Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn’t like the preseason as it is so he wasn’t happy that his team had to play in the Hall of Fame Game, which was scheduled for last Sunday against the Colts in Canton, Ohio. That meant a fifth exhibition for the Pack. Rodgers wasn’t planning to play in that game and it turned out not to matter as it was canceled. We should see Rodgers briefly on Friday night when the Pack thus open their preseason at home against Cleveland. The NFL betting odds are a bit in flux until we find out about Rodgers.
Taking a Closer Look at the Cleveland at Green Bay Preseason Week 1 Free Pick & TV Info
When: Friday, Aug. 12, 8 PM ET
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay
Opening NFL Lines: pick’em (total TBA)
Cleveland vs Packers Historic Betting Trends
In the 1965 season, the Browns and Packers met in the NFL Championship at Lambeau Field, where Green Bay won its ninth NFL title in the final year before the Super Bowl era. Green Bay holds an 11-7 advantage over the Browns in regular-season action. Since Cleveland moved to the AFC in the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the Packers have a 7-3 regular-season record against the Browns, which includes an average margin of victory of 16.1 points.
Friday will mark the 25th time the teams will meet during the preseason, with Cleveland winning 14 of them. The 25 games against the Browns matches Pittsburgh and Washington for the second-most games against an opponent in the preseason for the Packers. They have played the Giants the most, 30 times. The last overall meeting between the Cleveland and Green Bay was the 2013 regular season, a 31-13 Packers victory at Lambeau Field. They last met during the preseason in 2012, a 35-10 Browns win in Green Bay.
Why Bet on Cleveland?
This will be the Cleveland head coaching debut of Hue Jackson, formerly the Bengals offensive coordinator, as well as for starting QB Robert Griffin III, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the Redskins.
Jackson hasn’t wasted any time as on Monday, he named RGIII as his starter for the regular season. Not a huge surprise he would beat out Josh McCown. But considering he was demoted to third-string quarterback in Washington last season behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy, there’s skepticism about him returning to winning form. RGIII has gone 5-15 in his last 20 starts following a 9-6 mark in 2012.
“It’s time,” Jackson said of his decision. “Robert has earned the right to be named the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. Since he was signed back in March, Robert has made it clear through his actions that he is willing to do everything that has been asked of him to earn this role. Throughout this process he has gained the respect from his teammates, the coaching staff and the entire organization that is necessary for him to lead our offense and really the entire team.”
This is the type of high-upside, low-risk gamble that could make the Browns more competitive than initially expected in 2016 — or allow them to settle at the bottom of the AFC North as nearly everyone expects. Meanwhile, Browns WRs coach Al Saunders said they’ll be cautious with Corey Coleman (hamstring), and he may not play in Friday’s game. Coleman injured his hamstring last Friday in a scrimmage and has been held out of practice ever since. He was the team’s first-round pick out of Baylor. You won’t see him Friday.
Why Bet on Green Bay?
While we don’t yet know on Rodgers, there are for sure three Packers who won’t play. WR Ty Montgomery, TE Jared Cook and LB Sam Barrington all came off the physically unable to perform list Tuesday and practiced but they aren’t ready for game action. Cook, a free-agent acquisition in the offseason, was practicing during the early portion of OTAs in the spring before undergoing foot surgery. Barrington was injured in Week 1 in Chicago last season and went on season-ending injured reserve.
Montgomery played the first six games of his rookie season last year before an ankle injury sidelined him and eventually required season-ending surgery. WR Jordy Nelson remains on the PUP list and won’t play at all in the preseason.
The offensive line could be without two starters. Third-year center Corey Linsley remains on the physically unable to perform list because of a hamstring injury. Veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who has dealt with knee injuries the past few years, also has missed some practice time early in camp, including Tuesday.
My Free Pick
Take the Browns here on NFL lines. as RGIII should play more than Rodgers and the Packers are really going to be cautious with a lot of guys.