Two of the top teams in the AFC square off on Sunday when the Cleveland Browns hit the road to visit the Los Angeles Chargers for a Week 5 contest.
Browns vs Chargers for AFC Division
Two of the top teams in the AFC square off on Sunday when the Cleveland Browns hit the road to visit the Los Angeles Chargers for a NFL Week 5 contest. The kickoff of this matchup of division leaders is scheduled for 4:05 pm ET at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
The Browns have won three straight since a narrow season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, including a 14-7 victory at Minnesota in NFL Week 4. Cleveland is 3-1 and tied atop the AFC North standings with the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Los Angeles is also 3-1 after winning its second straight, a 28-14 Monday Night Football victory over the previously-unbeaten Las Vegas Raiders. The Chargers are tied with the Raiders and the Denver Broncos for the top spot in the AFC West, with the Chiefs just a game back in the standings.
Bovada has the Chargers as a 2.5-point favorite in this contest, with the over/under set at 47 points. You can make a moneyline bet on Los Angeles at -135, while Cleveland is available at +115.
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Doing It With D
Cleveland has been ferocious defensively over the last two weeks, holding the Vikings and Bears to a combined 13 points. The Browns limited Chicago to just 47 total yards in rookie Justin Fields’ first start in the NFL Odds, sacking him nine times. They followed that up by holding Minnesota to just one first-quarter touchdown and 255 yards, recording two sacks and an interception.
Defensive end Myles Garrett leads the league with six sacks this season, and the Browns as a team are tied for second with 14. Cleveland is also second in yards per game allowed, giving up just 250.3.
Offensively, Nick Chubb has been the story. The Browns running back is second in the league with 362 rushing yards and has scored three times on the ground.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been solid if not spectacular, throwing for 935 yards and two scores. He’s also avoided the mistakes that have plagued him in previous years, throwing just two interceptions through four games.
Justin Herbert showed a lot of promise in his rookie season in 2020, throwing for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns. He’s on his way to eclipsing that in his second year in the league, already throwing for 1,178 yards and nine scores in leading the Chargers to a near-perfect record.
Herbert threw three first-half touchdowns in the win over the Raiders on Monday night. He’s shown a lot of poise and is being touted by many setting the NFL odds as a potential MVP candidate if the Chargers can keep winning.
It certainly helps to have a pair of veteran receivers to look for, and Herbert has a couple of good ones in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Allen leads the team with 28 receptions for 294 yards and a touchdown, while Williams has grabbed 23 catches for 306 yards and four touchdowns.
Los Angeles has its own scary pass rush, led by linebacker Joey Bosa, who has a team-best 2.5 sacks. The Chargers are able to apply a lot of pressure to opposing quarterbacks, though they’ll have to focus on trying to stop Chubb more than they have other running backs, as they rank 29th in the league, giving up 139.5 yards per game on the ground.
Chargers Win Tight One
The 2.5-point spread is likely going to be almost right on point, as this game should be a close one to the end. How well Herbert can avoid the Cleveland pass rush is going to be a big key, as well as the Chargers’ ability to stop Chubb.
Unfortunately for the Browns, they don’t have their full receiving corps available due to injuries, and that’s going to take away some of their explosiveness. In a game against the Chargers, that lack of explosiveness is going to cost them. When you’re making your NFL picks, take Los Angeles to win and cover.