The Browns head to the left coast after their biggest game of the season as a 3.5-point underdog against the unbeaten 49ers with a total sitting at 46.5.
The money has been on the Browns in this game, as they opened as a 4.5-point underdog and as of Thursday they are a 3.5-point underdog.
The Browns are coming off their best win of the season in a 40-25 win over the Baltimore Ravens, who they are now tied with atop the AFC East. Baker Mayfield has taken the jabs from the critics but played well in the game and Cleveland rushed for nearly 200 yards.
The 49ers are coming off a bye week, so they will be rested for this Monday night matchup. They are undefeated and in first place in the tough NFC West and while they are balanced and have the league’s 2ndranked rushing offense their last two wins came facing teams with one combined win.
These teams have not met since the 2015 season.
Chubb Goes Big
Most of the press has been focused on Mayfield, but the big star in the Browns win over the Ravens was Nich Chubb, who rushed for 165 yards and three TD. He had a 88-yard TD run in the game and ranks 4th in the league in rushing yards.
Mayfield did his part in the Baltimore win passing for 342 yards going 20/30 with one TD and one pick. Jarvis Landry had 167 receiving yards but suffered a concussion late in the game and is questionable for this Monday game.
Odell Beckham Jr. only had 20 receiving yards in the Ravens game but has opened up the other WR and if Landry cannot go, he will be counted on to be the #1 WR.
Ok, so San Fran has not faced tough teams but their young defense has still been solid ranking 5th in the league defending the run and 6th defending the pass.
A Win is a Win
In their last game the 49ers were at home and beat the, then, winless Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20 even though they had five turnovers. They outgained Pittsburgh 436 yards to 239 yards and while they coughed up the rock five times, they did force two turnovers.
In the Steelers game Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 277 yards and a touchdown and he lost a fumble and also had two INT. George Kittle led the team in receiving yards and the 49ers do not have a great WR corps but they have played well early this season.
Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida combined for 147 rushing yards in the win over Pittsburgh and on the season they not only each have over 200 rushing yards but each is averaging at least 5.5 yards per carry.
San Fran has only given up two sacks on the season and they will be tested by a solid Cleveland pass rush led by x Myles Garrett, who has the 2nd most sacks in the league.
The Browns rank 7th in the NFL defending the pass but only 21st defending the run, so look for the 49ers to attack that run defense early and often. If Jimmy G has to lead the team it favors the Browns.
Cleveland has covered the spread in their last four road games while the 49ers have covered the spread in only 17 of their last 24 home games.
I look for a close game in this one, but also look for some Mayfield magic. Cleveland will put up a fight in San Fran, well, Santa Clara, and they may not get the W but they will cover getting 3.5 points.
PICK: Browns +3.5