The Cleveland Browns travel to the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta to take on the Falcons as they seek to retain their lead at the top of the AFC North.
With both teams coming of the back of victories in Week 3, each will be seeking to exert their offensive dominance with a particular focus on the run game.
Atlanta Falcons vs Cleveland Browns – NFL Football Odds Week 4
Browns’ Week 4 Prospects
Kevin Stefanski must have been overjoyed when the NFL schedule was released earlier this year.
Weeks 1 through 6 provide several winnable games for the Browns coach. With the opportunity to go 5-1 and cement a place atop AFC North before back-to-back divisional games against the Ravens and Bengals in Weeks 7 and 8.
You can only beat the teams in front of you, and game management issues against the Jets aside, the Browns have done what they needed to take advantage of scheduling so far.
Offensively, they have found a nice rhythm under Jacoby Brissett, who, with just a single interception so far, has taken care of the ball very nicely.
Favored targets have been Amari Cooper and David Njoku, with whom chemistry is building game-by-game.
In terms of the run game, while Week 1’s headlines belonged firmly to Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb has cemented his role as RB1 with the bulk of carries thus far, notching up 62 in his first 3 games.
The secondary has recently taken a share of knocks, with Jadeveon Clowney ruled out of Thursday night’s win over the Steelers (ankle).
In addition, linebackers Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah (groin) and Anthony Walker Jr (quad) succumbed to injuries during that game and were quickly followed by defensive tackle Taven Bryan (hamstring).
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Myles Garrett has consistently been the Browns best defender in recent years, and he was the standout performer in their Week 3 victory.
However, he is not immune to injury concerns, this time off the field after a hospital trip on Monday with ‘non-life-threatening injuries’ following a one-car accident.
An ongoing issue for the team has been special teams with rookie kicker Cade York missing extra points while the Browns’ return game has failed to find a cutting edge.
Recent opposition has sought to take advantage of perceived weaknesses here as both the Steelers and Jets attempted onside kicks to different degrees of success.
Falcons’ Week 4 Prospects
Hosts Atlanta came into the 2022 season with objectively the worst defense across all 32 teams. 2021 saw them poor on 3rd down, unable to get to the QB, and spending too much time on the field.
This season was always going to be about developing their young secondary with the addition of a couple of veteran pieces (Casey Hayward, Rashaan Evans) to complement them.
To an extent, they have outperformed expectations so far; however, this has been greatly helped by their offense remaining on the field for long periods, and they are still one of the worst in the NFL at limiting opposition passing yards.
The Falcons’ offense has mainly been focused on the ground through Weeks 1-3, and I see no reason for it to change here.
Cordarelle Patterson’s production tailed off dramatically toward the end of 2021; however, he has been dominant this year and is 2nd in the league in terms of yards carried; he accounts for 65% of all rushing yards on a team that is 5th in the league in this area.
In terms of passing, Marcus Mariota has performed admirably. Despite being limited to just 20 attempts in the recent victory over the Seahawks, he threw for a season-high 229 yards, and there emerged an understanding with Kyle Pitts that should soon bear fruit in terms of scoring.
Atlanta Falcons vs Cleveland Browns Predictions – NFL Football Picks Week 4
Despite having home-field advantage, the Atlanta Falcons go into this game as underdogs.
They have beaten the spread in every game this season, although they only have a single victory over a Seattle team that looks like it could be the worst in the league this year.
The Browns’ defense has been solid against the run so far. In the air I expect Kyle Pitts to make his mark for the Falcons and Drake London will continue to improve, it won’t be enough to over-power their visitors.
Jacoby Brissett is by no means a marquee player, but he knows how to take care of the football and is solid enough to exploit the Falcons’ defense to bring home the victory.
I can see a scoreline around Cleveland Browns 29 – 26 Atlanta Falcons, which should allow Cleveland to comfortably cover the spread.
The Pick: Cleveland Browns -1.5 (-110)
Both teams have exceeded total points expectations in every game this season.
Atlanta’s matches have averaged 53 points between the sides through Weeks 1 to 3, while the visiting Browns have averaged 28 points per game on offense, allowing 24 points on defense.
Given both sides favor the offensive side of the ball rather than the secondary, I can see this being a straight shootout, easily clearing the Over of 49.5.
The Pick: Falcons v Browns Over 49.5 Points (-110)
As a football fan and sports writer, Mike has many years of experience. Since the US started moving towards legal sports betting, Mike has found new love with sports gambling.