The Cleveland Browns have the OVER at 3-0 this year. That was the hot football pick for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers – but can San Diego keep up?
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 30: 12-7 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 6-9 Total
You gotta hand it to the Cleveland Browns. They may be the single worst franchise in the NFL, but what they lack in talent, they sure make up for in entertainment value. Maybe that's been the plan all along. This year's team finds itself in its customary spot near the bottom of the efficiency charts at Football Outsiders (No. 30 offense, No. 26 defense, No. 2 special teams), with a list of injuries that reads like a Crimean War novel.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers (No. 14 offense, No. 23 defense, No. 28 special teams) have one foot out the door and the other in Los Angeles. This could be a very long season for both teams. It could also be a hella ugly game this Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS) when they meet at The Q. There's a 45-point total on our NFL odds board at press time, and given the two defenses in question, the sharps were unanimously on the OVER in early betting.
That's normally a pretty strong indication we should put the OVER in our NFL picks, too. But the tide turned Monday evening; our consensus reports show the UNDER pulling in 53-percent support, where things remain at press time. Interesting. We're looking for a specific piece of news that may have caused this shift, but frankly, so many things are going on with both teams that it's hard to isolate any one event.
We could definitely take a step back and bemoan what's happened to the offensive lines. The Browns made some headlines on Tuesday when they fired OL coach Andy Moeller, who had been on suspension following an assault investigation – Moeller didn't end up facing charges, but was let go anyway. Cleveland has allowed 10 sacks with George DeLeone in Moeller's place. Paul Dunn was hired on Thursday to assist DeLeone, so maybe things will improve eventually.
King of Pain
San Diego's offensive line has been an issue for a while now, and things got worse on Wednesday when three linemen were held out of practice: LT King Dunlap (concussion), LG Orlando Franklin (ankle) and center Chris Watt (groin). RG D.J. Fluker (ankle) put in a full practice, which is good, but the Chargers also had to put LG Johnnie Troutman (arm) on IR after he couldn't heal quickly enough from his preseason injury.
This is going to throw a wrench into our plans. The OVER is 3-0 for the Browns this year, mostly because of their bad defense, but the Chargers have gone UNDER in each of their last two games as their offensive line falls apart. Also, there's a 40-percent chance of rain at kick-off. We'll go with a very small wager on the UNDER, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.
Free NFL Pick: Take UNDER 45 (-105) at Heritage