R.J. Bell says Cleveland Browns built to punish Chargers

Sep 26, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) runs the ball for a first down against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) runs the ball for a first down against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

R.J. Bell of Straight Outta Vegas claims that the Cleveland Browns are built to punish the Los Angeles Chargers.

The always-provocative R.J. Bell of the popular sports betting show Straight Outta Vegas from Fox Sports Radio had a few words to say about the Cleveland Browns, running back Nick Chubb and quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Specifically, he feels that this is a favorable matchup for the Browns and their between-the-tackles running game.

Let’s be clear that Bell is not throwing pure love at the entire Browns team and is not necessarily arguing with the Browns’ status as underdogs.

"“I think the Browns are particularly suited to punish the Chargers for their run defense approach. They might be the only team that can punish them this way. I don’t love the Browns here, but I love the running backs, both of them for the Browns, over their rush total. It’s going to be both usage and efficiency. Let’s make that a Best Bet – Nick Chubb over 83 yards.” — R.J. Bell, Straight Outta Vegas, Fox Sports Radio"

The Browns started the week as one-point underdogs but the spread increased to about two as the betting public digested the news about Baker Mayfield‘s partially torn labrum in his left shoulder and other lingering injuries. Their injury list is longer than the corresponding list for the Chargers. However, Bell does see the potential makings of a game plan prominently featuring Nick Chubb.

Bell and his sidekick, A.J. Hoffman make the point that the Chargers are light up front. Their guys up front include Christian Covington at 6-foot-2 and 289 pounds; Jerry Tillery at 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds; Linval Joseph at 6-foot-4 and 329 pounds; and superstar edge rusher Joey Bosa at 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds.

To be honest, however, it really does not matter how much Bosa weighs. That guy is a load.

The other three-fourths of the line really aren’t that big by NFL standards, and so Bell and Hoffman make the case that Chubb — and Kareen Hunt, for that matter — are going to be able to gain yards against them.

Chargers General manager Tom Telesco and coach Brandon Staley, a defensive-minded coach who came out of the Rams organization, seem to be trying to build a team that can defeat the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, that seems to be a bit of a fad right now.

In that case, they are concerned about the mobility of Patrick Mahomes and the outside quickness of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. They also have to contend with the unbelievable pass-catching ability of tight end Travis Kelce. All this leads to a perceived need for speed among the AFC West defenses.
However, the Browns have tight ends who can block and running backs who can pound you up the middle. The Chargers have given up 558 yards, the fifth-worst rushing defense in the NFL, and 5.26 yards per carry, while the Browns are number one in the NFL in rushing with 708 yards.

The Browns average 5.06 yards per carry, good for fourth in the NFL. This is a bad matchup for the Chargers, and in particular, Bell and Hoffman believe that the Chargers do not match up well against Nick Chubb, who can run over people

Cleveland has three tight ends grading in the top 32 according to Pro Football Focus: Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant. They like Hooper as a run blocker, and Njoku more as a pass blocker.

Hoffman is down on Baker Mayfield, however, and later in the podcast, Hoffman says that both Mayfield and Kirk Cousins were significantly downgraded after last week’s game. Bell says that Mayfield deserves to be downgraded a “smidge,” but adds that it is impressive if the team can post a win when the quarterback has a bad game.

Straight Outta Vegas is one of the coolest shows out there because they don’t talk about the hunches of the sportscasters, and their secret inside sources and all that nonsense. It’s about who is going to outscore their opponent and by how much, put up or shut up. Even for those who do not gamble (and that includes this author) the discussion is straight and to the point, backed up by numbers.

If you want to get R.J. mad, start talking about your feelings about a player, like, “I’ve just got a feeling this player is going to help in the clutch.”

Bell will usually challenge that kind of statement, the classic bettor’s fantasy that their feelings are relevant to the performance of the team. “Yeah? How reliable is your feeling? How much is he going to help? What do you mean by ‘clutch?’ How many points is he worth? Come on now, give me a number.”

His tone and Pittsburgh accent are almost insulting, as he belittles his co-host and guests. but he went to school at The Ohio State University, so he can’t be all bad. He is an expert number cruncher, who speaks the same language as Paul DePodesta and Andrew Berry, but he works for bettors rather than football organizations.

We’ll see how the Browns do. This writer is looking for the offense to get untracked, based on the belief that there were obvious problems versus Minnesota.

Unlike previous Browns teams, this coaching staff tends to solve correct problems rather than repeat them over and over. If so, Baker will have a better game than last week and the Browns will find the end zone a few times. The Browns have a significantly longer injury list than the Chargers this week, so this fan is not going to argue with spread, but will be optimistic that the Browns improve their ability to move the ball and score (23 points or more).

On the other hand, I will be disappointed if Jed Wills starts again and has to come out of the game due to aggravating a sprained ankle; and if they fail to target Donovan Peoples-Jones; and if there are more long incompletions to OBJ (which will definitely not be his fault, and if I were not such a geek I would know that). I predict those propositions will not happen.

Next. 4 reasons Baker Mayfield has seen his numbers go down. dark

Let’s check back on Monday and see whether any of these predictions and propositions come true or not.