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Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts Point Spread - Pick

Cleveland Browns (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Week 3 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CLE -1/IND +1
Over/Under Total: 40.5

The Cleveland Browns face the Indianapolis Colts in AFC week three action on Sunday. Neither team had a very good time of it in week two, with Cleveland and Indy both falling to 0-2 on the season. The Colts looked to have a realistic chance at a win against a visiting Cardinals team on Sunday, taking a 13-3 lead into the final quarter, only to lose in overtime, 16-13. Cleveland didn't even have a sniff at victory. After a gallant loss to the Steelers in week one, the Browns fell to the Ravens, 24-10.

Sunday was a strange game for the Browns. They look to have a unique talent in rookie QB DeShone Kizer, but on Sunday his mistakes cost them dearly. Kizer had to leave the game with migraines, but was treated and later returned. On the day, he was just 15-for-31 with 182 yards and three picks and a lost fumble. He can move the ball and seems to be the best thing the Browns have had behind center in quite some time, but as a 21-year old rookie, mistakes are going to be a big part of the early equation while he brings himself up to NFL speed.

The Cleveland offense has been facing some pretty tough defenses through two weeks of the season and might get a better matchup this week. A lot of things are being worked on in the Browns' offense, as a lot of new pieces are being brought up to speed. The line should help, as it is one of the best in the NFL. They can spring a run-game, led by Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, and Kizer, who has a nifty pair of feet when needed. Receiver Rashard Higgins came out of nowhere with 7 grabs for 95 yards on Sunday, with TE Seth DeValve with 61 yards and Johnson with 59. A nice connection was made with rookie TE David Njoku, who caught the Browns' only touchdown on the game.

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The Cleveland defense really hasn't been that bad. In week one, they held the Steelers to a reasonable 21 points. And considering all the turnovers this past Sunday, they actually outgained the Ravens by 50 yards. Eleven penalties hurt, as well. The middle is pretty strong with Christian Kirksey looking like he's kicked his game up a notch, along with Jamie Collins. The secondary has also been upgraded with Jamar Taylor and Jason McCourty looking like a reasonably-good corner duo, along with safeties Derrick Kindred and rookie Jabrill Peppers, who should eventually make an imprint as a return man.

If looking for the most hard luck franchise in the NFL, there are a lot of worthy contenders, but the Colts might be at the top of the list. They are missing key pieces on both sides of the ball, most importantly QB Andrew Luck. It has really rendered them a shadow of their former selves. But after a disastrous opening to their season in a 37-point loss to the Rams, they had a chance to even their record at 1-1 over a Cardinals team that was dealing with personnel and morale issues of their own. And to take a 13-3 lead into the game's final 8 minutes and still manage to lose in OT is another blow for a team that can ill afford many more bad developments.

It's the fourth straight season that the Colts have started 0-2. They're used to it and have recovered before, but the source of hope looks lost already in just week three. They're just not very good. They turned to quarterback Jacoby Brissett in week two, just after he had joined the team. While not bad, he wasn't able to create much positive and after a ten-point first quarter, the Colts offense was rendered impotent. They have some decent players on offense, with Frank Gore scoring a TD on Sunday, along with receiving talent like TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Kamar Aiken, and TE Jack Doyle. But while some teams can endure not having standout QB play, this team is not one of them. This cast of playmakers on offense is lost without Luck and what was a standout group under his stewardship has eroded into a below-average unit that isn't able to keep up, even against a Cardinals' offense that just lost it's most valuable piece of weaponry.

The Indy defense was actually pretty stout against Arizona for much of the game. But when a win was in the cards, they melted. For nearly three and a half quarters, the "D" held the Cardinals to just a field goal. They had the run game in check. They were getting after Carson Palmer, with John Simon, Nate Hairston, Al Woods, and Hassan Ridgeway all getting sacks. Rookie FS Malik Hooker had a pick. But in a close game where all they had to do was get a big play or a key stop, they couldn't pull it off and allowed a team that was showing no signs of life so far this season to mount a big late comeback.

These games can be tough. Cleveland is getting better, while the Colts continue to deteriorate. It's not clear if they've passed each other on the overall fulcrum of effectiveness, but each team could really use this win. With the Browns, at least they're on a path to something, while Indy seems lost at sea. As hard as it is to take the Browns as a home favorite, we're doing just that in week 3.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Cleveland Browns minus one point. Bet the Browns vs. Colts game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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