Los Angeles Chargers (2-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-2)
The Browns lost last week in Atlanta, but that wasn’t that surprising as the Falcons are a competitive, if underwhelming team and the Browns were missing key players on defense, most notably Myles Garrett, arguably the best edge defender in the league. Garrett will be back this week for the Browns, who, despite last week’s loss, still rank 5th in offensive efficiency and have an offense that ranks significantly above average in my roster rankings, due to their offensive line, running game, and efficient quarterback play.
The Browns haven’t faced that tough of a schedule, but they could easily be 4-0 right now if Garrett had played last week and if they had recovered an onside kick against the Jets and, in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, which takes into account their easy schedule, but not Garrett’s absence, the Browns rank 13th, despite last week’s loss. Despite that, the Browns are 2-point home underdogs against the Chargers, who rank just 28th in schedule adjusted efficiency.
Four games is a small sample size and the Chargers are more talented than their rank in schedule adjusted efficiency suggests, but they’ve also had significant injury problems this season that have led to them not being as good as expected. Center Corey Linsley and cornerback JC Jackson returned last week, but left tackle Rashawn Slater and edge defender Joey Bosa took their place on the injured list, while wide receiver Keenan Allen has been out since getting hurt during their week 1 game.
Those five aforementioned players are five of their most important and, missing what they’re missing, I have the Chargers about a point behind the Browns in my roster rankings, in addition to being 6.5 points behind them in schedule adjusted efficiency. Given that, the Browns should be favored by at least a field goal at home, so we’re getting good line value with them as home underdogs, even if only by a couple points. The Browns are worth a significant bet this week, both against the spread and on the money line.
Cleveland Browns 24 Los Angeles Chargers 20 Upset Pick +115
Pick against the spread: Cleveland +2