As a sportswriter, I do my best to keep my personal rooting interests out of my analysis. As a human being, I live in fear of my favorite teams being embarrassed in the national spotlight. That’s why I have empathy for Cleveland Browns fans right now. After an entire offseason of hype surrounding the team following a strong finish in 2018, and the addition of Odell Beckham, the Browns have now played two prime-time spotlight games in three weeks.
They’re 1-1 in those games, but the win came against a Jets team the world was already mocking because its QB has mono. Not to mention, Sam Darnold’s backup was injured during the game as well. So even in victory, nobody was taking the Browns seriously.
Now, after losing at home to the Rams on Sunday night, Cleveland is 1-2, and everybody is talking about how they’re “the same old Browns.”
I know that hurts, and I’m terrified of feeling it. You see, through two weeks of the season, the whole world is constantly talking about how stupid the Chicago Bears are for trading up to draft Mitchell Trubisky instead of drafting Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes in 2017. This week, the Bears play on “Monday Night Football,” and I need Mitch to play well. Not so that I’ll be right — I wanted Watson over anybody in 2017 — but so I’ll be able to avoid all the Trubisky jokes on Twitter. I’m sensitive!
Anyway, I swear that fear has nothing to do with the first two of my three picks. OK, maybe a little.
1. Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins: Mitch Trubisky Over 1.5 TD +112
Last year around this time people were criticizing the Bears and Mitch Trubisky, just like they are now. Through three games Trubisky had thrown for 591 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Then Tampa Bay and one of the worst passing defenses in the league came to Chicago. Trubisky lit up the Bucs for 354 yards and six touchdowns.
Now, Matt Nagy and Trubisky have been hearing about his struggles in both the local and national media all week, and they’re playing one of the worst pass defenses in the league on “Monday Night Football.” I think Nagy will have built a game plan around his QB, and I don’t think it’s crazy to expect a few touchdowns from Trubisky.
2. Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins: Allen Robinson to score a touchdown, +165
This is related to the first pick. If Mitch is going to have a big game, Allen Robinson will likely have one as well. Robinson was heavily featured in the Bears season-opening loss to Green Bay, catching seven passes for 102 yards. No other receiving threat has emerged in the Bears WR corps this season, so Robinson will likely be the biggest beneficiary of a leaky Redskins secondary.
3. St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks: Arizona +134
Do they have letdown games in baseball? The Cardinals just swept the Cubs in four games at Wrigley Field to clinch a playoff berth. They then had to fly out to Arizona after the game, and I’m of the opinion that all that celebrating and a long flight might lead to a flat performance in the desert.