Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) at Cleveland Browns (2-5-1)
I’ve been going against the Chiefs in recent weeks because when everyone knows a team is good, it’s tough to get good line value with them. As well as they’ve played, they are just 2-2-1 ATS in their last 5 games. This week though, it’s the Chiefs or nothing in this game, as the Browns are unbettable in the wake of their coaching change. It’s not that Hue Jackson was doing a good job or anything, but with both him and Todd Haley going out the door and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams taking over as interim head coach, the Browns’ offense is now in the hands of running backs coach Freddie Kitchens, a career position coach who has never called plays at any level. With an inexperienced rookie quarterback under center and a banged up receiving corps, the Browns could easily be a dysfunctional mess on offense this week, more so than usual.
The Browns haven’t been playing well in recent weeks anyway, hence why Jackson was let go. After a promising 2-2-1 start, the Browns have lost 3 straight and sit at 2-5-1 with a -41 point differential (27th in the NFL). That’s despite the fact that they’ve benefited from a league leading +11 turnover margin, which is not reliable week-to-week. In terms of first down rate differential, they rank just 30th at -6.07%, only ahead of the Cardinals and the Bills.
The Chiefs are also in a great spot because they have another easy game against the Cardinals on deck, a game in which they are 14.5-point favorites on the early line. Favorites of 7+ are 79-49 ATS before being favored by 7+ again the following week, as top level teams tend to take care of business against inferior teams with no upcoming distractions on their schedule. The Chiefs still have issues on defense and Justin Houston could be held out of a game they can easily win without him, despite his return to practice after a 3-week absence this week, so it’s hard to get too excited about the Chiefs as 9-point road favorites, but this could easily be a blowout in Cleveland.
Kansas City Chiefs 27 Cleveland Browns 17
Pick against the spread: Kansas City -9