Week 8 NFL Picks: Browns Cannot Afford to Look Past Raiders

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 4:47 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 4:47 PM UTC

If the Cleveland Browns really expect to contend for a playoff spot in the AFC, they can't be losing to teams like the Oakland Raiders in Week 8. Cleveland opened as a 7-point home favorite on BetOnline's NFL odds with a total of 43 points. 

Browns Snared in Trap
Cleveland got caught in the definition of a letdown/trap game on Sunday, losing at previously winless Jacksonville 24-6 as a 4-point favorite on NFL odds. It wasn't just Jacksonville's first win but also first time scoring more than 17 points this season. You could see this coming in a way. Cleveland was riding  high off a win over nemesis Pittsburgh and everyone was talking about how good Brian Hoyer was and whether Cleveland might make the playoffs.

Well, Hoyer wasn't good against the Jaguars, going just 16 of 41 for 215 yards with a interception against one of the NFL's worst defenses. Cleveland had 266 total yards and turned it over three times. The Browns entered the game fourth in the league in rushing yet had only 69 yards on the ground. The team clearly missed Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, who is out for the season. How is this for a statistic: Cleveland gained one yard or less on 65 percent of its plays (48 of 74) and was 4-for-17 on third-down conversions. The Browns could manage only three points off three Blake Bortles interceptions. It was the first time they failed to score at least 21 this year. Jacksonville gashed the Cleveland defense for 185 yards rushing.

On the bright side, Cleveland has followed each loss this season with a victory. And it could be unbeaten at home with the lone blemish there a 23-21 Week 3 defeat to Baltimore on a last-second field goal. The Browns actually got a call from Seattle last week to see if they were interested in trading for Percy Harvin. Seattle asked for tight end Jordan Cameron but was rebuffed by Cleveland GM Ray Farmer.

Cleveland is 3-3 against the spread at sportsbooks and 2-0-1 ATS at home.

Where are the Sharps looking in Week 8?

Another Lost Year in Oakland
Oakland thus is the lone team remaining without a win. It has topped 14 points just once thus far. The Raiders lost 24-13 at home to Arizona on Sunday as 3.5-point underdogs on NFL odds to continue the team's worst start since 1962 (defensive tackle Antonio Smith has a personal 20-game losing streak as he was a member of the Houston Texans in 2013). Oakland had only 220 total yards and 13 first downs. Rookie QB Derek Carr was 16 of 28 for 173 yards with no touchdowns. Oakland simply doesn't have any offensive playmakers.

It has dropped 12 straight dating to last season and 0-16 is looking more and more like a possibility. A loss here and 0-10 seems a lock as the Raiders then visit Seattle, host Denver and visit San Diego. The Raiders' best chance to win, other than this game, is probably Week 16 at home vs. Buffalo. Maybe Week 17 at Denver if the Broncos have the top seed in the AFC locked up and sit a bunch of regulars.

It's possible the Raiders get back cornerback D.J. Hayden this week. He was placed on the PUP list to start the season with a stress fracture in his foot. He's eligible to play starting in Week 8. Hayden was the team's No. 12 overall pick last year and is looking like a bust thus far. Oakland safety Usama Young suffered a knee injury in the loss to Arizona and could be lost for the season. Young was starting because of a season-ending Week 3 foot injury suffered by Tyvon Branch.

Oakland lost 20-17 to Cleveland in Week 13 of the 2012 season in the teams' last meeting. The starting QBs back then were Carson Palmer for Oakland (he is who beat the Raiders on Sunday) and Brandon Weeden for the Browns.

The Raiders are 3-3 against the spread at sportsbooks and 2-0 ATS on the road.

NFL free picks: Give the points and go 'under' the total with your Week 8 NFL picks. That Jacksonville loss will really awaken the Browns players. Any chance Oakland had of being overlooked vanished with that defeat.

comment here