Defensive Question Marks to Alter Saints-Browns NFL Odds

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 3:10 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 9, 2014 3:10 PM UTC

Despite losing in Atlanta in Week 1, the Saints will enter this Sunday's road game in Cleveland as the clear-cut favorites. Where's the best place to go with our NFL picks for Week 2?

* * U P D A T E * *

As we anticipated, the NFL odds have continued to move throughout the week, as the spread opening number of six has been pushed to six-and-a-half and seven at the top online sportsbooks. The Saints are obviously favored.

New Orleans gave it a good go Week 1 in Atlanta, but the team's defense let them down in a big way. 

You'd have to think the Saints should be able to fare better in that department against a short-handed Browns team, but stranger things have happened in the NFL. We've learned that the hard way.

Cleveland staged a huge comeback in Pittsburgh last Sunday, but still ended up on the losing side. The Browns are without Josh Gordon, and now Ben Tate is out with an injury, which leaves rookie Terrance West as the starting running back for this date with New Orleans.

Despite losing to the Falcons, we're still high on the Saints, and we're of the opinion they'll have little trouble gliding past Cleveland in Week 2. New Orleans has the far more potent offensive personnel, and Brees should be licking his chops after what the Steelers were able to do to Cleveland in the opener.

Look for New Orleans to get the job done and win by at least a touchdown.

NFL Pick: Saints -7 at 5Dimes

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* * O R I G I N A L * *

An opening line of six has stayed still for now, but as usual there's a lot of time left for the lines to move. We wouldn't be surprised to see the public hit New Orleans hard, which in turn would drive the NFL odds up to seven points or perhaps even higher.

It's going to be a tricky call in terms of the total, which currently stands at 47.5. On one hand you've got a potent New Orleans offense, and then you've got the Browns, who despite scoring plenty against the Steelers, don't have the most talent in the world.

Cleveland Browns in 2014-15 regular season: 0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS, -3.0 margin of victory

New Orleans Saints in 2014-15 regular season: 0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS, -3.0 margin of victory

Both the Browns and Saints lost by three in their openers, though the former was able to cover as pretty large underdogs in Week 1.

Cleveland looked done and dusted in Pittsburgh after going down 27-3 by halftime. However, the Browns staged a miraculous comeback, reeling off 24 straight points to tie things up at 27, only for the Steelers to convert a field goal as time expired. Cleveland can be proud of that effort in the second half though.

It took a while for him to get going, but Brian Hoyer rose to the occasion by throwing for 230 yards and a touchdown, without throwing a pick. Terrance West performed better than Ben Tate, running 16 times for 100 yards, but it was Isaiah Crowell that found the end zone twice in the loss. Andre Hawkins was the only Cleveland receiver to catch more than two passes.

It was a struggle defensively for the Browns, however, and that's something the Saints can most definitely relate to.

New Orleans was also able to jump out to an early lead, going up 20-10 at halftime. However, the Saints couldn't stop Matt Ryan, allowing 20 points in the second half to end up losing by three.

As usual, Drew Brees (333 yards, one touchdown, one interception) got the job done, while Mark Ingram ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Brandin Cooks and Pierre Thomas combined for 327 receiving yards in the losing effort.

Heading into Week 2, a better defensive effort is needed from both teams. Which unit will rise up? Our top NFL picks for this matchup will be released later on this week.

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