Heading into Week 6, only one undefeated team remains. The Cardinals (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) will look to maintain their immaculate record against the struggling Browns (3-2, 3-2). Cleveland lost some traction in Week 5, falling to the Chargers in a high-scoring contest, and returns to FirstEnergy Stadium to begin a three-game homestand.
Opening Odds Analysis
Given the fact that these teams are trending in opposite directions, it is shocking to see the Browns as favorites, though as we all know, home teams are often given the benefit of the doubt despite recent performance. The total is understandably high – the Cardinals are one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, while the Browns put up 42 points in Week 5.
Arizona News & Notes
The Arizona Cardinals are the real deal. They’ve blown away opponents in four of their five games, including the now 4-1 Rams and 3-2 Titans, and have responded admirably to one of the most daunting schedules in the league.
Kyler Murray continues to be the team’s on-field leader. Although he failed to earn significant yardage on the ground last time out, he has not thrown an interception in two straight games. Eliminating interceptions is a sign of maturity for Murray, who threw four in his first three games.
Although all eyes seem to be on Arizona’s offense, the defense has been a pleasant surprise this season. They are ranked as one of the top units in the league, allowing the fourth-lowest conversion rate on third downs (31.58%).
Cleveland News & Notes
If Week 5 proved anything, it was how valuable Jadeveon Clowney is to this squad. The pass rush truly missed his presence as the Browns gave up a whopping 47 points to the Chargers after holding the Bears and Vikings to six and seven points respectively. It remains to be seen if he’ll be available for this matchup.
Having him in the lineup would be a huge boost given the fact that Kyler Murray can produce the same results as Justin Herbert.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt continue to be the best running back tandem in the league. But Baker Mayfield clearly lacks a star receiver, which has been evident in his performances. Four passing touchdowns in five games is certainly a poor return.
However, Mayfield is fresh off his best game of the season and must ride that confidence as he takes on an impressive Arizona defense.
How Arizona Will Cover
If Cleveland is without Jadeveon Clowney once more, Kyler Murray will definitely torch the Browns secondary. They just aren’t equipped to deal with Murray, especially if he has extra time to find his star receivers. There’s no doubt Chubb and Hunt will be tough to stop but Arizona’s defense has looked superior to Cleveland’s.
How Cleveland Will Cover
It will take Baker Mayfield’s best performance of the season to earn a positive result here. This Arizona roster has very few exploitable weaknesses. The Browns will need to use home-field advantage and hope that they can pressure Murray more than they did Herbert.
Computer Pick: Browns -2.5
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