Cleveland Browns vs. Las Vegas Raiders Prediction: Can You Trust the Browns to Dominate?

The Browns take on the Raiders in a Week 15 AFC battle. Can the Browns continue a strong playoff push? NFL expert Mike Spector gives his pick here.
Mike Spector |
Tue, December 14, 2:41 PM EST | 4 min read
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Cleveland Browns vs. Las Vegas Raiders Prediction: Can You Trust the Browns to Dominate?

Though just one game separates the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cleveland Browns in the standings, these two teams have a much different feel entering this week’s matchup. The Raiders have lost back-to-back games and five of their last six and have the sense that their season is slipping away. Meanwhile, the Browns are coming off a big win against the Ravens, which moved them just one game back of first place in the AFC North. So with these two teams heading in opposite directions, does that naturally lend to a big Browns victory?

Cleveland Browns vs. Las Vegas Raiders Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: Saturday, December 18, 2021
  • Game Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
  • Where To Watch: NFL Network

Click Here For Browns vs. Raiders Odds

Cleveland Browns vs. Las Vegas Raiders Injury Report

Raiders

Questionable: DE Maxx Crosby, TE Foster Moreau, TE Darren Waller

Out: LB Patrick Onwuasor, LB Denzel Perryman, DE Carl Nassib

Browns

Questionabale: TE David NjokuDoubtful: CB Troy Hill, RB Kareem Hunt

Out: CB Greg Newsome II, WR Anthony Schwartz, S Ronnie Harrison Jr., TE Harrison Bryant

Cleveland Browns vs. Las Vegas Raiders Betting Line Movement

Browns vs. Raiders Prediction

One of the biggest reasons for Las Vegas’ recent downturn is an underperforming offense. During the Raiders’ 5-2 start, the team averaged 25.7 points per game and exceeded 30 points on four different occasions. However, Las Vegas’ 1-5 stretch has coincided with them being held to 16 points or fewer in five of their last six games. In addition, they seem to go as quarterback Derek Carr goes. When Carr fails to throw for at least 300 yards this season, the Raiders are 0-7.

Cleveland is looking for consistency as they have traded wins and losses for the last eight weeks. The Browns have not won consecutive games since a three-game winning streak from Weeks 2-4. Cleveland has not exactly lit up the scoreboard either recently, as 13.5 points per game over the last four games. Outside of a 41-16 victory in Week 9, the Browns have topped 20 points just once in their previous eight games. Quarterback Baker Mayfield continues to nurse a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, and teams recently have been loading the box to stop the run, daring Mayfield to beat them downfield with his arm.

Cleveland finds themselves one game back of the AFC North lead mainly on the strength of a defense that harasses opposing quarterbacks. The Browns rank fourth in the league in pass-rush win rate, and they have allowed the fifth-lowest QBR (31.6) since Week 7.

The biggest reason for their success is Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett, whose 15 sacks to this point is already a single-season franchise record. He and Jadeveon Clowney have combined for 20 sacks and have been a nightmare duo for opposing tackles to block.

One game after the Browns’ Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt had 15 total rushes against the Ravens for a combined 36 yards, the Browns got back to more of their “ground and pound” mentality in the rematch, running 29 times for 100 total yards. While the 3.4 YPC average leaves something to be desired, Cleveland had built a comfortable 24-6 halftime lead and then had to hold on for dear life as Tyler Huntley moved the Baltimore offense successfully in the second half.

The Raiders enter this week with the 26th-ranked rush defense, allowing 125.3 yards per game on the ground. That is not a good recipe for success when facing a Cleveland team that wants to establish a physical running game and take the pressure off Baker Mayfield. However, while Kareem Hunt is considered unlikely to play, the Browns have an outstanding second back in D’Ernest Johnson, who can spell Nick Chubb in stretches if needed. Both Chubb and Johnson average at least 5.3 yards per carry.

Thus, Cleveland’s dominance of the line of scrimmage will be their key to success in this Saturday afternoon game. It is a tall task to ask a Raiders team that has lost five of six games to go on the road and hold up physically against a team like Cleveland. And given how reliant the Raiders are on Carr, it will be another long day for their offense if he is under relentless pressure from Garrett and company.

Cleveland has not covered the spread in their last four games, but the Browns will find reprieve playing at home against a Raiders team trending downwards.

Browns vs. Raiders Pick

Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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