Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns Week 14 Preview and Prediction
The Kansas City Chiefs’ abysmal season took a tragic turn with last week’s events involving the late Jovan Belcher, who killed his girlfriend at their Kansas City home and then drove to Arrowhead Stadium where he ultimately took his own life in front of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.
The Chiefs came away with their second win of the season last week in an emotional triumph over a much improved Carolina club. K.C. travels with heavy hearts this week to Cleveland, with Peyton Hillis and Brady Quinn perhaps looking for a bit more closure than the rest of their teammates.
Quinn was selected 22nd overall by Crennel and the Browns in 2007, and spent parts of three seasons in Cleveland before being dealt to Denver for now teammate Peyton Hillis in 2010. Quinn was never able to live up to the high expectations only winning 3 of 12 games as a starter as a Brown, completing his 14-game run with 10 touchdowns, 9 picks for a dismal 66.8 quarterback rating.
Hillis’ career in Cleveland started much smoother than Quinn’s. The bulky running back was the pride of Cleveland in 2010, notching career highs in rushing yards (1,177), carries (270), receptions (61), receiving yards (477) and touchdowns (13).
He attempted to convert his fifteen minutes of fame into a big contract, but proved to be a nightmare in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign. Hillis was limited to 587 yards and three TDs in 10 games, and Cleveland’s Joe Thomas wasn’t shy about expressing his disdain for his former teammate. To paraphrase, Thomas says that Hillis transformed from a hard-working blue collar teammate into a contract crazed flake, basically crippling the Cleveland offense.
Hillis has yet to have much of an impact on K.C.’s lineup, as he currently sits behind Jamal Charles and Dexter McCluster who have seen most of the touches thus far. Charles is one of the top rushers in the league, running for 1055 yards through 13 weeks, so don’t expect to see Hillis featured much this weekend.
Cleveland’s defensive unit will not likely be intimidated by the Chiefs’ ground game, having held opponents to 65.7 rushing yards over the last three contests, edging out the Raiders 20-17 at Oakland last Sunday for its second straight victory, making beset coach Pat Shurmur’s seat a little less toasty.
There are more reasons for optimism in Cleveland as they achieved a season-high 475 yards of offense last week, with rookie QB Brandon Weeden improving each game.
The 29 year old first-year pro has connected on 63.9 percent of his passes for 732 yards with 4 touchdowns and 3 picks over the past 3 games, and is riding on a season-high 364 yards through the air against Oakland.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns -6 (betting prediction)
I can’t believe I’m doing it. I did not think I’d see a football season in which I take the Cleveland Browns to cover a number. They were good to me laying 9 points at Dallas in Week 11 when I had them in a non-posted play. I trust them to get past a bad K.C. club that has had to endure a plethora of emotions over the last week. I hate to profit from a tragic situation, but this game is there for the taking.
Cleveland’s offense is looking much more consistent as of late, and their defense has played strong for most of the year.
Check out the numbers:
The Chiefs have covered three of last four this season after a 2-6 ATS record in first half of the season, sitting them at 5-7 ATS thus far. They are just 3-5 ATS versus conference opponents, 4-6 ATS on grass fields, 1-4 ATS against teams with losing records, 5-6 ATS in the underdog role and 0-2 ATS as a road dog of 3.5 – 7 points.
The Browns are 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 contests dating back to late 2011 (6-4-2 ATS this season). They are 4-2 ATS in home games this year and are 2-1 ATS when the total is between 35.5 and 42 points.
The number is sitting at -7.5 at some shops, but I’m buying it down to a flat -6 and picking the Brownies to take advantage of an emotionally drained K.C. club.
Play: Cleveland Browns -6 (5dimes.eu)
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NFL Record: 9-3-1