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Thursday Night Football Preview: Broncos at Browns

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A pair of 3-3 teams will kick off Week 7 of the NFL season tonight. Both teams are reeling, as the Broncos have lost three in a row and the Browns have dropped two straight. Which team can break out of their slump tonight in Cleveland?

Cleveland is currently favored by three and a half points and the total is sitting at 42. Let’s break down each team’s offense and defense to see which team has the edge. We’ll also provide a Best Bet.

Denver Offense vs. Cleveland Defense

The biggest question for this Denver offense is whether or not QB Teddy Bridgewater will play. The former Louisville star is banged up with a foot injury but has put up great numbers this season (1,514 passing yards, 10 TDs, 4 INTs). If Bridgewater can’t play, Drew Lock will be under center for the Broncos.

As a whole, the Denver offense has struggled this season. They only average 21 points per game (22nd) and 5.7 yards per play (19th) (teamrankings.com). However, the Broncos do a great job of running the ball as they average 4.6 yards per rush (10th).

The Browns have a dominant front seven and this unit plays the run extremely well. They’re ranked 3rd in the league in yards per rush allowed. Edge rusher Myles Garrett continues to be one of the best defensive ends in the NFL. Garrett has already registered 8 sacks this season. The Browns defense should have something to prove after giving up 37 points to Arizona last week.

Cleveland Offense vs. Denver Defense

The Browns offense has been hit hard by the injury bug. Not only is star wideout Jarvis Landry on injured reserve, but both Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham are also listed as questionable with shoulder injuries. All reports say that Mayfield will still play tonight.

The former Heisman Trophy winner has thrown for 1,474 yards and 6 touchdowns so far in 2021. Mayfield may have to throw the ball more often, especially since star running backs Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb are both out with calf injuries. It looks as if D’Ernest Johnson and rookie Demetric Felton will share the workload at running back.

The Broncos defense is a stout unit that ranks 4th in the league in points per game allowed (18.3). This group is also 4th in the league against the run as they only allow 3.7 yards per rush. Von Miller is off to a fast start with 4.5 sacks so far this season.

Our Pick: Broncos +3.5

We’ll roll with the Broncos as our Best Bet for this matchup. The Browns have a bit more talent but they have been decimated by injuries of late. Cleveland runs the football well but not having both Chubb and Hunt hurts them considerably in that area.

We look for Denver to keep this game close throughout and possibly even pull off the outright upset. Take the points in this one. Good luck!

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