The Cleveland Browns' Week 3 game against the Tennessee Titans should be among the closest matchups on Sunday's NFL schedule. With three days left until the Browns-Titans game, our Browns' Week 3 predictions suggest that Cleveland will be involved in another ugly, low-scoring affair.
The Browns have started the 2023 season by splitting a pair of AFC North games. Cleveland beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-3 in a matchup that was highlighted by poor offense and bad weather. Joe Burrow had arguably the worst game of his career, and Deshaun Watson wasn't at all impressive. Turnovers dominated the Browns' 26-22 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. The Steelers scored two defensive touchdowns. Cleveland's season was potentially altered when Nick Chubb suffered a brutal knee injury that will keep him out for the rest of the year.
Both of the Titans' games have come down to the wire. The New Orleans Saints held off Tennessee 16-15 in Week 1. After failing to score a touchdown in their first game, the Titans beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 in overtime to win their home opener.
Sunday's game is a contest that Cleveland should win. The Browns are favored by 3.5 points at home over the Titans at FanDuel Sportsbook. Cleveland has -180 odds to win straight up and improve to 2-1. Can Tennessee pull off the upset? Let's look at two bold Browns predictions for Week 2.
Note that these are bold predictions. It isn't likely that both predictions will come to fruition, but they have a better chance of occurring than what the odds indicate.
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2. Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson will have fewer than 170 passing yards
The mounting evidence says that Watson is a mediocre quarterback. Watson was downright bad in his first season with the Browns. Perhaps much of his poor play could've been chalked up to the fact that he missed nearly two years of NFL action because of his suspension. But Watson hasn't been any better to start his first full season as the Browns' No. 1 quarterback, raising serious questions about how effective he can be for the remainder of his fully guaranteed contract.
If Watson is going to turn his season around, it's probably not going to happen against the Titans' defense. Justin Herbert put up big numbers in Tennessee last week, but Watson isn't on the same level as the Chargers' signal caller. He might not even be on par with Derek Carr, who only led the Saints to 16 points against the Titans.
In eight starts with the Browns, Watson has been held below 170 passing yards five times. Watson has nine touchdowns and seven interceptions in those eight games. He's completed fewer than 56% of his passes in both games this season. It's been three years since Watson showed that he could even be an average starting quarterback.
Chubb's absence will put more responsibility on Watson's shoulders. The quarterback's brief time in Cleveland suggests that he won't rise to the occasion.
1. The Browns and Titans will combine to score fewer than 31.5 points
The over/under for the Browns-Titans game is 39.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook. The two teams could have a difficult time approaching that total. If Watson isn't going to improve, Cleveland won't put up a ton of points. Tennessee has its own offensive issues that will keep the Titans from scoring several touchdowns.
Ryan Tannehill was an abomination in Week 1, completing fewer than half of his passes and throwing three interceptions. The Titans quarterback bounced back in Week 2, missing on just four of his 24 attempts and recording a sterling 123.3 passer rating. Which is the real version of Tannehill? The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, though Cleveland's defense might cause the veteran to resemble his Week 1 self.
Only the Dallas Cowboys are giving up fewer passing yards per game than the Browns. Cleveland's opponents' passer rating of 60.1 is the lowest in the AFC. Grant Delpit, Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II have been terrific on the backend of the defense while Myles Garrett wreaks havoc up front. It's going to be a long day for Tannehill and the Titans' offensive line.
Don't expect Derrick Henry or the Browns' running backs to have a big day on the ground. Both the Browns and Titans rank in the top five in fewest yards per carry allowed. Cleveland will look to make sure that Tannehill, not Henry, beats them. Tennessee shut down Los Angeles' run game after the Chargers had run wild the previous week.
Betting under 31.5 points comes with +285 odds at FanDuel. It might be a wager worth making.