Browns beating 49ers in Week 5 would help Rams in big way

Wide receiver Rashard Higgins during practice

Antonio Callaway effectively handed an INT at the goal line to the Niners defense.

I can't see any movement from now until the kickoff, mostly because these two teams look like even squads.

San Francisco began the season as a 5/1 shot to win a first NFC West title since 2012 but is now a 7/5 favorite, ahead of the Seahawks and the Rams.

Of course, for that to happen, they need to keep winning. In that game, the Browns beat the Niners 24 to 10. Their defense, which ranks sixth in points allowed, gave Brady and the Patriots offense absolutely nothing to work with. His 108.5 passer rating marked the second time he eclipsed triple digits this season. The entire offense, save Nick Chubb, was unacceptably bad. Cleveland is surrendering 335.0 total yards to their opponents (11 in the NFL).

It makes all the sense in the world that the home team coming off a bye would have all the advantages heading into Monday night's game. There is no denying that they have assembled a very talented group, but they seem to go from looking awful one week to playoff contenders the week after.

The 49ers have the most underrated defense in the National Football League right now as rookie stud Nick Bosa and veteran Pro Bowler Dee Ford have elevated San Francisco to an elite level.

The teams have met only 19 times over the years, with the Browns holding a 12-7 advantage.

San Francisco's seven interceptions are tied for most in the league, and that's no accident. San Francisco's elite defense and pass rush made the former No. 1 overall pick look like a rookie. Running back Matt Breida is averaging 5.5 yards per carry, Raheem Mostert 5.9. The 49ers would like McGlinchey to hold up without help and a way to do that is try to wear down Garrett in the downhill running game.

Sure, beating teams like the Buccaneers, Bengals, and the Steelers might not be a great resume to brag about, but San Francisco used to drop those games in the past. Can bettors count on a high-scoring game from these two teams or will it be lower-scoring than oddsmakers believe?

After an encouraging win against the Ravens, the Browns are now 2-2 and top of the AFC North, ready to take on the 49ers for the first time in four years on Monday night.

After a George Kittle 22-yard touchdown, to put the score 28-3 early in the third quarter, many of those doubters are taking back their words.

It should be a close contest between two franchises that are trying to find their identity this season.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the roster, the Browns also sport their own bulwark defensive quartet, possessed of an ominous rush that (granted, if fit and well-marshalled) which could soon demand double-coverage, naturally freeing one or other of their crew up to bring the heat to rival quarterbacks.

At that point, as division contenders everyone would take seriously, it would be much harder to talk in platitudes like this week against the Browns.

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