Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 14 picks: Browns at Patriots

Associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the New England Patriots' AFC battle with the Cleveland Browns.

Dan's take:
Going on the road to face the Patriots’ 10th-ranked pass defense is already a task in itself; having a concussed Jason Campbell at the helm only makes matters worse. Look for New England to blanket Josh Gordon and throw some big blitzes at the ailing quarterback, who will need big games from his running game to keep things moving. Expect Tom Brady to stick to his bread and butter of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski as primary options with Aaron Dobson out, and look for Stevan Ridley to have a bounce-back performance free of fumbles. New England does its part to wrap up the division against a team in desperate need of some leadership under center.
Prediction: Patriots 32, Browns 17

Sean's take:
The Browns seem to be a team on the rise, but injures and poor play from the quarterback spot have resulted in a 1-6 record in their last seven games. Having the veteran Campbell at the helm, who will have a quality receiving corps which includes budding superstar wideout Josh Gordon at his disposal, will give the Cleveland offense some teeth to go along with an aggressive, talented defense. It'll be a tougher-than-expected test for the Patriots, but Brady continues playing at an MVP level and the New England defense coaxes a couple costly mistakes from Campbell, and the Patriots clinch the division with the victory.
Prediction: Patriots 34, Browns 24