Browns vs. Colts Game Preview | Sunday 1:00 PM 10/22/23

October 20, 2023

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Week 7 Game Breakdown and Pick


1 – Starting QB

There’s nothing like wondering who the starting quarterback will be heading into Sunday, but here we are, Browns fans—still no word on whether it will be Deshaun Watson or PJ Walker. 

There are significant differences if Watson returns, and playing indoors against the Colts will benefit the offense.   Rust will be a question as he only played in one full practice, Friday, since he was injured.  Walker has far fewer questions on what to expect but is limited in what can be done.  

It will be pins and needles for everyone waiting until the inactive list arrives on Sunday. 

2 – Defense Rules

The headlines about the Browns are about the quarterback position.  However, the Browns’ strength in 2023 is on the defensive side of the ball.  Cleveland should have an advantage on the line and look for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to move around Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith to create advantages.

3 – Turnovers

So far in 2023, Cleveland is tied for last in the takeaway category, and the mighty defense has been quiet on this front, only getting four total turnovers.  The Colts are double eight by the defense and are right in the middle of the pack at zero turnover margin.  

This category is crucial for the Browns to win on the road. They can’t afford turnovers and win the game in Indy.

Overall: 

With the question of quarterback aside, the Browns have advantages, but they must take the Colts seriously.  Indy can beat them if they are not playing their best.  This is a big test for Cleveland. Will they be ready…I say yes!

Cleveland win 20-10, giving the 3.5 points.


Browns Notes

The Cleveland Browns enter this game with a 3-2 record for the year. In their previous outing against the 49ers, the Browns secured a narrow victory with a final score of 19-17. P.J. Walker completed 18 out of 34 passes for 192 yards, earning a quarterback rating of 45.2 but also throwing 2 interceptions. Amari Cooper had an impressive average of 27.0 yards per reception, accumulating 108 yards on 4 catches. Jerome Ford led the Browns in rushing, with 17 carries for 84 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. In the game, the Browns ran a total of 70 plays, gaining 334 yards. They ran the ball 34 times, amassing 160 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt. On the defensive side, the Browns allowed the 49ers to rush for 108 yards on 25 attempts, resulting in an average of 4.3 yards per rush. They also permitted 12 pass completions on 27 attempts, totaling 107 yards, with a completion rate of 44.4%.

The Cleveland Browns have an average of 19.0 points per game when it comes to scoring. They excel in rushing, averaging 147.0 yards per game, ranking them 4th in the league. So far this season, the Browns have gained a total of 1,599 yards. Offensively, they’ve earned 45 first downs but have been penalized 38 times for a total of 331 yards. They’ve turned the ball over 12 times, including 7 interceptions and 5 fumbles. Regarding touchdowns, the Browns have scored 4 passing touchdowns and 4 rushing touchdowns.

Defensively, the Browns are ranked 5th in the NFL, allowing an average of 15.4 points per game. Their opponents are averaging 3.5 yards per rushing attempt and 79.0 yards on the ground per game for the season. The Browns have given up a total of 395 rushing yards in 5 games. In terms of passing yardage, the Browns lead the NFL, allowing only 607 yards. They’ve permitted an average of 121.4 passing yards per game with a completion rate of 51.9%. Throughout the season, they’re giving up an average of 200.4 total yards per game, ranking them 1st in the league.


Colts Notes

The Indianapolis Colts entered the field with a season record of 3-3. In their previous game against the Jaguars, they suffered a 37-20 defeat. Gardner Minshew II managed 329 passing yards, completing 33 out of 55 attempts with one touchdown. His quarterback rating stood at 60.3, but he also threw three interceptions, averaging 6.0 yards per attempt. Michael Pittman Jr. was a prominent target, securing 9 passes for 109 yards at an average of 12.1 yards per catch. Meanwhile, Zack Moss rushed the ball 7 times for 21 yards, resulting in a 3.0 yards per attempt for Indianapolis. The Colts amassed a total of 354 yards and executed 75 plays, averaging 4.7 yards per play. Their rushing game averaged 2.6 yards per attempt, culminating in 44 yards on 17 carries. The Colts’ defense allowed 29 rushing attempts for 85 yards, averaging 2.9 yards per carry, and a 66.7% completion rate, surrendering 148 yards on 20 completions out of 30 attempts.

When it comes to their overall performance, the Indianapolis Colts typically gain an average of 345.3 yards per game, placing them 10th among NFL teams. They maintain an average of 116.7 rushing yards per game, accumulating a total of 700 rushing yards this season. The team has thrown four interceptions and lost four fumbles, securing 70 first downs. The Colts have also incurred 289 yards in penalties across 40 infractions, ranking them 8th in the NFL in terms of yielding free yards. Through the air, they have gained 1,372 yards this season, with an average of 228.7 passing yards per game, positioning them at 10th in the league. In terms of scoring, the Colts rank 11th in the NFL, averaging 23.3 points per game.

Defensively, they have allowed seven passing touchdowns and an average of 243.7 passing yards per game, placing them 23rd in the NFL. Indianapolis has surrendered a total of 681 rushing yards, averaging 113.5 yards per game, and nine rushing touchdowns this year. They have given up 152 points over the course of the season and have forced eight turnovers (four fumbles and four interceptions). The Colts’ defense has been on the field for 418 plays, ranking them 32nd in the league. They are allowing an average of 25.3 points per game, positioning them at 25th in the NFL.


Best Bets for Browns Colts Week 7

PJ Walker had a massive completion last week to Cooper to prevent a nice 2-0, but we’ll take the losses if it means a Browns win. Deshaun Watson is expected to return today, and hopefully, the offense can pick up where they left off with him. Here are two good plays for Browns Colts Week 7.

Amari Cooper over 61.5 Receiving Yards

Amari Cooper has covered this line in three of five games this year, only missing in the poor weather game Week 1 and with Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback against the Ravens. He’s had at least 6 targets in every game and saw 18 targets in Weeks 2 and 3 with Watson at the helm. The Browns’ star receiver has surpassed 100 yards twice this year, fresh off his dominant 108-yard day with Walker where he could’ve gone for even more.

Cooper is averaging a very good 2.18 yards per route run, which ranks 26th among qualified receivers. The Colts allow 265 passing yards per game which is 25th in the NFL. They have allowed at least one receiver to cover this line in all but one game, and have let two receivers go over in four of six games. Cooper is going to get plenty of targets, and I like him to go over, especially with the return of Watson.

Zack Moss under 34.5 Rushing Yards

Jonathan Taylor is expected to have an increased workload finally following his injury, leaving Moss only to spell Taylor. Last week, he saw just seven carries for 21 yards against Jacksonville. He’s covered this line in all but one game this year, but he averaged nearly 20 attempts in order to do so. He’s unlikely to see more than ten attempts today, especially against a stout Browns’ run defense.

The Browns’ defense has been elite this season, allowing just 79 rush yards per game. Last week, the talented 49ers’ run game produced 108 total rushing yards, with McCaffery having just 43. As long as the Browns can play from in front, there won’t be many chances for Moss to get touches. Taylor should see the bulk of the work finally, and the elite defense will keep the Colts off the field most of the game.

Recap

Fresh off the emotional upset win over the 49ers, the return of Watson should help propel the passing attack and the offense overall. The Colts are a solid team, but if they continue to defend at the high level they have, everything should take care of itself. As long as the offense takes care of the ball and compliments the defense, the Browns should leave Indianapolis with a win. Hopefully, the offense can pick back up where they left off against the Titans and really build some positive momentum for the rest of the season.

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