Sunday, December 6, 2020, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET
Browns at Titans Betting Preview: Browns (+5.5/-110), Titans (-5.5/-110)
Sure, you can bang on Baker Mayfield for being inconsistent, and you can express concern about this team’s trouble stopping the run lately. But one thing you can’t call them for the first time since 2007? Losers.
Last week’s 27-25 victory at Jacksonville, as unimpressive as it seemed to some, upped their record to 8-3 and kept them squarely in an AFC wild-card spot. And with a schedule that still includes games with the coronavirus-weakened Ravens, 4-7 Giants and winless Jets, 11 wins looks like a pretty solid bet.
New coach Kevin Stefanski has done something previous coaches couldn’t over the last 20 years — establish a clear identity. This team runs the ball well and has won its close games, going 5-0 in one-possession outcomes. Give him and the players credit for overcoming years of losing and also winning without star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
That the offense has regained its bearings after a four-game stretch where it wasn’t at its best is comforting to Tennessee fans. They should be more excited that the defense appears to be improving after being a real concern over the first nine games.
The Titans rallied from a 21-10 deficit two weeks ago at Baltimore in the third quarter because their defense got stops. As they pulled away from a 14-14 second quarter tie to build an insurmountable 38-14 fourth quarter lead last week in Indianapolis, it was because the defense made the Colts’ attack one-dimensional.
With Derrick Henry running wild and Ryan Tannehill having the season of his life, the defense doesn’t have to be the 1985 Bears or even the 1970s Steel Curtain. It merely needs to be what it’s been the last couple of games.
Browns at Titans Betting Pick for Week 13
The return of defensive end Myles Garrett off the COVID-19 list immediately boosts the Browns’ defense. His absence has been a reason why losing teams like the Eagles and Jaguars have been able to run the ball with consistency the last two games.
But Garrett’s return by itself is unlikely to keep Henry from doing what he’s been doing most of the year — getting stronger as a game goes along and ultimately wearing down a defense in the fourth quarter. As closers go, he’s the NFL’s version of Mariano Rivera.
Browns at Titans Betting Pick:
Titans 31, Browns 24.
Browns at Titans Best Bet for Week 13
Divergent trends are colliding in Nashville. Four of Cleveland’s last six games have finished under the number, while eight of Tennessee’s last 10 games have ended over the number.
With strong running games going up against defenses that have been pliable against the run, don’t be afraid to hammer the over in this one. Since this should be a close game, both teams should be able to stay with their game plan, so they should be at their best.
Browns at Titans Best Bet: OVER 53.5 total points (-107)