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Browns won’t let you down vs. Lions in Week 11 survivor pools

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Week 10 featured a Geoffrey Chaucer moment for a lot of contestants in survivor pools around the globe. That includes me, as my survivor entry in VSiN’s Point Spread Weekly and here in The Post is no longer perfect. The first use of the idiom “All good things must come to an end” is attributed to Chaucer, though he wasn’t talking about survivor entries in 1374. 

The Ravens and Steelers were very popular picks last week that went down in flames, as Baltimore lost Thursday night and Pittsburgh tied the lowly Lions on Sunday. There was some bad luck in there, as Ben Roethlisberger tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday after most contest deadlines, but perfection sometimes requires being on the right side of luck. Being on the wrong side can result in exactly what we saw. 

While I avoided the AFC North minefield last week, I did not avoid defeat, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Washington Football Team. It was a risk taking a team off the bye, given that those teams are now 5-11 ATS and many of the good offenses have struggled, but the injury report wound up worse than I expected for a team on extra rest and Tom Brady had a rare bad game. 

The survivor series will continue and now I’ll wipe the slate clean and make all 32 teams available. The plan was to play it out for real until a loss, and that time has come. 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium.
Baker Mayfield
USA TODAY Sports

If you are still alive in your survivor pool, I think the Browns over the Lions is your “1A” option. Two teams really stand out in a big way this week that are probably available to most active survivor contestants, and this is one. Baker Mayfield suffered another injury Sunday and is starting to look like that poor schmuck from the board game Operation, but fading the Lions makes a ton of sense this week. 

For starters, they just played an entire overtime period against the Steelers. They also watched as Jared Goff played about as badly as humanly possible and also played hurt. Backup Tim Boyle took first-team reps on Wednesday. Then there are the suboptimal conditions. As a Cleveland native, let me tell you that late November on the shores of Lake Erie is not the time to roll out a blanket and have a picnic. 

While Mayfield is practicing in Bubble Wrap this week, the Browns could get back Nick Chubb and also step down in class in a big way here. This is the last remaining chance to use Cleveland, so if you are still standing, they absolutely have to be a consideration, especially because you probably don’t have a lot of good teams left at your disposal. 

Statistically, the Browns have the edge in virtually every way possible. The Browns have 5.9 yards per play on offense to 4.9 for the Lions. Despite getting shredded by the Patriots, Cleveland is still a top-five defense in yards per play. The Lions rank 29th. The Browns are tied for the league lead in sacks with 29. Detroit has the third fewest with 14. Cleveland’s third-down defense is abominable, but Detroit ranks 31st in conversion rate. 

The Browns simply cannot afford to lose this game, and I don’t think they will. 

Adam Burke handicaps the NFL for Point Spread Weekly, VSiN’s digital magazine for sports bettors. 

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