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MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 26: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings looks to throw the ball during the first quarter in the game against the Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Adam Bettcher/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Adam Bettcher / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

The Cleveland Browns descend on the Minnesota Vikings at the US Bank Stadium in an intriguing matchup delicately poised on the NFL odds board. Books opened with Cleveland -1.5, but the NFL line moved up to 2 points since Sunday. The public, however, is all over the hosts at early doors, grabbing Minnesota plus the points for NFL picks.

So, will the Browns come through as the road favorites? Will the Vikings defy the NFL odds and come through with the cover or, even, home win? Find out in this betting preview that delves into this matchup and serves up NFL predictions.

Cleveland Browns vs. Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, October 03, 2021 - 01:00 PM EDT at US Bank Stadium

Cleveland Soars Behind Two-Game Winning Streak

Baker Mayfield and the Browns recovered from a disheartening Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, reeling off back-to-back wins to improve to a 2-1 record. They beat the Houston Texans 31-21 in Week 2, but with some effort after falling behind 14-7 in the first half. Then, in Week 3, they took advantage of the clueless Chicago Bears as they romped to the 26-6 win.

The Browns are locked in a three-way tie with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens (all 2-1 SU) in the AFC North standings. Therefore, the Browns are under pressure to keep pace. Having two wins under their belts will give them a measure of confidence to extend their winning form, but it’s not going to be a cakewalk against a Vikings outfit that is equally motivated to continue winning.

This is the toughest matchup for the Browns since their season opener against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Vikings aren’t at the same level as the Chiefs, but they’re a solid outfit with the potential to do some damage.

There’s also the ties that bind these two teams to consider: Kevin Stefanski. It’s going to be a bit of a homecoming for Stefanski, who spent an incredible 14 years in Minnesota as he worked his way up the ranks. Stefanski started as the assistant to the head coach in 2006 and finished as the offensive coordinator in 2019. Indeed, the last post with the Vikings earned Stefanski the head coaching job in Cleveland.

Minnesota Clinch First Win

The Vikings were slow out of the gates and succumbed to a surprising 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. In their second game, the Vikings put in a spirited display against the Arizona Cardinals on the road. It was a right cracker with back-and-forth action, but the Vikings came up short in the 34-33 decision.

After back-to-back road games, everything finally came together for the Vikings in their season home-opener as they delivered a 30-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks at US Bank Stadium. It marked their first win of the season and a convincing one to boot.

Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates with Kirk Cousins #8. David Berding/Getty Images/AFP.

The Vikings may be under .500, but four points combined decided the outcome of the first two games. It’s fair to say, had those fallen their way, the Vikings would have boasted a 3-0 record, in which case perceptions would have been different. They would likely have opened as the home favorites for this Week 3 contest across sports betting sites and not the Browns.

Browns vs. Vikings NFL Predictions

Both these two teams have explosive offenses that can light up in the blink of an eye. It’s going to be fascinating to see how well they match up, not least because of their respective connection with Kevin Stefanski. The Browns might have the edge on defense over the Vikings, but not since Week 1 has the D-unit faced a creative, pass-happy quarterback that can move the chains efficiently.

Tyrod Taylor had the Browns on the ropes before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. Rookie Davis Mills took over in the second half, but he was outplayed and ill-prepared, and the Browns ran away with the victory. The Browns defense had a field day with Justin Fields, but that was partly down to Matt Nagy sending the Ohio star into the game like the proverbial lamb to slaughter.

Bettors shouldn't read into that result as it's grossly misleading. Remember, this is the same defense Taylor ran circles around the previous week.

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense should give the Browns defense matchup headaches. Indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Vikings actually defy the NFL odds after all and deliver the so-called upset. Take Minnesota as the small home pup for your NFL picks.

NFL Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.