Week 8 will mark the midway point of the 2019 season for the New England Patriots, who remain undefeated with mostly routine victories. The combined record of all their opponents this season: 12-33.
On Sunday, the Patriots face a 2-4 Cleveland Browns team that is better than its record indicates, they just haven’t shown it much this season.
On paper, Cleveland is the most talented team New England will have faced so far, with dynamic wide receivers, a young but talented secondary, and a merciless defensive line led by former first-overall draft pick Myles Garrett.
But this season, inconsistency from the offensive line and quarterback Baker Mayfield has led to a slow start for a team widely considered by many as a Super Bowl contender. Coming off a bye, the Browns will look to prove they belong in the conversation as one of the NFL’s elite by taking down the reigning champion.
New England, on the other hand, has not only won its last 12 games dating back to last year, but also 19 straight at home dating back to 2017. In his Patriots career, Tom Brady is 138-19 at home, including only 17 losses at Gillette Stadium since it opened in 2002.
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots
Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 4:25 p.m.
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: New England (-11.5 at -105)
Over/Under: 44 (O: -113 | U: -107)
Despite having two of the best receivers in the game — Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. — Baker Mayfield has struggled to find his targets this season. Mayfield is completing passes at just a 56.6 percent clip and has five touchdown passes to 11 interceptions. That includes at least one pick in all of his games and multiple over his last two.
Defensively, Cleveland is sixth in passing yards allowed per game (219.6) even without their two top defensive backs Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward who have both been out since Week 3. But the Browns are third-to-last in the league in rushing defense allowing opponents an average of 154 yards per game on the ground.
New England Patriots
As for the Patriots defense, well they’re atop the league in total yards allowed per game (223.1) and defensive takeaways (22). Eighteen of those have been interceptions — another league-leading mark — as New England has held opposing quarterbacks to under 170 yards passing in its last six games.
On offense, New England has struggled to run the ball but could have a chance to break out on Sunday with rainy conditions expected. Sony Michel is approaching 400 yards on the season and hasn’t really clicked into gear at all this season. Of his 19 rushes against the New York Jets on Monday, 10 were for no gain or a loss.
But the real story will be the debut of Mohamed Sanu in Patriots blue. New England acquired the veteran receiver in a trade on Tuesday and he seems to be gelling with the Patriots offense already.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
The Patriots were heavy favorites the last time Cleveland came to town. But in that game, New England lost a key offensive player for the season and needed a miracle to erase a 12-point deficit with under two minutes to play in a 27-26 win.
Both these teams could cancel each other out defensively, but whatever side establishes dominance in the running game will likely be the victor.
Pick: Take the under and New England with the spread. The Patriots’ defense will struggle early but settle in to overcome an early deficit in a 31-10 win.