Browns vs Cardinals Game Preview | Sunday 1 PM 11/5/23

November 4, 2023

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Week 9 Game Breakdown and Pick


1 – Watson is back

QB Deshaun Watson is back and hoping for a better performance than his last outing in Indy against the Colts when he completed one pass and was taken out of the game after an interception.  This will be Watson’s 5th start on the season.

2 – Turnovers

The Cleveland Browns have a negative seven regarding the turnover battle on the season.  One way the Cardinals can win this game is if the Browns turn the ball over, and Cleveland knows to make the playoffs, they must get this margin in the positive. 

3 – Limit big plays 

The Browns’ talented defense has been giving up big plays the past two weeks.  Hopefully, the defense can clean it up on Sunday as significant yardage moments.

Overall:

With the Browns getting Watson back, this is an excellent opportunity to get him into game shape for the Ravens and Steelers ahead in the following weeks.   The Cardinals come into this game not knowing who will start at quarterback, as Cleveland might get rookie Clayton Tune for his first-ever start if Kyler Murray is not activated.  Murray is officially listed as questionable.

With Watson getting the start and needing to prove something, along with the heartbreaking loss the week before, I don’t see a letdown playing the 1-7 Cardinals.  The only way Arizona wins is if Cleveland beats themselves with massive defensive errors and turnovers.

Cleveland wins 21-10. 

Give the -10, but I would stay away from this line. I can see Arizona hanging around until the end. 


Cleveland Browns Notes

At the opening of the regular season, the Cleveland Browns demonstrated their defensive prowess by limiting two of their initial three opponents to a mere three points each. Throughout the season, the Browns have maintained an impressive defensive record, allowing an average of just 19.9 points and 260.0 yards per game. Notably, they lead the league in fewest yards surrendered, permitting a meager 96.7 rushing yards per game (ranking seventh) and a mere 163.3 passing yards per game (ranking first). However, it’s worth mentioning that the Browns have seen a slight uptick in points conceded later in the season, mainly attributable to offensive turnovers, as they’ve committed a league-low 17 turnovers.

In terms of individual performance, Grant Delpit, who is currently questionable, leads Cleveland in tackles with 43, while Myles Garrett boasts an impressive 8.5 quarterback sacks, the most on the team.

For offensive statistics, the Browns are averaging 22.0 points per game, placing them 13th in the league, and they gain an average of 328.6 total yards per game, ranking 18th. Their offensive strengths lie in their ground game, where they are second in the league, averaging 148.6 rushing yards per game, but they struggle through the air, ranking 30th with an average of 180.0 passing yards per game.

The availability of quarterback Deshaun Watson remains uncertain, with a questionable status. Should Watson be unable to play, PJ Walker will once again assume the role of starting quarterback. Walker has accumulated 618 passing yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.

Jerome Ford leads the rushing attack with 381 yards and two touchdowns, while Amari Cooper is the leading receiver with 478 yards, albeit with only one touchdown reception to his name.


Arizona Cardinals Notes

The Arizona Cardinals, currently holding a 1-7 record and sitting in 4th place in the NFC West, are turning to a rookie quarterback in hopes of finding success as they head to Cleveland and the Cleveland Browns Stadium this Sunday to face the Cleveland Browns, who stand at 4-3 and share the 2nd spot in the AFC North.

Last Sunday, Arizona experienced their fifth consecutive loss when they fell to the Baltimore Ravens with a final score of 31-24. This loss marked the end of Joshua Dobbs’ tenure as the Cardinals’ quarterback, as he was traded. Now, rookie Clayton Tune is set to start at the quarterback position for Arizona in the upcoming game.

Cleveland, on the other hand, had their two-game winning streak halted last Sunday when they lost to the Seahawks with a score of 24-20. Both teams have significant injury concerns. Notable injuries for Arizona include James Connor, L.J. Collier, Zach Ertz, Marlon Mack, and Elijah Wilkinson, among others. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s injury list is also substantial, with key players like Nick Chubb, Jack Conklin, Thomas Graham Jr, and Michael Woods II being among those sidelined.

To enhance your game-day experience, consider exploring our top-tier NFL Predictions!

With Clayton Tune taking over at quarterback for Arizona, it’s important to note that Kyrie Murray is nearing a return to the starting position. Currently, Arizona’s offense is struggling, scoring just 18.9 points per game and gaining a mere 318.6 total yards of offense per game. Tune has minimal experience, having thrown for only 4 yards, completing his sole pass attempt. James Connor, the leading rusher, is also injured, leaving Eman Demercado as the active rushing leader with 195 yards and a touchdown. Among the receivers, Marquise Brown leads with 416 yards and four touchdowns.

Arizona’s defense is permitting an average of 26.6 points and 355.8 yards per game, ranking 27th and 26th, respectively. The team’s primary weakness is defending against the run, allowing an average of 130.6 rushing yards per game, placing them at 25th. Linebacker Kyzir White stands out with a team-best 69 tackles, while Dennis Gardeck and Victor Dimukeje share the lead in quarterback sacks with 4.0 each. The Cardinals have managed to intercept five passes, with five different players contributing with one interception each. Additionally, Arizona has pressured opposing quarterbacks consistently throughout the season.


Best Bets For Browns vs. Cardinals Week 9

Finally, a 2-0 week last week, as Dustin Hopkins easily cashed in on his over 5.5 kicking points, and PJ Walker threw his 31st interception attempt of the day. It was a tough loss on the field, but going 2-0 on bets helped ease the sting. Last week is one the Browns should have won, as they had multiple chances on both sides of the ball to close the game out. The good news is that Deshaun Watson is back this week, and hopefully, he’s actually ready to play. The Browns don’t need him to be the old Watson who goes above and beyond; we just need him to be above average to lead this offense. Here are two good bets for Browns vs. Cardinals in Week 9.

Kareem Hunt Anytime Touchdown (+120)

Kareem Hunt has scored a touchdown in the last three games and has been the go-to option in the red zone for the Browns. Other than a blowout win against the Titans where the scores came from big plays and a blowout loss to the Ravens where there were no scores, Hunt has found the end zone in every game. He currently leads the team in red zone rush attempts this year, with 40.9% of the rush plays going to him.

The Cardinals are not particularly strong against the run, and they allow some of the most touchdowns to any team. Currently, they are giving up three touchdowns per game on average, which ranks 26th in the NFL. Just last week, Gus Edwards of the Ravens found the end zone three times on the ground, which is the second time a running back has had a hat trick against them this year. The Browns should be able to move the ball well in this one, and they have leaned on Hunt near the end zone.

Dustin Hopkins Over 1.5 Field Goals Made (-120)

Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins came through for us last week with his kicking points, and that number is even higher this week at 7.5. Hopkins has made multiple field goals in all but one game this year, and that came against the Ravens with Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback. In two of the last three weeks, Hopkins has made four field goals, and the Browns should be able to drive down the field plenty during this game.

On average, the Cardinals allow 1.9 field goals per game this year. Teams have had plenty of success against them, and I expect the Browns to find themselves in the Cardinals’ territory enough for Hopkins to make two more. All but two teams this year have attempted at least two field goals against the Cardinals, with one of the misses being the 49ers who ended every scoring drive with a touchdown.

Recap

There haven’t been many instances where the Browns have been favored by double-digits, but they are currently sitting as 12.5-point favorites heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Cardinals. Deshaun Watson returns, and hopefully, he can return to form and keep that shoulder out of harm’s way. For Arizona, rookie Clayton Tune is making his first start, and the running back room is depleted. The Browns have the advantage on paper in every matchup, and taking care of the ball is essential to achieving a 5-3 record and heading into the Ravens’ week on a positive note.

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