The London games draw to a close this week after 3 blowouts in games that should have been competitive, one team in each game just hasn’t shown up. It could potentially be a worry for teams coming over here in the future as all the coaches and owners talk to each other about it. I hope it doesn’t put other teams off, but who knows. The Ravens hated it, the Dolphins had been over before but that didn’t help them, and in fairness, the Cardinals lost their starting QB so they at least had a decent reason for the shutout.
Minnesota Vikings (-10) @ Cleveland Browns – o/u – 38
BBC2 from 1300!
This game could provide us a shutout as well, but that’s more to do with the Browns being horrible than the travel. They had one plus on the season, the return of Myles Garrett who had looked great in limited snaps and might have given the UK fans something to watch, but he’s missing due to concussion symptoms. So, frankly, we’re left with not much to get excited by here. The Browns have lost the most games in a row by a management group since the war and don’t really look like snapping that streak.
They have Deshone Kizer back at QB today, to start anyway, who knows more than that. Hue Jackson said that he’d be playing no matter what, but he’s given the ball away so many times that he’s been forced to yank him out of the game to try and keep his job! The play-calling, and penalties definitely haven’t been helping, when you’re constantly forced to throw on 3rd and 27 the QB is never going to look good. Look for Cody Kessler coming into the game in the second half.
The running game was much lauded in pre-season with Hue telling everyone that he regretted not playing him more last season and with his re-vamped O-Line I’m sure he thought he’d be able to, but he’s been rubbish. Averaging just over 3 yards per carry. In fact Duke Johnson has been a far better prospect in the backfield, he’s the pass catching back, and it may well be due to the long yardage they constantly need to get, but he’s looked good in passing and rushing situations.
The passing game is essentially a non-event. Higgins? Louis? Kenny Britt can fuck right off. The irony of a man with that surname coming over here and slagging off the country is probably lost on him. He’s been shit this year and obviously only joined the Browns for the money, they even said earlier in the season if they had any other choices at WR that they’d have cut him by now. The prick. Kasen Williams has been a little more involved recently and looked decent in Seattle in pre-season. But honestly, for betting, there’s nothing here.
Their kicker hasn’t been great either.
Because it’s a London game I’ve actually got them slated to get a TD and an FG in this game, it’s always tough to figure out what’s going to happen when teams come over, but honestly, they’re facing a team who has only conceded more than 19 points once this season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a shutout again.
The Vikings are a slightly more positive team to talk about despite losing their main QB, RB and WR at different points this season. Bradford is out for the year (probably), Dalvin Cook looked great coming into the season, he’s out for the year and Stefon Diggs has missed the last few weeks with injury, but should be back this week. Ironically despite all that the loss of Aaron Rodgers against them for the Packers has probably left them in better shape than the start of the season in their division.
Case Keenum under centre has done well for them, he’ll want to forget his trip to London last year with the Rams, but he has the weapons to throw to today and a run game that’s good enough. He’s averaging 200-odd per game, the return of Diggs could boost that though.
Adam Thielen has been the main man while Diggs has been out, targeted 25 times in those couple of games, but I think he’s more effective with Diggs in there, the targets he was getting with Diggs were further down the field and as a result he was putting up more yardage with Diggs in, so we should see a return to that today. The worry for me is that they’ll get up by 2 or 3 TDs in the first half and may want to give Diggs a rest despite bringing him all the way over here. They won’t want to risk aggravation to his injury. – The duo were actually 1st and 2nd in the league when they were playing together at the start of the season so they could be very dynamic if they’re back fit. The Tight end Kyle Rudolph led the league in receptions at the position last year, but hasn’t been as involved this season, he’s yet to top 50 yards in a game, and seems to get less looks with Diggs in the team, but…tight ends always score against the Browns (except Walker last week who should have done) He’s 15/8 on 365 to score.
The Browns have actually got a top 3 run defence this season, so you’d imagine the Vikings will generally go through the air today, but they do well on the round as ell, Jerrick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have pretty similar snap and carry counts since Cook went down. McKinnon is more fun to watch, he can catch the ball as well, and has been scoring, but Murray got the break away last week and looks like he may finally be fit from the ankle injury he’s been carrying all year. I won’t be picking anything on either of them today, but Murray in theory, should be the goal line back.
Probably just the one for me today –
- Kyle Rudolph anytime – 15/8 – 2pts
Try and enjoy the game! I’m happy we have them over here despite the fact I’ve not made it to any of them this year. Looks like we’ll be getting another 4 games again next year which is great news!