There is nothing sweeter than being able to take one from your hated division rival on their home turf. Well, maybe winning the Super Bowl is sweeter, but the point still stands. Purple Reign held Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ high-powered offense to just 14 points at Heinz Field on Sunday night, moving the Baltimore Ravens’ defense up to the No. 2 spot. The victory was punctuated by the fact that the Ravens entered Pittsburgh as 3-point underdogs.
Next weekend the Ravens head to Cleveland to face the Browns and are opening at BetOnline as just 2.5-point favorites. The public is going to jump all over Baltimore so the line is likely to get higher. If you plan on taking any action, be sure to check this BetOnline Review to see if they are the sportsbook for you before this line moves past the 3-point mark.
Ravens Head to the Dog Pound
After an early interception and a defensive first quarter of football, the Browns got into a shootout with the Raiders in Oakland. Baker Mayfield had a decent game 21 of 41 for 295 yards with a pair of TDs and INTs, but was outdone by Derek Carr who went 35 of 58, putting up 437 yards and 4 touchdowns against two INTs.
Despite losing 45-42 in overtime, the Browns offense finally looked solid. Mayfield made a couple of mistakes, but he’s going through his reads and ultimately, doing the right things. His passing ability was terrific for a rookie making his first NFL start. That said, we have seen many a rookie QB have a good first start and then fall apart in their second appearance. And the bigger question is how will Mayfield fare against the No. 2 defense in the league?
Mayfield got picked off a pair of times and was stripped of the ball once by the No. 21 defense in the league. He is in for a rude awakening when he has to face the Ravens’ dominant defensive secondary, which will feature the return of CB Jimmy Smith.
Dogged Defense Showed Weakness
The Browns defense got two picks against Carr and the Raiders and continued their trend of forced turnovers. However, they let the Raiders put up 45 points on them. They showed an inability to stop the Raiders balanced attack. Oakland alternated pounding the rock with Beast Mode and spreading the ball around to Jared Cook, Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and Martavis Bryant. And despite leading for much of the game, the Browns defense couldn’t seem to find a way to stop the Silver and Black once the Raiders found a bit of rhythm.
This bodes well for the Ravens. Flacco was spot-on Sunday night; his bomb downfield to John Brown, magnificent. Throughout the game, Joe Cool racked up 363 yards and two touchdowns. And unlike Baker Mayfield or Derek Carr, Flacco didn’t throw the ball into the hands of the enemy. The Ravens also have the one-two punch of Alex Collins and Javorius Allen to balance out the offensive looks and keep the Browns defense off balance.
Cleveland’s defense has been solid at home. The Browns have held teams to just 19 points at FirstEnergy Stadium. But Gruden and the Raiders just provided a nice little roadmap for Marty Mornhinweg to study. Not that it was needed, but the weaknesses have been pointed out and pounding on the dog pound will be perfected upon next Sunday when the Purple Birds hit Cleveland.
After defeating the Steelers handily on the road, we will see Baltimore increase their record to 4-1 on Sunday. The Browns will have their moments, but this should be a double-digit victory.