The Denver Broncos host the Cleveland Browns, Sunday Dec 23, as the Broncos look for two wins to clinch the AFC’s coveted No. 2 playoff seed. Since the Browns have one road win and the Broncos are on a nine game win streak, odds makers have the current NFL betting odds listing the Broncos as -13.5 point home favorites against the spread with the game total set at 44.5 points.
The Browns (5-9, 1-5 V) lost to the Washington Redskins 21-38, at home, in Week 15. QB Brandon Weeden completed 21 of 35 passes for 244 yards with a touchdown pass to WR Travis Benjamin, and Rookie RB Trent Richardson had a pair of TD runs for the Browns.
Veteran returner Joshua Cribbs took back seven kickoffs Sunday for 191 yards — the most in the NFL during the weekend. His effectiveness could be limited against the Broncos, however, because Denver kicker Matt Prater often booms the ball out of the end zone, especially in the rarefied air of home games.
The Browns pass defense ranks 24th among NFL teams in passing yards allowed. Sunday, the Browns allowed Redskins rookie QB Kirk Cousins to throw for 329 yards and two TDs in his first NFL start. Think what will happen against the mind of Peyton Manning.
The Broncos (11-3, 5-1 H) beat the skidding Baltimore Ravens 34-17, on the road, last Sunday. QB Peyton Manning threw for 204 yards and a score in his ninth consecutive win against Baltimore, the first with the Broncos. Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a momentum-turning touchdown. The Broncos defense caused two Ravens turnovers and turned them into 10 points.
Even after struggling through the first 5½ games of this season, the Broncos rank No. 2 against the run, No. 4 in total defense and No. 5 in scoring defense. Manning has never had such a strong defense on his side. In his lone Super Bowl title season of 2006, his Colts defense ranked 21st in total yards; 23rd in scoring and 32nd, or last, against the run.
On top of their current nine-game winning streak, the Broncos likely need to win their final two games, against Cleveland and Dec. 30 against Kansas City, to capture the AFC’s coveted No. 2 playoff seed. The 12-2 Houston Texans are close to clinching the No. 1 playoff seed, but the No. 2 seed would allow the Broncos to receive a first-round playoff bye then host a second-round home game, most likely against the Patriots.
After going 50-24-1 ATS this season, Sports-Odds.com recommends you check out our consensus Week 16 NFL Picks before the Sunday games kick off.
NFL Week 16 Predictions & Recent Trends to Consider:
Browns are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. loss.
Browns are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss.
Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a SU loss of more than 14 points.
Under is 5-1 in Broncos last 6 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
Under is 4-0-1 in Browns last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Cleveland Browns vs Denver Broncos
When: Sunday, Dec 16, 2012@4:05 PM ET
Pick: Broncos -13.5
The Bottom Line: All Denver all day.