The New Orleans Saints (0-1) hope to rebound at home this Weekend as they host the Cleveland Browns (0-0-1). Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, September 17th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game will be televised on FOX.
Oddsmakers originally had the Saints listed as 8-point home favorites. That line has increased only slightly, as New Orleans is currently available at -8.5. The total for this matchup is 50 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 2 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Saints vs Browns Vegas Odds & Game Preview
New Orleans couldn’t find a way to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend despite an impressive performance by QB Drew Brees and the rest of the Saints offense. Brees passed for over 400 yards while adding three touchdowns en route to leading his team to a 40 point afternoon. WR Michael Thomas was borderline unstoppable, making 16 receptions while racking up 180 yards and a touchdown. RB Alvin Kamara was also fantastic, finding the end-zone on three separate occasions on almost 150 total yards.
However, as has been the problem in the past, the New Orleans defense was nothing short of atrocious. Despite facing veteran backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Saints got torched for 48 points. Fitzpatrick passed for over 400 yards and threw four touchdowns in his first start filling in for starter Jameis Winston. Many expected the Saints to have one of the better defensive units in the league this season, but that certainly was not the case in Week 1. The leaky secondary was the biggest reason why the Bucs managed to score on six of their first seven possessions.
As semi-sarcastically pointed out by NBC, the Browns got off to their best start since 2004 – yes, in 14 years – by tying the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-21 in Week 1. It surely must have felt like a victory to both players and fans after Cleveland went 0-16 during the 2017-18 season. New starting QB Tyrod Taylor looked at least semi-serviceable, throwing for almost 200 yards and adding a touchdown. He also chipped in with 77 yards on the ground – including a rushing touchdown. WR Jarvis Landry had a big debut as well, racking up over 100 yards receiving on seven receptions. Josh Gordon had a relatively quiet afternoon, although his only catch was certainly a big one – a game-tying touchdown reception with just minutes left in the 4th quarter.
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Cleveland +8.5
I’m definitely in the minority on this one, but I think the Browns will manage to find a way to keep things close for a second straight game against a superior opponent. New Orleans has repeatedly shown that they are slow starters and are in danger of dropping to 0-2 out of the gate for the fifth season. While I think that they will ultimately emerge victorious on Sunday afternoon, I think Cleveland makes them work for it and stays within a touchdown for all four quarters. Gordon and Landry should both have big games against a secondary that just gave up four touchdowns and 400+ yards receiving.
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Cleveland also looked much better defensively last weekend, recording four sacks and recovering an impressive three fumbles against the Steelers. . Yes, it certainly helped that it was pouring rain all afternoon in Pittsburgh. However, it still shouldn’t take away from the fact that they held Antonio Brown to under 100 yards receiving – something that only happened six times all of last season. They also forced QB Ben Roethlisberger into making several poor decisions, including three interceptions.
The Browns are an impressive 4-1 ATS over their past five meetings with the Saints. New Orleans, on the other hand, is just 7-19 ATS over their past 26 meetings with an AFC North opponent. They are also just 2-5 ATS over their past seven games. Finally, the underdog is a perfect 5-0 ATS over the past five meetings between these two teams.
Ultimately, I think Cleveland’s ability to rush the ball should keep them in this game. As a team, they recorded almost 200 yards on the ground last weekend against a historically strong run defense. This will definitely help against the Saints, as New Orleans won’t be able to focus solely on shutting down the Browns passing attack. I think Jarvis Landry will have a monster game in the slot on Sunday, which will also open things up for Josh Gordon and the deep ball.
New Orleans should be able to improve to .500 on the season, especially since they are playing at home for the second consecutive weekend. I certainly like the over on 50 points as well, since both offenses should have little trouble finding the end-zone in this one. Ultimately, I think Cleveland puts on another strong performance and hangs tough against an inconsistent New Orleans team. Browns lose but manage to cover the number in another offensive shootout at the Superdome.