NFL Free Pick: Cleveland at Tennessee

The Cleveland Browns have not won a road contest in over a year and are riding a seven game losing streak that dates back to last year. The team has used five different quarterbacks in their first five games of the 2016 season and embraces former Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles to assist them in steadying the position.  Cleveland travels to Nashville  with an 0-5 mark on the season to square off against the Tennessee Titans (2-3) at Nissan Stadium. Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans (-7, 45.5) kicks off at 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 16, 2016 from Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Briles has been hired by the Cleveland front office to serve as an offensive adviser for the Browns.  Briles, considered an offensive guru was fired by Baylor after the program was connected to a large number of sexual assault cases involving several members of the school’s football team. Briles will have the job of coaching up the Browns quarterbacks including this Sunday’s starter rookie Cody Kessler.  The Browns Kessler was knocked out of last weekend’s loss to the Patriots with chest and rib injuries but is slated to make his fourth career start on Sunday against the Titans.

Kessler, who has been hurried and sacked more times than any starting quarterback in the league this season,  will face a Titans defense that registered six sacks in last weekend’s victory against the Dolphins

The reports out of Cleveland are that veteran quarterback Josh McCown is in line to be active and back up Kessler. McCown has missed the last three games with a broken collarbone. The Browns also promoted quarterback Kevin Hogan from the practice squad this week and the team will have at their disposal wide receiver Terrelle Pryor if needed to take snaps at quarterback in the team’s wildcat formation.

Injuries at quarterback have been just one of the Cleveland offensive issues this season. The team will be without starting left guard Joel Bitonio, who will miss the game with a foot sprain. Center Cameron Erving will start for the first time since suffering a bruised lung Sept. 18.  Then there is left tackle Joe Thomas who is nursing a knee injury who will be asked to play despite missing the last three practice sessions.  The offensive line could also be without top blocking tight end Gary Barnidge (ankle).

Defensively the Browns rank 30th overall in the league  in the NFL in defense, may also be

Tennessee ended a two-game skid by winning at Miami 30-17 last week. Quarterback Marcus Mariota had arguably his best performance as a professional. The former Oregon Duck threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score.  Veteran running back DeMarco Murray has assisted quarterback Mariota into being more efficient offensively. Murray is a ground and pound threat that cannot be ignored by opposing defenses. The former rushing champion has turned the Titans into a much more balanced attack and in turn more difficult to defend. Murray has totaled 461 yards on the ground for the NFL’s second-ranked rushing offense.

The Browns are a M*A*S*H unit that can’t field an experienced quarterback or offensive line. The Cleveland defense is on the field far too much week in and week out.  And while the Titans have not shown any consistency offensively, ranking 24th in the NFL averaging less than 19 points per game, they have shown significant progress since Week #1 and square off against a Cleveland stop-unit that can’t do enough to keep opposing offenses out of the endzone.

The Titans’ defense continues to grow under the tutelage of Dick LeBeau and the Browns have surrendered 13 touchdown passes on the season and allowed at least 25 points in every game
ranking among the bottom-five in points and yards allowed.

Take the Titans and lay the points in this Week #6 win for Tennessee (-7 points).



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