Monday Night Football: Week 5 Preview

Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers

Levi’s Stadium

Santa Clara, CA

Betting

The current spread of this matchup is set at -4.5 (-110) with the undefeated 49ers at -210 on the Moneyline. With a total set at 47.5 points (-115 Over), tonight’s game should be a close one with the score in the low-20’s for each team according to sportsbooks. Personally, I have the Browns +5 (-120) because I feel that the Browns are starting to hit their stride and the 49ers are pretenders. Also, I have the 49ers under 26.5 points (-110) for the same aforementioned reason. The one thing that the 49ers have excelled at is controlling the possession of the football. With this knowledge, I have also put 1u on Nick Chubb under 88.5 rushing yards.

Injuries

The 49ers enter tonight’s game in exceptional health. Yes, starting LT Joe Staley remains out with his fractured fibula but starting RB Tevin Coleman looks to be on track for a return to action tonight. On defense, starting D-lineman Dee Ford is questionable which could open up even more playing time for the highly touted rookie, Nick Bosa.

For the Browns, they are not so lucky on the injury front. With starting RT Chris Hubbard questionable, and 3 of backup lineman already out, the Browns are thin on the offensive line. The other offensive player is a constant on the injury report: Rashard Higgins. If Higgins were to miss this game tonight, Antonio Callaway will step in as the #3 receiver. On defense, 3 of the 4 starters in the secondary are questionable to play tonight. Both starting corners, Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, may miss tonight’s game which is a boost for the 49ers passing game. Also, with Morgan Burnett potentially missing this game as well, the Browns will have trouble stopping the deep-ball.

49ers Offense vs. Browns Defense

San Francisco is a run-first team that can take the top off of the defense with their speed at receiver. Thanks to playing 3 poor teams to start the season and then a bye week last week, the 49ers are healthy and averaging 175 rushing yards a game. With Tevin Coleman returning, Matt Brieda and Raheem Mostert will likely see fewer touches despite their near 6.0 yards per carry. When the 49ers need to pass, they go with George Kittle primarily and then take deep shots with the speedy duo of Deebo Samuel and Marquise Goodwin. Jimmy Garoppolo has not lived up to his contract so far but as long as he can game-manage the 49ers down the field and chew up the clock, he’s doing his job. 

The Browns have struggled at stopping the run, which is the 49ers’ strong suit. Starting linebacker Joe Schobert seems to be the only impact player on this Browns defense. As shocking as it may seem, Myles Garrett is not wrecking as much havoc in the run game as expected. He is still an absolute force as a pass rusher, as evidenced by his 6 sacks in 4 games, but not much has been offered by the superstar D-lineman. With the injuries in the secondary for the Browns, this could be the game for the 49ers to do whatever they please on offense.

Browns Offense vs. 49ers Defense

The Browns offense is finally starting to hit their stride. Baker Mayfield is still struggling however, as he has more INTs and sacks taken than touchdowns thrown. In fact, Mayfield has been dropped for a sack 12 times so far in this very early season. Nick Chubb has been doing his part as he is averaging nearly 100 yards on the ground per game. But, since the Browns have been playing from behind so often, Mayfield has been forced to throw the ball more than the team wants. With the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry on hand, this shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, the offensive line has not done a good job protecting Mayfield and the entire offense has stagnated because of it. With last week’s 40-point explosion against the Ravens, the Browns will need to carry that momentum into tonight’s game if they want to beat the undefeated 49ers.

With how poorly the Browns offensive line has protected Baker Mayfield, this could be the game for the 49ers front-7 to show what all of the hype was truly about. I like the chances that Nick Bosa gets at least 1 sack in this game and that either Arik Armstead or DeForest Buckner force a fumble tonight. The 49ers have been one of the very best defensive units in football so far this season and with the struggling Browns as their opponent tonight, the 49ers have a great opportunity to move to 4-0 this season. 

Prediction

Browns: 18

49ers: 21

Guaranteed Touchdown Scorer: Nick Chubb / Jeff Wilson Jr.

Dart Throw Touchdown Scorer: Dante Pettis / Ricky Seals-Jones

Conclusion

Will the 49ers remain undefeated? Do the Browns pull off the upset? Let me know in the comments down below!

-Mitchell Seefeldt

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