NFL Football Preview: Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns

NFL Football Preview:  Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns

A pair of 3-2 teams face off on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns host the Detroit Lions. Detroit is coming off a lackluster loss at Green Bay where the Packers held them to 9 points. The Browns have been playing good football lately winning three straight games including last week’s contest against the Buffalo Bills. That was a costly victory, however, as the Browns lost sensational rookie quarterback Brian Hoyer to a season ending knee injury. That means Brandon Weeden returns as starting quarterback–he played reasonably well in relief last week against Buffalo though he didn’t get much help from his teammates allowing him to get sacked five times.

Cleveland was a popular pick to improve significantly before the season. The theory is that Brandon Weeden would benefit from Norv Turner as offensive coordinator, running back Trent Richardson will continue to improve and the defense will gel under first year head coach Rob Chudzinski. At least part of that equation is already out the window–Richardson was traded to Indianapolis. We generally like head coach Chudzinski though aren’t solid on Weeden–with or without Turner. The Browns do have a veteran backup behind him in former Oakland starter Jason Campbell. To their credit, the Browns seem to have reacted positively to the Richardson trade. While many of the Cleveland fans took it as a sign that the team was ‘throwing in the towel’ the Browns’ players have played with a lot of emotion since the move.

Detroit has struggled on the road in recent years going 8-12 SU away from home since 2011 and failing to cover five of their last six away games. That being said, we think they’ve got too many weapons on offense for Cleveland to stop and that’ll put the undependable Weeden in a position where he has to try and trade points with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson (listed as ‘probable’ after missing last week’s game). The good news that came out of the loss at Green Bay was the play of the Lions’ defense which held the Packers to one touchdown. We’ll overlook the road struggles of the Lions and lay less than a field goal with them here.