NFL Picks: Bet Vikings -5.5 over Browns

David Lawrence

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:03 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 4:03 PM GMT

The Cleveland Browns and the Minnesota Vikings are both 0-2. Teams that fall to 0-3 have very low odds of making the playoffs. Who will beat the NFL betting Odds in Week 3 and move to 1-2?

It is not too early in the season to say that this is a must-win game for both teams. The margins become very small if you can’t right the ship by the end of week three in any National Football League campaign.

Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings

Odds: Minnesota -5.5

The Browns can win because…

They have the kind of opponent that can give them the game. If you watched the Minnesota Vikings’ game against the Chicago Bears last Sunday for any appreciable length of time, you saw the two teams blunder their way through a comically bad NFC North Division affair. Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder and Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler traded all sorts of mistakes, showing just how much both teams have to do to match the standard set by the Green Bay Packers’ offense and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Cleveland’s defense has not been in any way responsible for the Browns’ 0-2 start. Cleveland contained Miami in week one and did an even better job against Joe Flacco and the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in week two. Cleveland’s defense should certainly be able to hold Minnesota under 21 points in this game if not more. At the very least, if Cleveland can limit the Vikings to 14 or 17 points, it’s well within the Browns’ ability to win this game and get a positive result on the board in 2013. The NFL is being reminded how flawed a quarterback Ponder is. The pro football community is seeing why the Vikings overachieved in 2012 and are due for a regression to the mean this season. Ponder snuck up on people last season, but coordinators are game-planning to take away his speed and mobility, daring him to beat them as a pocket passer. You can see the results for yourself; Ponder is not making the grade, and as a result, the Vikings appear poised to miss the playoffs unless they can quickly regroup.

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The Vikings can win because…

Their opponent’s offense is even worse than their own offense. Minnesota is certainly struggling, but the word “struggle” doesn’t seem to begin to capture the entirely of the Browns’ offense right now. This is an offense that is almost as bad as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense, and that’s really saying something, given that the Jaguars’ offense has scored a total of only nine points this season. (The Jaguars’ other two points came on a safety in week one against the Kansas City Chiefs.) Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer is an unknown commodity. There’s a reason he hasn’t been a starter in the NFL. Ponder will at least make a big play every now and then. He’s sloppy, but he can still make things happen. People who make NFL picks know that the same can’t be said for Hoyer at this point in time.

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Outlook & NFL Football Betting Prediction:

The Vikings are bad but the Browns are noticeably worse. Can you actually take the Browns in any spot with your sports picks these days? Minnesota, playing its home opener, is going to be revved up and ready for this contest. Cleveland is likely to be overwhelmed in the second half, so take the Vikings on the NFL odds.

NFL Picks: Minnesota -5.5 at Bet365

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