MIN-CLE Free Pick
Cleveland, OH - Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings will travel to Ohio to take on Brady Quinn and the Cleveland Browns at 1:00PM ET on Sunday.
Even though Favre gives the Vikings a formidable passing game, Minnesota will keep the ball on the ground plenty this Sunday in Cleveland. The Vikes aren’t going to get away from trying to stuff running back Adrian Peterson down the Browns’ throat now that they finally have a quarterback that will test opponents with the vertical game.
Even though the Browns struggled again last year and wound up picking in the top 5 in April’s draft, Cleveland isn’t as far off as many think. Quinn got some starting experience last year and looked comfortable running new head coach Eric Mangini’s offense. The Browns also have a solid offensive line and have some playmakers in Braylon Edwards (when he hangs onto the ball) and rookie running back James Davis.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BetOnline have made the Browns 4.5-point home underdogs against the Vikings. The over/under total for this game has been established at 40.
The Browns are going to have trouble running the football this year if Davis can’t build off his impressive preseason. And even if he does wind up being a productive back, he’s not going to find much room to run against the best run defense in the league.
The Vikings are going to shut down Cleveland’s running game and force the Browns to beat them through the air. For as good as Quinn looked in preseason, his receiving corps outside of Edwards is largely inexperienced and will need a couple games to gel. Meanwhile, the Vikings will look to move the ball with AP and then strike for big plays over the top of Cleveland’s defense once they start sneaking extra defenders into the box.
Even though we like taking home underdogs, the Vikings are just too good of a pick here. They shouldn’t have any problems covering the 4.5 points, even away from the comforts of the Metrodome.
We also advice taking the under in this matchup. The total has gone under in four of Minnesota’s last five games, and under in eight of Cleveland’s last 11 games at home.
Our NFL Week 1 Free Picks for this matchup are: MINNESOTA VIKINGS –4.5 and UNDER 40.
Minnesota Vikings –4.5 Over 40 Moneyline -210
Cleveland Browns +4.5 Over 40 Moneyline +175
Minnesota is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
Minnesota is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games
Cleveland is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 games at home
Cleveland is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home
Erin Henderson, LB, Out Week 1 (calf)
Bernard Berrian, WR, Questionable Week 1 (hamstring)
Jim Kleinsasser, TE, Probable Week 1 (hand)
Rex Hadnot, G, Out Week 1 (knee)
Cedric Peerman, RB, Doubtful Week 1 (thigh)
David Bowens, LB, Questionable Week 1 (knee)
Jerome Harrison, RB, Questionable Week 1 (knee)
Shaun Rogers, DT, Questionable Week 1 (foot)
Eric Wright, CB, Questionable Week 1 (knee)
Alex Hall, LB, Probable Week 1 (shoulder)
Steve Heiden, TE, Probable Week 1 (knee)
Posted: 9/13/09 8:00AM ET