Browns vs Saints Game Preview
The Browns were a few bad calls away from getting their first win since 2016. They rallied against Pittsburgh and held one of the NFL’s most potent offences for the entire overtime. Cleveland showed significant improvement, especially on defence. They surrendered 472 yards but forced six turnovers. This type of playmaking will be critical against a similar high-powered offence in New Orleans.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints got a rude awakening when they lost their home opener against the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Buccaneers. New Orleans, who had a top-ten defence in 2017, got lit up for 529 yards and 48 points. They also lost the turnover battle by two and surrendered a whopping 8.5 yards per play. They are still heavily favoured to beat Cleveland but if that shaky start was a sign, this team is in trouble.
Believe it or not, the Browns hold the edge over the Saints. Cleveland is 4-1 against New Orleans since their revival in 1998. Brees is only 1-2 against the Browns and New Orleans is winless against them at home. History isn’t on the Saints’ side, but they are still the superior team. It’s just a matter of tightening up on defence as the Browns are not pushovers this time.
Browns vs Saints Game Prediction
Picking either of these teams is difficult. The Saints are the worst defensive team in the league following their Week 1 shellacking and the Browns are still the Browns. But at the current odds, it’s better to go with the big underdogs in Cleveland. And one word summarizes it: defence.
Cleveland forced six turnovers versus the Steelers, a team that is just as explosive as the Saints. This is a team that will struggle to stop the Saints from moving the chains, but they can make critical plays to make up for their lack of fundamentals.
Offensively, Tyrod Taylor is a solid quarterback. His poor passing performance against Pittsburgh is due to chemistry issues and with a week to develop, he can only improve. If not, he can still use his legs like he did last week.
It’s tough to envision the Saints dropping two straight home games. Taylor isn’t the same passer as Fitzpatrick and Brees is still the best player in this game. But the Saints’ defence is atrocious and Cleveland is 3-0 in New Orleans.
Pick: Cleveland Browns (+300)
It’s unlikely that both teams will combine to score 88 like the Saints and Bucs did last week, but the lack of defence and explosive Saints’ offence will make this a high-scoring affair. Both Cleveland and New Orleans combined to allow a thousand yards and even defensive adjustments won’t fix fundamentally flawed teams.
Brees and the Saints’ offence are good to score at least 30 points even if the Browns are skilled at stopping scoring plays. And the Browns showed they can score under pressure. This game will have fireworks.
Pick: Over 50 (-110)