Let’s preview Cardinals vs Browns Week 8 and look at all the key information including Odds, Trends & Injuries and then make a solid NFL pick from all we’ve learned.
NFL Odds Overview Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns
The Arizona Cardinals (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) head east to FirstEnergy Stadium In Cleveland on Sunday afternoon to face the Cleveland Browns (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS) in this fun, AFC inter-divisional tilt from the Buckeye State and huge game for the hosts. Right now (Tuesday morning), the visiting Cardinals are 4½-point favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) while the Total in this game is either at 46 (CG Technology) or 47 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). On the Money Line, the favored Cardinals are priced at -215 with the underdog and host Browns are lined at +185 (William Hill) while the Arizona Cardinals Team Total Points has been set at 25 (Ladbrokes) for this game while the Cleveland Browns Team Total Points has been set at 20½ (Ladbrokes). The Advanced Line on this game released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook here in Sin City had the Cardinals open up as 4-point favorites.
Like last season, the Arizona Cardinals (229 PF-133 PA) and QB Carson Palmer (37-33-3 ATS on Road) are in 1st Place in the NFC West, but to be fair, Head Coach Bruce Arians (25-13-1 ATS) and his team started the season off (Weeks 1-5) with some pretty easy competition (Saints, Bears, 49ers, Rams, Lions). The result? A mini-cushion, some valuable Confidence and a team which has scored the most Points in the NFL (229) and one hoping last season—when the Seattle Seahawks closed like Secretariat to win the division—doesn’t repeat itself. Arizona (16/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) seems different though this season, even deeper on Offense and Defense. On Offense, Palmer is back and healthy and the number of decent Skill Position players the former USC signal caller has down in the Sonoran Desert is impressive. Veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald (46 receptions, 622 yards, 6 TDs), WR John Brown (37 receptions, 562 yards, 3 TDs), Michael Floyd (16 receptions, 216 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Chris Johnson (111 receptions, 567 yards, 3 TDs) have been the main production guys to date and with RB Andre Ellington, WR Jaron Brown and TE Darren Fells (9 Receptions, 146 yards, 2 TDs), the O is deep and has shown it knows how to score this season. On Defense, the Cardinals just signed DE Dwight Freeney, and with DE Frostee Rucker, LB Sean Weatherspoon and Arizona has an incredible Defensive Backfield which includes Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu (The Honey Badger), Jerraud Powers, Deone Bucannon—who leads the team in Tackles with 51—and S Rashad Johnson, who already has 3 Interceptions. This is the best this Cardinals team has been and this squad may actually be a bit better than the one which went to Super Bowl XLIII and lost to the Steelers in 2005. On the Injury front, CB Jerraud Powers (Hamstring) and TE Jermaine Gresham (Head) are all listed as Questionable for Arizona for this game while LB Alex Okafor (Calf) is expected to return later this month. LB Kenny Demens (Knee), TE Gerald Christian (Knee), TE Ifeanyi Momah (Knee) and DT Corey Peters (Achilles) are all still on the Cardinals Injured-Reserve List while LB Daryl Washington in Suspended and Out Indefinitely.
The Cleveland Browns (147 PF-182 PA) suffered a very sobering Loss in St. Louis on Sunday in Week 7, falling 24-6 to the Rams despite QB Josh McCown (26/32, 270 yards) having another solid game for Cleveland although he failed to get the football in the End Zone. This week, McCown (Shoulder) is listed as Day-to-Day and will reportedly play here on Sunday if physically capable. according to ESPN Cleveland. If Head Coach Mike Pettine (11-11-1 ATS) can’t have McCown starting against Arizona, backup Johnny Manziel will gain probably get the call and the former Texas A&M signal caller and former Heisman Trophy winner will have to get the most out of Skill guys Duke Johnson Jr., Isaiah Crowell, Travis Benjamin (35 Receptions, 575 yards, 16.4 ypc), Taylor Gabriel, Andrew Hawkins, Brian Hartline and Gary Barnidge (33 receptions, 514 yards, 15.6 ypc), among others, to try to pull off the upset and keep the season alive here. On the Injury front heading in here for the Browns (400/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) besides McCown, DB Charles Gaines (Hamstring), LB Craig Robertson (Ankle), DB Tashaun Gipson (Ankle), DB Joe Haden (Concussion), TE Rob Housler (Hamstring), DL John Hughes (Knee) and WR Hawkins (Concussion) are all listed as Questionable while six other Cleveland players are on the Injured-Reserve List including LB Scott Solomon (Knee), OL Michael Bowie (Shoulder), QB Connor Shaw (Thumb), RB Glenn Winston (Knee) and DB Ifo Ekpre-Olumu (Knee). And of course, athletic WR Josh Gordon is serving his 1-year Suspension for violating the NFL’s Drug Policy for a second time.
Recent Relevant Series Trends and Realistic Game Expectations
The last last time these two met, the Cardinals won 20-17 as 6-point favorite in Glendale in 2011, while in the last meeting here in Cleveland, the Browns won 44-6 in 2003 easily covering ATS. Of note, Arizona will be playing in a Time Zone 2 Hours behind their Body Clocks (MT to ET) and will be coming in off just 5 Days Rest (TWTFS) having played the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football in Week 7, winning 26-18 as Johnson rushed for 122 yards and a TD. But still, the Browns looked pretty stale in Sunday’s 24-6 gridiron curb-stomping by the Rams in St. Louis and will be playing a much better team here on Sunday, either with an injured starting QB (McCown) or a questionable backup one (Manziel). With the Arizona Cardinals playing so well SU—Arizona has won 15 Regular Season games the L2 seasons, 5th best in the NFL— and ATS the L3 seasons and Palmer feeling healthy and having so many nice targets and a nice lead in the West (1½ games over 3-3 St. Louis) and the Defense playing so well, expect the Cardinals to intercept McCown or Manziel a couple of times and roll to an easy cover in Cleveland on Sunday. The health and durability of the starting QBs should be the difference.
PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Cardinals 27 Browns 17