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The Cleveland Browns are eliminated from the postseason and play as spoilers
Washington Commanders need this home win vs the Browns to play in the postseason
Watch Browns vs Commanders live on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, at 1:00 PM ET on FOX
Browns vs Commanders Odds
Highest Scoring Quarter
1st Quarter (+425)
2nd Quarter (+225)
3rd Quarter (+390)
4th Quarter (+200)
POINT SPREAD: Cleveland Browns +2.0 (-110) at Caesars
POINTS TOTAL: Under 40.5 (-110) at BetMGM
SPECIAL: Highest Scoring Quarter – 2nd Quarter (+225) at WynnBet
The NFL season is now in Week 17 and the 6-9 Cleveland Browns are eliminated from postseason contention, but they look to spoil the playoff chances of the 7-7-1 Washington Commanders who have been winless for three weeks in a row but somehow still cling to one of the NFC’s three Wildcard seeds, their home crowd at FedExField most likely a huge asset in this one.
The oddsmakers tell us that the Washington Commanders have covered the spread in each of their last three games against teams that held a losing record and that the Cleveland Browns have lost six of their last seven games played on the East Coast, but what they might not take into account is how desperate Browns QB Deshaun Watson is to prove he can still be productive under center.
While Cleveland can brag about having a more productive offense than Washington, it’s a different story on the other side of the ball, with the Commanders' defense ranked fourth in the league and the Browns' defense 16th overall, their DC Joe Woods-directed squad guilty of some serious lapses in coverage this season, failures that have helped to keep them from yet another postseason.
The experts tell us that Washington has only given up 24 or more points four times this season (and lost all four of those games), whereas each of the Cleveland Browns' last five games have reportedly gone under the total points line, with neither of these teams big scorers – Cleveland’s offense averages 21.5 ppg and Washington’s averages 19 ppg, that total of 40.5 exactly what BetMGM predicts.
The key to the Browns' winter offense is RB Nick Chubb whose 2022 numbers (89.6 yards per game, 4.9 yards per carry, 12 TDs) should give Commanders DC Jack Del Rio plenty to game plan around, but that should theoretically open things up for QB Watson who will be facing the Commanders top-7 pass defense that has kept opponents to just 199 passing yards per game.
Don’t forget, this game will take place in FedEx Field in Maryland which is an outdoor venue subject to whatever winter weather that area is experiencing, so if temperatures drop and the wind starts blowing expect the offensive game plans to include plenty of ground attacks, a slower roll which could create a lower points total, something to consider before placing this bet.
Here is a curious Special Bet from WynnBet whose oddsmakers are asking bettors to predict which of the four quarters in this game will be the highest scoring, a fun way to put some mid-game action into play, so we take the second quarter where a $100 bet would pay winners $225 plus the original investment, with each quarter offering its own set of odds (see above) including for a tie.
Scoring has not been happening in Cleveland since QB Deshaun Watson stepped in under center in Week 13, so far 2-2 but with unimpressive numbers – 71/123 (57.7%), 703 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs – but he had a 700-day break from the game of professional football, with this Week 17 Commanders matchup the perfect time for him to return to his prior top-5 QB form.
The Commanders should start QB Cason Wentz who seems recovered from his ring finger injury, the veteran temporarily replaced by his worthy backup, Taylor Heinicke, who has gone 5-3-1 in the meantime, both benefitting from the excellent deep threat pass catching skills of WR Terry McLaurin who has caught 72 balls off 109 targets this season for 1,092 yards and 4 TDs.
What: Cleveland Browns vs Washington Commanders
Where: FedExField in Landover, MD
When: Sunday, January 1, 2023, at 1:00 PM ET
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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