NFL Football Betting: Atlanta Falcons at Cleveland Browns

NFL Football Betting:  Atlanta Falcons at Cleveland Browns

The Atlanta Falcons are in serious rebuilding mode and there seems to be some progress being made. Atlanta went 4-12 and 6-10 in Mike Smith’s final two years at the helm (and honestly they were lucky to achieve even those mediocre records). Smith was sent packing and the team hired Dan Quinn who had served as the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator over the past two seasons. He didn’t have much in the way of personnel (particularly on the defensive side of the ball) but the Falcons managed to improve to 8-8 in his first year.

Cleveland was a miserable 3-13 last year and that was it for Mike Petine as coach. Somehow he managed to survive two seasons with a record of 10-22. The new head coach is Hue Jackson who was unceremoniously dumped in early 2012 after one season as Oakland’s head coach. This was not a popular move with the players or the fans as the team seemed to be making progress under Jackson. The way that the Raiders finished the 2011 season was his undoing–Oakland opened the year 7-4 but went 1-4 down the stretch and failed to reach the playoffs. It’s likely some vindication that they immediately slipped to 4-12 in the following season. Jackson spent the next few years with Cincinnati in a number of roles eventually becoming their offensive coordinator. After a number of ‘false starts’ Jackson could actually improve the culture in Cleveland–he’s a very underrated head coach.

The Browns opened their preseason last week with a competitive 17-11 loss at Green Bay. Jackson was pleased with the effort and that sets up a good betting spot as the team returns home. Jackson makes his preseason debut and that’s the usually strong ‘new coach in first home game’ angle. Atlanta won last week (and covered the spread) but that concealed a problem that has bedeviled the Falcons for awhile now–the second half collapse. Atlanta led 13-3 at halftime against the Redskins in Week One but was outscored 14-10 in the second half. That’s a bad sign for any team and particularly one installed as a favorite. We like Jackson as do his players and he should get a nice effort from his team here.