The Cleveland Browns hadn’t won an opening game in fourteen tries before they met the Tennessee Titans last Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
That fact didn’t stop the bettors from jumping on Cleveland like they were a sure thing to beat the Titans and cover a 5½ point spread. That didn’t work, the Titans won big over Cleveland, 43-13, before losing their opener yesterday to the Indianapolis Colts.
Now, after last week’s defeat, the Browns fans are lining up again with confidence that their team is perfectly suited to win on the road as a bet-on favorite.
They have their reasons. Even before their competition lost their starting quarterback, New York Jets second-year signal caller, Sam Darnold, is out with mononucleosis, the Browns were favored in this game by a field goal. Since the Jets lost their quarterback, the spread has risen to nearly a touchdown and extra point.
Now, that would be like a person thinking they are ready for an exam at school only to find out they have studied the wrong material in preparation. But, they feel better about their chances now, because they got caught outside in a rainstorm on the way to school.
They were already in trouble, and the rainstorm could only make matters worse. The Browns were already in trouble tonight, and the fact that the Jets are without Darnold only makes it worse. Teams get motivated to play in order to make up for the loss of their QB, that is what benefited the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday.
The Jaguars lost their off-season acquisition and anointed starting quarterback Nick Foles, to a broken collar bone early in their opening week loss the Kansas City Chiefs. Yesterday, they were within a two-point conversion of beating the home standing Houston Texans, losing 13-12, while getting more than a touchdown on the point spread.
The Jets were going to be motivated to play well against the Browns coming off their opening day home loss to the Buffalo Bills, 17-16, but are now supercharged with both that defeat and needing to step up their game to compensate for the loss of their starting quarterback.
Meanwhile, the Browns are a bet-on road favorite off a straight-up home loss.
Not a good spot, but one exasperated by the Jets needing to rely on a backup quarterback.
And, who are the Jets sending in to save the day in Darnold’s absence? Trevor Siemian, who is not a stranger to winning in motivated situations. In the first game the Denver Broncos had to play after the retirement of Peyton Manning, Siemian was charged with taking Denver into battle against the team the Broncos had downed in the Super Bowl the prior February.
He beat the Carolina Panthers in that start, and while his overall skill set was not enough to have John Elway keep him as the full time starter in Denver, Siemian has the ability to engineer a win when tossed into a perfect motivational spot.
Can you imagine the fans reaction in Cleveland if the Browns lose here? All that off-season hype and anticipation for a Super Bowl season flushed with losses in their first two games?
You won’t have to imagine that; just observe it after this game.
Qoxhi Picks: New York Jets (+6½) over Cleveland Browns