Week 3 NFL Battle of the Winless: Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings

Christian Ponder-vikings-2013Browns – Vikings
Time: 1 PM EST, Sept 22, 2013
Spread: MIN -7
M/L: MIN -300, CLE +250
O/U: 41

Odds courtesy of Bovada

The Cleveland Browns just found a way to make their season even more hopeless: the team dealt running back Trent Richardson mid-week in a move that perplexed many, as the team has virtually no credible offense now. Yet, despite this act of poor planning by Cleveland brass, the Browns are just 7-point underdogs to the Minnesota Vikings on the road this week in a game that many won’t exactly be following closely.

Not only are the Browns going to be without their leading rusher, but they’ll also lack quarterback Brandon Weeden, who is nursing a sprained thumb. Browns CEO Joe Banner said he feels “good about where (they are) at moving forward,” but it’s tough to see what merit he sees in the trade given Richardson’s immense potential. Third string quarterback Brian Hoyer will make the start, and it’s difficult to see the Browns staying within a touchdown in this game. Though the Minnesota Vikings are 0-2, that happened last year and the team still won the NFC North.

Minnesota suffered a 34-24 loss at Detroit in Week 1 and lost by a mere point to the Bears in Week 2, so Vikings fans have to be longing for a victory following losses to two division rivals. The Vikings’ defense has been pitifully weak, but there’s no one on the Browns capable of exploiting it. Adrian Peterson has been his usual self, and he has amassed 193 rushing yards in the first two games, bolstered in part by a 78-yard run.

Christian Ponder must improve his accuracy, as Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph are all capable receivers with a total of 36 catches between the trio. Ponder threw for nearly 3,000 yards last year with a 62.1 percent ratio, but this year he sits at a humble 58 percent and he’s thrown four interceptions already. Avoiding turnovers will be the key for the Vikings in securing a victory against a team whose postseason hopes were non-extant prior to trading their best player.


UNDER 4-0 in last 4 Sept; UNDER 5-0 last 5 vs teams with losing road rec; 0-5 ATS in last 5 overall.


5-1-2 ATS in last 8 games in wk 3; OVER 5-1 in last 6 on turf; 5-1-1 ATS in last 7 at home.

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