The San Francisco 49ers will put their undefeated record on the line as they host the Cleveland Browns in primetime on Monday Night Football.
The San Francisco is 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread, not covering in a very sloppy game against the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers.
The Browns have taken a very interesting route to 2-2, but are coming off their best win of the season last week — a 40-25 pounding of the Baltimore Ravens.
The 49ers are currently listed as 5-point favorites for the game with a total of 47 points.
Here’s some background on the teams and advice on who to back in this one.
49ers Perfect so Far, but Still Have a Lot to Prove
San Francisco is one of just two undefeated undefeated teams in the NFL, the Patriots being the other. However, wins over the Buccaneers, Bengals and Steelers — who have a combined 3-12 record — don’t have everyone quite convinced that the 49ers will be a juggernaut this season.
“A lot of people on this team don’t get credit they deserve, so Monday we’re going to showcase that,” 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin said.
The Niners gave the Steelers every chance to beat them before their bye week, turning it over a whopping five times. However, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis with 1:15 remaining to clinch the win.
“It’s never perfect,” cornerback Richard Sherman said after the game. “We didn’t play perfect today but our record is perfect.”
Garoppolo has thrown an interception in every game this season. He’s collected 739 yards and 5 touchdowns to go with 4 interceptions.
“What I like about him is he knows, and we all feel the same, that you’ve got to do everything you can to avoid a turnover. Just sitting there and holding onto the ball, it’s very tough to win that way also,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He’s very cognizant of it. Bad things do happen. I do like that he’s still not scared to let it rip. When it goes into last week and stuff or two weeks ago, I know we had a ton of turnovers, but two of his throws I thought were decent throws, they just got tipped and the center-quarterback exchange and the two fumbles. I know we had a lot of them last week, but I didn’t blame Jimmy for any of them.”
Browns Banged up but Getting Healthier
The Browns were clicking last week in a blowout of their rival Baltimore Ravens. It was the first game in Browns history they had a 300-yard passer (Baker Mayfield), 150-yard rusher (Nick Chubb) and 150-yard receiver (Jarvis Landry), according to Elias Sports Bureau. And on top of the big performances, head coach Freddie Kitchens added wrinkles to the offense that had the fanbase initially excited when he took over — whether that be an option play between Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, or a deep pass from OBJ.
It was by far the best game of the season for Baker Mayfield, who showed poise in the pocket and trust in his offensive line. The former No. 1 overall pick completed a season high 66.7% of his passes for 342 yards and one touchdown.
The Browns have had some uneven performances this season — most notably a 43-13 loss to the Titans in their season opener. However, help may be on the way offensively as the team is getting healthier. The wide receiver corps is slated to be at full strength for the first time this season with Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins on track to suit up.
Callaway had been suspended the first four games of the season and Higgins was dealing with a knee injury that has kept him out since Week 1.
Browns vs. 49ers: Trends, Prediction & Pick
Here are some trends to keep in mind going into the game, courtesy of Odds Shark.
- The Browns are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games after an ATS win.
- The 49ers are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games after a bye.
- The total has gone UNDER in the Browns’ last 5 games at night.
The 49ers have a top-five defense, but that almost didn’t matter a week ago when the offense nearly gave the game away. The team’s 3-0 record is nice, but it depends how much weight you put in those wins.
There’s growing momentum with the Browns, who have enough talent between guys like Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Myles Garrett to hang with anyone in the league. The inconsistency is scary for a bettor, but first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens seems to have found the winning formula with his play calling and Nick Chubb (398 yards, 4 TDs) will continue to be a difference maker.
Expect to see the Browns cover on the road, with a chance of a straight up win in the cards.
- Pick: Cleveland +5
- Total: Over
- Prediction: Browns 31, 49ers 24