These aren’t your fathers Cleveland Browns – or even your 1-year old child’s Cleveland Browns for that matter. Cleveland is 5-7 on the season behind strong play from rookie QB Baker Mayfield. We’ll see just how far the Browns have come – and still need to go – when they take on Denver at Mile High Stadium in the NFL week 15 AFC Saturday free pick. The Broncos are still thinking playoffs, but they need to win out to make that happen. Even so, Denver is just a -2 home favorite in this one.
Are the Browns Good Enough for a Win at Mile High?
It’s been a very, very successful year by Cleveland standards as they still have an outside shot at the playoffs. That’s something you couldn’t say beyond about Week 5 in previous Browns seasons. Cleveland can prove their legitimacy with a win in the NFL week 15 AFC Saturday free pick but how much does the Browns 1-5 road record loom large in this one? Regardless the Browns have won 3 of 4 and they’re getting a good combination of solid offense and defense to get this far.
Cleveland’s offense is led by Baker Mayfield but it’s another rookie in RB Nick Chubb that has provided the team balance. The Georgia product has scored a TD in 5 straight games and should have a fairly productive night vs. a Broncos team ranked 19th vs. the run. Denver gave up a 332 yard passing performance to Nick Mullens and the 49ers last week so Mayfield has potential for a big game. Jarvis Landry had TD’s running and receiving last week in a 26-20 win over Carolina so the Browns are showing nice creativity on offense.
Is Denver Wildly Overlooked In This Contest?
The Mayfield mumps seems to be an illness that is infecting the NFL media but are we vastly overlooking Denver at home in this game? The Broncos have gone just 3-3 at home this season but they’ve beaten Pittsburgh and Seattle at Mile High while losing games by 4 points or less to the Chiefs, Rams, and Texans. Denver is not an AFC elite team this year, but are they at least near the top of the middle tier? The Broncos have played two straight road games and are anxious to get back in front of their fans for a huge Saturday night tilt.
The NFL week 15 AFC Saturday free pick O/U is set at 47.5. On paper the Cleveland defense ranks way down at 31st in the NFL in total yards and passing yards allowed and is 28th vs. the rush. The Browns have held 3 of the last 4 opponents to 20 points or less. Denver isn’t really an explosive offense as they’ve broken 24 points just once since week 1. RB Philip Lindsay was shut down last week with just 30 yards on 14 carries (he had gone for 100+ in two straight). Case Keenum doesn’t turn the ball over (4 TD / 0 INT last four) but he’s also been held to 205 yards or less passing since week 9. Where does the Denver offense come from tonight?
NFL Week 15 AFC Saturday Free Pick – Betting
It’s hard not to like Denver at home in this one, running a very conservative offense and relying on their defense vs. a rookie QB. The Browns are playing with great momentum however and their defense has played better over the last month of the year. Cleveland actually has more balance on offense and they’re not afraid to take chances under interim coach Gregg Williams. Sometimes those risks bite you in the rear – but in primetime they just might work out.
AFC Free Pick: Cleveland Browns -2