Browns Fire Hue: Early Looks for NFL Week 9

The Cleveland Browns coaching staff was on the chopping block yesterday.  Head coach Hue Jackson and OC Todd Haley both got the axe.  Coach Hue was loved by players but he couldn’t overcome a 3-36-1 record over the past 2 1/2 years. Below are some essential tips that will help you navigate the spreads for week 9 in the NFL.

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Brownies.  Greg Williams is taking over in Cleveland.  He’s infamous for his role in New Orleans’ “Bountygate” scandal and is a defensive-minded coach.  We can only assume (and hope) that he stays away from the offense. Kitchens is a former Alabama QB who coached under Ken Whisenhunt and Bruce Arians in Arizona from 2007-17. He has never been a coordinator at any level and has called plays in just one game — the fourth game of this past preseason. Detroit’s starters didn’t play in that game, but Baker Mayfield started, and the Browns offense looked great.  They put up 35 points, 424 offensive yards and 22 first downs.  That’s hardly a resume you want to back, especially with the Chiefs coming to town this week.

We recommend hopping on the Chiefs early.  At currently, the Chiefs are -8 and the total is 51.5.   Kitchens is an unknown.  And the fact is that Hue Jackson was 3-36-1 SU and 14-26 ATS in his career with the Browns. Things can only go up from here…right?   Perhaps.  But not starting this week as the team is likely shaken from the move and will take a bit to get back into some kind of groove this season.

Tampa.  Fitzmagic.  Oy.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made things official on Monday by confirming that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the team’s starting quarterback moving forward. It’s a move that was expected after Fitzpatrick replaced a horrible Jameis Winston in the third quarter and rallied the Bucs from an 18-point deficit.  Of course, they had to watch the Bengals win it on a field goal as time expired. It’s also a franchise-altering move as Tampa Bay owes Winston no guaranteed money after this season. It’s quite possibly the end of the Jameis Winston era in Tampa.

Fitzpatrick was nothing short of awesome in rallying the Bucs on Sunday, going 11 of 15 for 194 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yard touchdown to Mike Evans which was his league-leading fifth touchdown pass of 50 yards or more this season. The Bucs are in a tough spot this week as they play their fourth road contest in five games as a touchdown underdog at Carolina.  Fitz likes to throw the long ball so take a look at the total and possibly lock that in now.  

In sticking with Tampa Bay, running back Ronald Jones is expected to miss multiple weeks with a hamstring injury. This clears things up a bit in the crowded Buccaneers backfield as Peyton Barber should handle the early-down work while Jacquizz Rodgers gets the passing downs.

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Rams.  What’s up with Kupp?  Rams coach Sean McVay said on Monday that there’s a “good chance” that receiver Cooper Kupp returns on Sunday at New Orleans for a game that opened with a total of 59 and has already been bumped up to 60!  Kupp has missed the last two and a half games after getting hurt early in the Week 6 win at Denver. That said, the Rams have been able to win without Kupp, but Jared Goff has clearly missed him and has posted three of his weaker games of the season in the past three.  We’ll be looking to take the Over on Goff’s passing yards total on Sunday, especially if Kupp is cleared.

Skins.  Washington running back Chris Thompson is back on the injury report with a rib injury that he suffered in Sunday’s win over the Giants. Thompson was playing his first game since Week 5 and managed just five touches on 26 snaps (38 percent). Reports out of Washington say that his availability for Week 9 will depend on his ability to tolerate the pain.

Regardless of whether Thompson suits up, it looks like Washington’s backfield has become all Adrian Peterson. Over the past three weeks, the ageless wonder is averaging 22.3 carries for 115 yards. This Sunday, Washington hosts the Falcons in what should be a great spot for Peterson against the 31st-ranked rush defense in DVOA. Washington will also be looking to control the clock — something they do better than any team except Philadelphia — as to keep Matt Ryan and the explosive Falcons offense off the field. We like Peterson to have another big game and we’re backing the Over for his rushing total.

Jack Kincaid is a senior analyst


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