Two much improved sides battle it out in the final match of Week 5 of the NFL season when the San Francisco 49ers host the Cleveland Browns in the latest Monday Night Football, one which will give us a further indication of the credentials of both sides.
San Francisco have opened up the season with three successive victories, something not many people saw coming. Indeed it was the Browns who were expected to have the better season but they are only 2-2 for their campaign.
San Francisco 49ers
If it is possible to do such a thing, the 49ers have gone 3-0 under the radar but that is all going to change on Monday night as everyone is going to get the opportunity to watch them, study them and assess them. It will be interesting to see how they go with that in mind because when you go under the radar you can class yourself as an underdog. Suddenly everyone is billing them as the favourite which is a different ball game.
To be fair to San Francisco, we were expecting them to be this time last season until the early injury to Jimmy Garropolo but paid to that idea. What that struggling term did do was allow them to focus on other ways to be competitive in matches and now that he is back with some extra weapons identified, the iconic franchise are very much the better for it as results have proved.
At some point it all had to come together for the Cleveland Browns. They had so many high draft picks in recent times that a decent team couldn’t fail to be built. They have used the free agency around that and when you look at their roster, there aren’t many better man for man, especially in the key areas of the field. The dynamic for them now is whether they can handle the expectation and perform under it.
Baker Mayfield has shown signs of his talent and he has a decent receiving core to throw to while Nick Chubb certainly gets it done on the ground. The Browns have a good pass rush as well so all the tools are in place for them to have a big season. They need to go on a run of consistency now. Good sides beat good teams on the road and this offers up a text in that regard.
I’m happy to ride the Cleveland Browns with the five point start in this match. I totally respect the start that the San Francisco 49ers have made to the season but I do question what they have beaten. I don’t think it has been much in all truth whereas the results of the Cleveland Browns have got better since that complete botch job on the opening week of the campaign.
Their win over the Baltimore Ravens last week continued their perfect record on the road and there are definite signs that they are a better team away from the expectation of a baying home crowd, and even more so as an underdog as they are here. The 49ers rely a lot on running the ball for their success but the Browns have the personnel to force Garropolo to have to win this through the air. Take George Kittle out of the equation and I’m sure where his weapons are to do that with. The Browns may well win this but five points is enough for me to ride the handicap.
Back Cleveland Browns (+5) to beat San Francisco 49ers for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill
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