Free NFL Picks: Browns at Chiefs Odds and Week 8 Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/23/2013
You could make an argument that we in a golden age of NFL quarterbacks. There are the lock Hall of Famers still going strong like Denver's Peyton Manning, New England's Tom Brady and New Orleans' Drew Brees. Aaron Rodgers is well on his way to Canton and has an MVP and a ring. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and the NY Giants' Eli Manning each have two Super Bowl rings. Then you have the really exciting up-and-coming guys such as Andrew Luck, Colin Kapernick and Robert Griffin III. And the very-good-but-not-quite-elite veterans along the likes of Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Joe Flacco, Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler.
But now look at some of the guys who will be starting this week: Josh McCown for the injured Cutler; Christian Ponder for the injured Josh Freeman, who started Monday because Ponder was so lousy; Bucs third-round rookie Mike Glennon; Rams career backup Kellen Clemens for an injured Sam Bradford; Thad Lewis for an injured E.J. Manuel; Chad Henne only because Blaine Gabbert stinks; and, last but not least, Jason Campbell ahead of former Browns No. 1 pick Brandon Weeden.
Indeed, the 1972 Miami Dolphins players will have to wait to pop the bubbly this season because it's pretty clear the Kansas City Chiefs will remain the NFL's only unbeaten by beating the visiting Browns in Week 8. And that leads to the very likely possibility that K.C. is 9-0 when it visits Denver in Week 11 in a game that could play a big role in which team has the top seed in the AFC and wins the West or which has to play a road wild-card game.
Browns at Chiefs Betting Story Lines
Campbell himself is a former first-round pick and once thought to be the future QB of the Washington Redskins. The Browns showed life under former journeyman Brian Hoyer but have lost two straight Weeden starts since Hoyer went down for the season in Week 5 against Buffalo. Weeden was just 17-of-42 for 149 yards last week in a 31-13 loss to Green Bay. Weeden is 32nd in the league in completion percentage, 31st in yards per attempt and 30th in rating. This guy is just in his second year but already 30 years old. What a wasted first-round pick that was in 2012.
Campbell will be the team's 20th starter at the position since 1999. He was actually decent as the Raiders' starter to begin 2011 as Oakland started 4-2, but then Campbell got hurt and the Raiders made the disastrous decision to trade for Carson Palmer. Campbell started a Monday night game last season at San Francisco -- Kaepernick's national coming out party -- and was 14-of-22 for 107 yards with two picks, albeit against a tremendous defense. He is the opposite of Weeden: Campbell, who is 31-40 career as starter, can't throw deep and will dink and dunk, much like his Kansas City counterpart Alex Smith.
How lucky can Kansas City get? It already has faced Gabbert and Terrelle Pryor this season. In Week 5 at Tennessee, the Chiefs got to face Titans backup Ryan Fitzpatrick because Jake Locker was hurt. Last week, they dealt with Case Keenum in his first NFL start instead of Matt Schaub. So, yes, Kansas City leads the NFL in scoring defense (11.6) and sacks (35) and is third in passing defense, but consider the competition is all I'm saying. Keenum actually was solid last week, going 15-of-25 for 271 yards with a TD and no picks. The Chiefs also barely had to deal with an injured Arian Foster as well.
Chiefs QB Smith, a first-round pick like Campbell in 2005, hasn't thrown a touchdown pass the past three weeks and is completing just 54.8 percent of his passes in October with two picks and a rating of 64.3 compared to 89.9 in September. Kansas City has five TDs in 13 red-zone trips in the past three games, so it has had trouble finishing. Cleveland has a pretty solid pass defense and ranks No. 1 in yards per attempt allowed. Its opponents' QB rating of 79.9 is ninth-best in the league.
Browns at Chiefs NFL Week 8 Betting Odds and Trends
At WagerWeb, Kansas City is a 7.5-point favorite (about the lowest I've seen it) with a total of 39.5. The Browns are 3-4 ATS (1-2 on road) and 3-4 “over/under” (1-2 on road). The Chiefs are 5-2 ATS (2-2 at home) and 1-6 O/U (0-4 at home). Cleveland is 1-4 ATS in its past five following an ATS loss. The Browns are 1-6 ATS in their past seven after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game. Kansas City is 4-10 ATS in its past 14 against teams with a losing record. The under is 7-1 in Cleveland's past eight after passing for less than 150 yards in its previous game. The under is 14-6-1 in the Browns' past 21 after a loss. The under is 14-3 in Kansas City's past 17 home games against teams with a losing road record.
Free NFL Picks: Browns at Chiefs Week 8 Betting Predictions
These teams met Week 14 last season, with the Browns winning 30-7 at home. It was Cleveland's biggest margin of victory since 2003. Jamaal Charles rushed for 165 yards on 18 carries with a TD, but otherwise Kansas City did squat under Brady Quinn. Weeden started for Cleveland and was solid. Trent Richardson had two one-yard TD runs, and Travis Benjamin had a 93-yard punt return for a score. The loss started K.C. on its season-ending four-game skid, which led to the No. 1 overall pick (and thus far disappointing tackle Eric Fisher).
If this game is close and it's entering the fourth quarter, don't panic Chiefs fans. They have outscored opponents 57-17 in the fourth quarter this season. Nine of K.C.'s 19 takeaways have been in the fourth. The Chiefs won't play great Sunday but won't need to in order to cover. Something like 23-10, so take the under.
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