The Cleveland Browns are coming off of a rousing Week 6 win over the San Francisco 49ers that showed this group's incredible fight. Without Deshaun Watson, or Nick Chubb for that matter, and battling the elements, Kevin Stefanski's squad still managed to knock off the NFL's last remaining undefeated team.
This was the type of victory that highlights why the Browns are a legitimate playoff threat. Their top-ranked defense can keep them in games against anyone, and they still have playmakers on offense who can change the tides of a matchup in a hurry.
Despite this signature win, however, oddsmakers are sleeping on Cleveland once again.
The Browns are only 2-point opening favorites over the Indianapolis Colts ahead of their Week 7 clash. Cleveland's also being put on upset watch with Indy only +105 to win on the moneyline, which is yet another example of disrespect toward Sirianni's team.
To this point of the 2023 season, Indianapolis has been nothing more than mediocre. They've only beaten one team with a winning record (the Baltimore Ravens), while being outclassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and falling to the unimpressive Los Angeles Rams.
The numbers show how so-so the Colts have been as well. They're No. 14 in offensive DVOA and No. 17 on defense, making them nothing more than a middle-of-the-pack squad.
Not only are they a run-of-the-mill performer, but they're now starting Garnder Minshew at quarterback after losing their dynamic rookie QB Anthony Richardson. Minshew was a disaster in Week 6, throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble against the Jags, which directly led to 17 points for Jacksonville.
Minshew is the exact kind of mistake-prone signal-caller that Cleveland's defense (No. 1 in DVOA) will absolutely take advantage of -- not only through the air, but in pass-rushing situations as well. Another average part of Indy's game is its offensive line, which ranks No. 16 in sacks allowed per contest. That means they shouldn't provide any real resistance to Myles Garrett and co., setting them up to take down Minshew regularly and possibly punch the ball out as well.
The Browns' QB situation will likely hold this matchup back from being a true blowout, but backup P.J. Walker was still able to make just enough plays to get the win against San Francisco. Cleveland's backfield also coming alive in Week 6 with Kareem Hunt scoring a touchdown and Jerome Ford going off for 84 yards -- against the 49ers' front line, no less -- is a great sign for this unit out of the bye.
With the clear talent advantage on defense and the offenses being in similar spots, I love the Browns' chances of covering this spread easily.
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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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