Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Matchup Preview (10/17/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Matchup Preview (10/17/21)

It’s tough to believe at the time of this writing just how much the Arizona Cardinals were undervalued going into this season. They’re in a tough division that seemed full of possible Super Bowl contenders, so heading into Week 6 as the sole undefeated team in the league probably wasn’t what many predicted for the team. Well, they’re on top of the NFC and all eyes are going to be on the Cards to keep up their strong play as they try to keep up with the cream of the conference crop such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, and Los Angeles Rams. 

The Cleveland Browns have shown plenty of talent so far this season, but their losses have been especially disappointing. They’ve given away sizable leads to both the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers in their two losses of the season. While those are both absolutely talented teams, those kinds of losses separate true playoff contenders from one-and-dones. And, with the Baltimore Ravens getting some electric wins, the Browns are going to need to make some adjustments to keep up in the AFC North. When the Cardinals travel to FirstEnergy Stadium to take on the Browns this Sunday, let’s take a look at what to expect.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Betting Odds

Call me crazy, but I think this is where the Cardinals undefeated season ends. Yes, they’re one of the more exciting teams in the league thanks to a dynamic QB and receiver depth, but a few things will hold them back this week: injuries and run defense. They lost one of Murray’s many receivers, TE Maxx Williams, possibly for the year last week. Murray himself was banged up during the matchup wth the San Francisco 49ers, and traveling to face a vicious pass defense is probably not on the young QB’s wish list right now. 

And then there’s the Arizona rush defense. Less talented teams have burned the Cards with the run game, as seen when the Jaguars amassed 159 yards on the ground just a few weeks ago. How do they expect to stand up to the top rushing team in the league? This won’t be a blowout, as I believe the Cardinals will take advantage of the Browns pass defense on Sunday. However, Cleveland will control the clock and grab a big home win against a top team. 

My predictions: Browns win 31-27, Browns -3, over 50.5 points

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, September 17
Time: 4:05 PM ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland OH
TV Coverage: FOX

Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Live Stream

Where can you watch Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Free Online Now.

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Injuries

Arizona Cardinals: CB Marco Wilson (ribs) Q, CB Byron Murphy Jr. (ribs) Q, TE Maxx Williams (knee) D, LB Ezekiel Turner (shoulder) Q, C Rodney Hudson (ribs) Q, T Justin Murray (back) IR
Cleveland Browns: T Chris Hubbard (triceps) IR, S M.J. Stewart Jr. (hamstring) Q, T Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) Q, CB Greg Newsome II (calf) Q, LB Tony Fields II (shoulder) Q, DE Jadeveon Clowney (elbow) Q, CB Denzel Ward (neck) Q, WR Jarvis Landry (knee) IR, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (throat) Q, T Jack Conklin (knee) Q, CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) Q

Arizona Cardinals Analysis

The Cardinals have to be feeling good after silencing many doubters with a 5-0 start. However, let’s not forget last season’s big start. The 2020 Cardinals started 5-2 before coming back to Earth with an 8-8 record. I’m not saying that will happen again, as this Arizona squad seems different. However, I’m also trying not to overvalue the team.

QB Kyler Murray has undoubtedly been the highlight of the season so far. The quarterback is playing at a high level through the air and on the ground, and has become one of the favorites for the league MVP award. Murray’s got a talented group of receivers. That trade for Deandre Hopkins might be the steal of the century, with the WR leading the team with 312 yards and four TDs. Meanwhile, he’s got three other receivers capable of big plays in Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, and A.J. Green. However, the loss of Maxx Williams is concerning. The tight end was one of many weapons Murray relied on during his strong start, and it’s looking like he’ll be out for the season. 

The Cardinals defense is pretty lopsided. They simply can’t stop the run, allowing 139 yards per game this season. They’ve been much stingier against the pass, though, holding other teams to just 214.4 yards per game.

Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart

QB: Kyler Murray
RB1: Chase Edmonds 
RB2: James Conner
WR1: A.J. Green
WR2: DeAndre Hopkins
WR3: Christian Kirk
TE1: Maxx Williams

Cleveland Browns Analysis

This is the kind of team that can make bettors sweat every week. In five games, the Browns have played some close games, winning some and giving away others. Their most convincing win came against the Chicago Bears, which saw the team completely dominate defensively in a 26-6 rout. But, as seen with their harsh loss against the Chargers, they’ll need to prove they can close out games against talented teams. 

The team’s running game is without a doubt their strength. The team is leading the league in rushing yards thanks to the talented duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Chubb’s coming off a game where he totaled 161 yards with a 7.7 average, while Hunt has been a multi-purpose threat throughout the season, with 444 total yards and five scores on the ground. QB Baker Mayfield needs to show he can win a game with his arm. Mayfield went into last Sunday with just two touchdowns in four games. If he builds on his 305-yard two-TD performance against the Chargers, this Browns offense could be a headache for defensive coordinators across the league.

And, speaking of the defense, it’s quickly becoming a highlight for the Browns. Despite allowing 47 points and 493 yards to the Chargers, the unit is still ranked in the top five of the league. The most important aspect of the defense? Pass rush. Cleveland leads the league with 16 sacks this season. DE Myles Garrett leads the team with seven, and he’ll get more Defensive Player of the Year consideration with each QB he drops.

Cleveland Browns Depth Chart

QB: Baker Mayfield
RB1: Nick Chubb
RB2: Kareem Hunt
WR1: Rashard Higgins
WR2: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR3: Anthony Schwartz
TE1: Austin Hooper

Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Daily Fantasy Picks

In case it wasn’t obvious, I’m big on the Cleveland running backs in this game. But who do you go with? As much as I like him, Nick Chubb is simply too expensive with a $7,200 price tag this week. I see a lot more value in Kareem Hunt, who is only $6,200 on DraftKings. Hunt is actually averaging 18.7 fantasy points per game this season as opposed to Chubb’s 18-point average. Hunt’s five TDs on the ground as well as his receiving abilities make him a serious DFS threat. Save $1,000 this week and go with Hunt. 

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Anthony Elio is a professional writer based in Denver, CO. While he’s written about everything from video games to couponing in the past, he’s set his sights on sports betting. He also plays drums in the Denver rock band Television Generation.

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