NFL Picks: Browns vs. Patriots

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, December 5, 2013 8:33 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 8:33 PM GMT

The Browns have dropped their last three and are playing out the string while the Patriots are poised for the postseason but which team is the right team to back in our NFL odds on Sunday?

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Cleveland Browns (4-8 SU, 5-7 ATS)

The nadir of the Browns season came last week when they surrendered the deciding touchdown pass in the waning moments of the game to the hometown kid made good, Cecil Shorts.  Unfortunately for the Browns and their fans, the Cleveland kid was in a Jacksonville Jaguars uniform and his 20-yard TD grab put the nail in the coffin for this wayward franchise. The Brownies dropped a 32-28 decision as seven-point home chalk in NFL odds and the one aspect of their game that they have relied so heavily on, their defense, betrayed them to one of the worst, statistically speaking, teams in the entire league.

However, if there was one silver lining it was and continues to be the prodigious production of second-year Baylor product Josh Gordon.  All Gordon has done over the past two games, ironically both losses, is haul in 24 passes, score three touchdowns and post an absurd 498 yards receiving.  Let’s give some credit to Brandon Weeden who tossed for 370 yards and three TD’s against the Jags but also delivered two picks. 

The ground game has been a casualty in all of the recent aerial acrobatics but it’s primarily out of necessity rather than choice. The trade the Browns made when they dealt former number three overall pick in the 2012 draft Trent Richardson has left them relying on a formerly dynamic runner who is well past his prime in Willis McGahee.  If it gives Cleveland fans any solace, Richardson has not been setting the world on fire in Indianapolis and the Browns now have an extra first-round draft choice to do what they do - not best but often- and that’s plan for the future.

New England Patriots (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS)

They say “on any given Sunday”…and that’s about the only part of the quote that I know but it means that any team, any time can beat another in the NFL.  That almost happened last week in Texas when the Patriots saddled up and met the Texans in Houston as seven-point travelin’ chalk in NFL odds.  But it seems the Patriots almost enjoy the second half histrionics which continues to fuel the legend that is the comeback kid Tom Brady. 

Last week the Pats were down by 10 at the half but it was a deficit that appeared almost destined to dissipate with Brady waiting in the wings for his encore performance.  Sure enough, New England roared back with valuable contributions from not just Tom Terrific but a pair of bulldozers named James Develin and LeGarrette Blount who both accounted for TD’s in the second half leading to a 34-31 Patriots victory.

Free NFL Pick:

The Patriots are 6-0 straight up at home and 5-1 against the number in NFL odds but many are concerned that this will be a comedown from their last two games where the team rallied against a seemingly insurmountable lead when they hosted Denver two weeks ago and then last week against Houston.  However, I ask you how can you be so euphoric over a win against a 2-10 team that you’ve somehow lost your passion for the game the following week?

No ladies and gents, it’s not going to happen and the Patriots will have a decent lead after the first half because Belichick understands that allowing this first-half malaise to continue will most certainly lead to an early postseason exit. Take New England for your NFL pick.

NFL Pick: New England -10 at WilliamHill.com

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