Pro Football Picks: Colts look to avoid first 0-2 start in 13 years against Browns

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 9/18/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Cleveland -3
Current Betting Line: Cleveland -1
Opening Total:  37
Current Total:  39.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Colts Browns NFL Game Preview
Colts RB Joseph Addai will need to carry the offensive load with Peyton Manning out for the next couple months.

The Indianapolis Colts will find themselves in unfamiliar territory on Sunday, as they are home underdogs against the Cleveland Browns for the first time since their meaningless season finale against Tennessee in 2008.  The Colts had already cemented their playoff seeding that year, but this year they will be lucky to even sniff the postseason without Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning.

Indianapolis (0-1) has won 10 games or more each of the past nine years and has not started 0-2 in 13 years.  The Colts will need to beat the Browns (-1, O/U 39.5) to avoid the latter and beat them all five times they faced them with Manning under center.  Kerry Collins will be under center this time though, making it a real possibility that Cleveland could get its first win in the series since 1994.

The Browns (0-1) did nothing to earn their status as favorites last week in a 27-17 home loss to Cincinnati.  They allowed the Bengals to score the final two touchdowns of the game after leading 17-13 with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

Cleveland QB Colt McCoy did not perform like he did at times in the preseason, when he showed flashes of being the leader the team desperately needed.  Instead, McCoy converted only 4 of 15 third-down opportunities and completed 19 of 40 passes for 213 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Browns running back Peyton Hillis never really got going on the ground either outside of one 17-yard run.  Hillis’ other 16 carries netted him just 40 yards, and he will look to attack an Indy run defense that surrendered 167 yards at Houston last week.

The Colts dropped that game to the Texans 34-7, the second year in a row they opened there with a loss.  Collins did not play particularly well either, totaling 197 passing yards and a touchdown after his team trailed, 34-0.

Like Cleveland, Indy also struggled to run the ball.  Colts starting RB Joseph Addai finished with 39 yards on eight carries while rookie Delone Carter added 25 yards on eight attempts.

Indianapolis is hurting defensively as well after middle linebacker Gary Brackett sprained his left shoulder following an interception in the fourth quarter against Houston.  Brackett will miss this game and is out indefinitely.

Without Manning in the lineup, the UNDER has cashed in three of the last four games for the Colts, including the preseason.  The UNDER is also 3-0 in the past three meetings between the teams.

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