in mind, the Lions gave the Ravens a run for their money earlier this season in a 19-17 loss.
Similarly, bettors that are pounding the Lions right now might be left shedding tears after the game like Dan Campbell. Boyle might be the NFL’s Cinderella story, but it’s impossible to know for certain whether the shoe fits beforehand. Then again, if the Lions defense steps up, this could be another low-scoring defensive slugfest that could go either way.
Whichever way this game is sliced against the spread, the under bet for the game total is probably the safest option for this game. Not just because of the quarterback question marks, but the weather report is calling rain and, even, sleet.