Holiday travel could be disrupted in a big way in large parts of the United States this weekend because a "bomb cyclone" is expected to bring the coldest air of the season from Canada to a large chunk of the country. That's going to potentially impact several NFL games, particularly on Christmas Eve – the majority of Week 16's games are played on Saturday. Perhaps no games will be more affected than Saints at Browns, which has seen the total plummet to 33 points at Caesars Sportsbook from an open of 39.
If the total holds, it will be one of the three lowest for an NFL game since Oct. 17, 2004, when the Buffalo Bills hosted the Miami Dolphins with a total of only 30, considered the lowest of the modern era. The Bills won 20-13 -- both teams were quite terrible. The quarterbacks that day were Jay Fielder for Miami and Drew Bledsoe for Buffalo. A total of 32.5 would be lowest since 2009 Colts/Bills, while 32 would be lowest since 2008 Browns/Bengals.
The current forecast for Cleveland on Saturday via weather.com: "Windy conditions and snow showers. High around 15F. Winds SW at 25 to 40 mph. Chance of snow 50%. About one inch of snow expected. Higher wind gusts possible."
FirstEnergy Stadium is oriented east-to-west so kickers in theory won't be booting into the wind, but there will be a huge crosswind.
New Orleans isn't exactly an offensive powerhouse, having scored 21 points or fewer in six of its past seven games. The Saints were 21-18 home winners on Sunday over Atlanta to improve to 5-9 and keep their NFC South hopes alive – they are a game behind first-place Tampa Bay. New Orleans is +1800 at DraftKings to make the postseason.
It was the fifth consecutive contest in which the Saints surrendered 20 or fewer points. This is the third straight season they've had such a streak. Dome team New Orleans is 2-4 SU in cold-weather games (below 32 degrees at kickoff Fahrenheit) since 2006.
Cleveland is 2-1 since Deshaun Watson returned from suspension but has totaled only 50 points in those three games after a 13-3 home win over Baltimore this past Saturday. Even that total of 50 points is misleading because the 27 scored in Week 13 in Houston included two non-offensive touchdowns. Watson is completing 60.9% of his passes for 568 yards, two touchdowns and two picks so far.
At 6-8, Cleveland still has an outside shot at an AFC wild card spot. The Browns are +1500 to make it.
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