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The Cleveland Browns take on the Los Angeles Chargers this Sunday afternoon. Can Nick Chubb expose the Chargers' weakness on defense and get the Browns back into the win column? Matt MacKay breaks it down.
ANALYSIS

Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers Prediction, Pick, Odds: Can Nick Chubb Carry the Browns in Week 5?

The Browns were only one-point road favorites in Week 4 against Atlanta, which wound up as a three-point loss with Jacoby Brissett throwing an interception during the final drive of the game. Cleveland's defense was without star defensive ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney and it made a difference. The Browns' defense gave up over 202 rushing yards and only forced one turnover, which has been a consistent trend through its first four games.

Justin Herbert has battled through rib injuries since taking a big hit against Kansas City in Week 2. It was ugly against Jacksonville in Week 3, losing 38-10 at home, but the Chargers held on against Houston after building a 27-7 lead on the back of Austin Ekeler's three-touchdown performance. Herbert was slinging the ball against an underrated Texans defense, completing 27 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns. The third-year quarterback has yet to finish a game with less than 279 passing yards this season, which is why the Chargers are ranked first in the league for passing offense.

Can Nick Chubb expose the Chargers' weakness on defense and get the Browns back into the win column? Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Sunday's game in Cleveland between the Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers.

Browns vs. Chargers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: October 9, 2022
  • Game Time: 1:00 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: CBS

Browns vs. Chargers Odds

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Browns vs. Chargers Injury Report

Browns

Questionable: DE Jadeveon Clowney (Ankle), T Joe Haeg (Concussion), DT Taven Bryan (Hamstring), DE Myles Garrett (Shoulder)

Chargers

Questionable: TE Donald Parham Jr. (Hamstring), WR Keenan Allen (Hamstring)

Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers Prediction

Teams traveling from the West Coast to eastern time zones for 1 pm ET kickoffs is a well-documented stat. It's proven accurate in the past and it held with the Raiders failing in Tennessee a couple of weeks ago. Herbert has only played the Browns once in his career, which happened in SoFi Stadium back in Week 5 of 2021. It turned into quite a shootout, with the Chargers winning 47-42 as two-point favorites.

Cleveland is 2-2 ATS, while Los Angeles is 3-1 ATS, laying an egg against Jacksonville. Nick Chubb was effective against Atlanta, carrying 19 times for 118 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn't enough to beat the Falcons on the road in Week 4. David Njoku and Donovan Peoples-Jones were the primary weapons for Brissett downfield, each hauling in five receptions for over 70 yards. Atlanta is a vulnerable pass defense and the Chargers have Derwin James Jr., Asante Samuel Jr., and J.C. Jackson lurking as significant upgrades over what the Browns faced last week.

The loss of edge rusher Joey Bosa to a groin injury will prove to be a big deal against a talented Cleveland offensive line. Through four games, the Browns have allowed only 1.3 sacks per game, ranking T2 in the league. The Chargers bring plenty of pressure and have fared well against other offensive lines, but the absence of Bosa forces Khalil Mack to be a dominant disruptor with Kyle Van Noy. It's an uphill battle but an intriguing piece of the strategy for both teams ahead of Sunday's matchup along the shores of Lake Erie.

Kareem Hunt averaged 4.9 YPC behind Chubb against a good Atlanta run defense, so how will they look against the Chargers at home? Los Angeles is pedestrian in terms of stopping the run, allowing 109.8 yards per game and watching their average plummet James Robinson and Dameon Pierce the last two weeks. Chubb and Hunt are the most dynamic running back duo in the league right now, elevating Cleveland's offense with over 187.3 rushing yards per game this season. I expect head coach Kevin Stefanski to take full advantage of the matchup disparity, which will create a couple of big play-action passes to hit Njoku, Peoples-Jones, or Amari Cooper downfield.

It's important to note that the Browns have been the first to score in eight of their previous nine games while winning nine of ten outright at home following a loss. The spread is one of the smaller ones on the Week 5 slate and the Browns are in a good position at home against a West Coast team that just struggled against other strong rushing attacks. I like the Browns to cover the spread at home, where they have looked good asides from a late-game meltdown against Joe Flacco in Week 2. The pass defense is its strength, which is also what the Chargers rely on since they currently have the 32nd-ranked rushing offense.

It will be a close game either way, so I prefer to play it safe and will take the Browns to cover at +2.5.

Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers Pick

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Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.

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