CLEVELAND BROWNS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

The Bill Belichick Bowl takes place in Foxboro, as the 5-4 Browns are on the road to face the 5-4 Patriots in a game that could have big AFC playoff implications down the line. 

New England is currently riding a three-game winning streak into this one and find themselves above .500 for the first time this season. Mac Jones has been steady if unspectacular at QB, but he’s lucky not to have had a suspension after his antics in the Carolina game last week. The rookie passer grabbed hold of Brian Burns’ ankle and appeared to twist it, causing injury. I suspect Jones may have one eye on the pass-rush this game in anticipation of retribution from Myles Garrett. 

Cleveland got back on track with a big win over Cincinnati in the battle for Ohio last week. A lot of the news surrounding Cleveland before that game was negative with the OBJ news, but the Browns came out and whooped their state neighbours and divisional rivals 41-16, proving that maybe cutting ties with the former Pro Bowler was the best thing for their offense. What isn’t great for their offense is the loss of Nick Chubb. The lead back will be replaced by D’Ernest Johnson, who in his one previous start this season went for close to 150 yards and a TD on the ground. Tight End Austin Hooper has been a pretty peripheral figure this season, with only one TD on the year and with 2 or fewer receptions in six of his last seven games. You have to wonder how much of a role, if any, the former big FA acquisition will have against a New England side that has historically defended TEs well. 

I think the loss of Chubb for Cleveland and the home advantage for New England give the Patriots a leg up in what I expect to be a close and low scoring affair. 

Spread: Patriots -2.5

Total: 45.0

Game Prediction: Patriots 17-14 Browns

Best Bet: Under 55.5 match points, D’Ernest Johnson over 79.5 Rushing Yards & Austin Hooper under 2.5 Receptions @ 3/1 with Bet365 Bet Builder. [0.5]

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