Rookies Tune and Demercado Could Lead Arizona Against Top Defense in the NFL
Those who might have been expecting a quarterback matchup between Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson when the Arizona Cardinals head to face the Cleveland Browns could instead get rookie Clayton Tune going up against P.J. Walker in the Cardinals vs Browns Week 9 matchup.
Arizona has dropped five games in a row with the Cardinals one of three NFL teams yet to win on the road during the 2023 season. Cleveland has overcome a series of injuries to key players to open the season at 4-3 thanks to a 3-1 win at home.
When looking at the NFL betting odds calculator has Cleveland as the 8-point favorite. It is the largest line with the Browns as the favorite since a 2021 matchup against the Detroit Lions. The Browns have -380 odds to win the game outright compared to a +310 number for the 1-7 Cardinals.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson and receiver Cedric Tillman are questionable for the Browns while offensive lineman Drew Forbes and defensive lineman Siaki Ika are out for the Browns.
For Arizona, linebacker Krys Barnes, defensive lineman Kevin Strong and receiver Greg Dortsch are questionable.
Cleveland (+450) is third behind Baltimore and Cincinnati in the odds to win the AFC North Division title. No team has longer odds to win a division title than Arizona’s +25000 odds to win the NFC West crown.
Location: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Line: Cleveland -8
Browns Getting Defensive
One way to deal with injuries to the top running back and starting quarterback is to put together a dominant defense.
Cleveland leads the NFL in passing defense, allowing 163.3 yards per game and total defense with just 260 yards given up per contest so far this season heading into the Cardinals vs Browns Week 9 matchup.
It hasn’t translated in scoring defense, as the Browns are just 12th as Cleveland has given up 19.9 points per contest.
Leading the way is Myles Garrett, one of the front-runners in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds. Garrett is tied for third in the NFL with 8.5 quarterback sacks. He is tied with Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys for the best odds to be named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Arizona has covered in four of its last five games.
Not Getting Passing Grades
Arizona turned to Joshua Dobbs when Murray was sidelined coming into the season.
With the 25th-best quarterback rating and just eight touchdown passes in eight games, the Arizona coaching staff was ready to turn to Tune until Murray was ready to take the field. The Cardinals made it official by trading Dobbs to the Minnesota Vikings.
With an injury to running back James Conner to go with the absence of Murray and tight end, Zach Ertz being sidelined, it is not a surprise that the Cardinals rank outside the top 20 in total offense and scoring offense before the Cardinals vs Browns Week 9 matchup.
Cleveland has covered against the NFL betting lines in just one of its last six games played in November.
This will be just the sixth meeting between the teams in the last 20 years.
In the 2021 meeting in Cleveland, Arizona rolled to a 37-14 win as the three-point underdog.
Murray threw for four touchdowns and the Cardinals held the Browns scoreless in the second half to roll to the victory. It was Arizona’s fifth straight win versus Cleveland.
The game went over the 48-point total on Murray’s TD pass to A.J. Green with 4:48 left to play.
Cardinals vs Browns Betting Preview
Both teams are left with offensive lineups missing key producers and it remains to be seen how the teams will hold up offensively in this matchup. There is a +145 Moneyline for Cleveland to score on its first drive compared to +260 odds for Arizona to come away with points on its opening possession.
The 37.5-point total is tied with the New York Giants-Las Vegas Raiders matchup for the lowest total of Week 9.
Only the Raiders have a worse turnover margin than Cleveland’s -7 mark with the Browns leading the NFL with 17 giveaways. Arizona is +1 in turnover margin.
Arizona has lost seven of its last eight games against AFC teams and has dropped its last seven road games.
Arizona is 4-4 against the spread with Cleveland posting a 3-3-1 mark. The Browns covered in their only game this season when favored at home this season. Arizona is 1-3 against the spread as the road underdog. Keep that in mind when looking at the NFL scores for today.
Cleveland has attempted the most running plays and is second in rushing yards per game despite losing top runner Nick Chubb early in the season. Arizona has turned to undrafted rookie free agent Emari Demercado to lead the running game.
Go with Cleveland to hand the struggling Cardinals another road loss.