New Orleans Saints vs Cleveland Browns
It's always an interesting matchup when the NFC and AFC meet up and that's what happens here with the New Orleans Saints playing against the Cleveland browns in a tilt matching the NFC's South division versus the AFC's North division. This is a series with some fantastic names attached including Hall of Famers like Drew Brees and newer stars like running backs Nick Chubb and Alvin Kamara or defensive juggernauts like Myles Garrett and Cameron Jordan. This is a game you can also make some dough so continue reading to find out where your money should go.
It all began back in 1944 for the Browns as they were an original charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) where they would control the entire league with an incredible 47-4-3 record and win all four league championships until it dissolved in 1949. It was in 1950 that Cleveland, along with the San Francisco 49ers, would join the NFL where they have remained ever since. Their championship ways did not stop upon entering the NFL as they would win a title in their first season followed by back-to-back championships in 1954 and 1955. Another championship would come in 1964 but since that year, the Browns have failed to win another title and have not made a title game during the Super Bowl Era, one of only four teams in the NFL that haven't done so.
For the New Orleans Saints, their start came more than 25 years before the Panthers in 1966 when after several years of hosting sold-out NFL exhibitions games, the league awarded the city a professional football team. Unfortunately, the Saints wouldn’t experience success at all in the early going and struggled for decades before finally looking like their fortunes would change in the ‘80s with the hiring of head coach Jim Mora who would take New Orleans to the postseason four times. While the Saints would finally see some success under Mora, they still couldn’t get a playoff win during his tenure. In 2006, the franchise finally began turning it around under the guise of head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees who was acquired in a trade from the San Diego Chargers.
With this particular series, you're looking at just under 20 games all-time between them even though it dates all the back to 1967 when the Browns annihilated the Saints in their first game versus each other, 42-7. Or let's take a guy like Brees who had an illustrious 20-year NFL career yet only played against Cleveland a grand total of six times, going 4-2. One of those two losses was a 30-17 defeat during the season following the Saints’ 2009 championship season. What made it more strange was New Orleans was the defending NFL champs with a 4-2 record at that time while Cleveland was a dismal 1-5. How did that happen? Well, Brees had an uncharacteristically bad game, throwing four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Brees would play his final game against the Browns in 2018, a comeback win for the Saints after being down 12-3 with less than seven minutes to play. The future Hall of Fame quarterback drove the team down the field two different times over that stretch and they would win the game 21-18.
Odds and Ends
There have only been eight games played between these teams since 1990 with the Browns going 5-2 over that stretch, including a 3-1 record in New Orleans. However, it’s important to note that in 10 games between 1984 and 2018, the teams split the contests with each going 5-5 over that span. In terms of points, the series games aren’t averaging a ton of points with the teams combining to average 38.2 points a contest in fives games between 1984-1999 whereas the next five games averaged 41.6 points from 2002 to 2018.
Don’t expect a blowout when these two teams go at it as there have been very few in this series, with the very first game between them in 1967 being the only one where the winning team won by more than 20 points. In six games between 1975 and 1990, the winning team only won by a margin of 4.3 points per contest while over the next seven games from 1993 to 2018, the winner won by an average of 5.9 points per game.
Why You Should Bet on This Game
While point spreads for this series only go back to 1999, it still gives us some trends and data to work with. In six games from 1999 to 2018, the Browns went 4-2 whereas the over/under wasn’t even at 3-3. On that note, be wary of the totals as many of the Saints’ offenses were led by Brees whose offenses scored a lot of points. With him retiring after the 2021 season, these teams most likely won’t score as many points when they meet. 2022 ended with a low scoring 17:10 Saints win.
Pay attention to where these teams are playing when the matchup is on the schedule because Cleveland has an impressive 4-0 record against the spread in New Orleans over that span. On the flip side, the Saints have only won away from the Superdome, going 2-0 on the road. In short, the road team is a good bet in these matchups no matter the spread. In three out of the four road wins the Browns had over that span, the home spread was -8.5 or higher and Cleveland won two of them straight up. Saints took the last road game at Cleveland to beat the 2.5 point spread.