The (3-3) Ravens host the (2-4) Cleveland Browns on Sunday at 1PM. Baltimore was initially installed as a 6-point favorite but the line has swelled to 6 ½, probably the collateral damage of being Bailey Zapped in Week 6 at home much less, falling to the Patriots by the score of 38-15. New England posted 28 second half points in front of the Dawg Pound at the Factory of Sadness.
Can the Ravens borrow a page from Bill Belichick’s science book and do the same at The Bank this week v. Cleveland?
It’s time for the RSR Bold Predictions!
Remember that song by the 90’s band Soul Asylum called, Frustrated, Incorporated? Kind of describes the mood in #RavensFlock these days, right? It’s time for some good mojo. Enter the Cleveland Browns, a team that the Ravens have owned under John Harbaugh.
For the past two weeks I’ve predicted that Lamar Jackson would go off and put up the kind of numbers we saw during the season’s first three weeks. That didn’t happen. This week, I’m going to slow my roll. LJ will do better than last week by protecting the football and his team’s ability to do the same while winning the turnover battle, will be the difference in this one. Put me down for a modest effort from Lamar, throwing for 210 yards, 2 TD’s and running for another 47 yards.
On Sunday the Ravens will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Super Bowl 47 Championship team, featuring a reunion of more than 50 players from that team. Yeah, I’m spit-balling here.
As for the rest of the gang…
• The Ravens will total 175 yards on the ground via a collaborative effort from Messrs. Drake, Hill, Duvernay, Jackson AND…Project Pat who takes it in from 2 yards out for the Ravens first score.
• Mark Andrews will receive A LOT of attention and consequently Lamar gets his receivers more involved along with Isaiah Likely. Look for a 35+ yard strike to Duvernay for a score and a scoring toss to the former Carolina Coastal Chanticleer, Likely who scores from inside the red zone.
• The Ravens will pick off Jacoby “Charcoal” Brissett twice. Pepe Williams gets his first NFL INT while Marcus Peters gets one that isn’t called back for a PI. In fact, the only call on Peters’ INT will be a house call.
• Some interesting historical betting notes…Cleveland is 1-5 Straight Up (“SU”) in their last 6 games on the road and 2-12 SU in their last 14 games at The Bank. The Browns are also just 3-13 against the spread in their last 16 games against an AFC North opponent. Let’s make that 3-14.
By the way, a Chanticleer is a proud and fierce rooster that dominates the barnyard. The Ravens will collectively be Chanticleers on Sunday as they prevail, covering the 6 1/2 points and the total (44 1/2), while again landing on that magical number – 47.
Ravens 31 The Clevelands 16
For a Ravens team that has been up and down — not just from week to week, but from snap to snap — this has a must-win feel to it. That’s a tough chore when it’s a divisional foe in your sights, but that’s where they sit.
Despite a, well, strange situation at quarterback this season, Cleveland’s offense is humming. They are seventh in the league in scoring, fourth in yards per game, eighth in offensive DVOA and first in PFF’s scoring. A lot of that is running back Nick Chubb, who continues to impress despite being the focus of every opposing defense they face. Chubb is averaging about 6 yards per carry, and more than 100 yards on the ground each week. He’s a beast.
On the other side of things, the defense has been… what’s worse than “bad?” Because that’s what it’s been to this point. They rank 29th by PFF on defense, 31st in DVOA, and they give up the second most points in the NFL. It has not been so good on that side. With all this being said, let’s look at some predictions:
• The Ravens are going to run for more than 225 yards on the day, with Lamar Jackson going for 90 to lead the team.
• Odafe Oweh gets 1.5 sacks, because if I predict multiple sacks for him each and every week the satisfaction of finally being right will be all worth the humiliation of being wrong these other games.
• Devin Duvernay has a play of more than 60 yards, either on return or from scrimmage.
• Kyle Hamilton gets a pick (see comment on Odafe Oweh for reasoning).
Ravens 37 Browns 26
For all the negativity surrounding the Ravens, they have been the better team for 21 of 24 quarters this year. They have largely dominated.
But they are the worst fourth quarter team in football and they haven’t been able to overcome it.
This week they get the division rival Browns who have the best RB in football, a great pass rusher and not much else.
If they lose this week, we could see some big changes after the Tampa Bay game.
The Ravens need to play pissed off and I think they will. They will slow Chubb like they did Barkley last week.
Ravens 27 Browns 13
Well, the silver lining of last week’s loss is that I don’t have to keep being the only one here picking against the Ravens, as it didn’t work against the Giants. So, yay?
With the Super Bowl 47 team visiting this week, we’ll see a Ravens team that finally – for a week at least – looks “pissed off for greatness.” Lamar used that word a few times this week when talking about the frustrations of blowing these leads, and while a division rival certainly isn’t the ideal “get right” opponent, Cleveland will just have to do. NYG was a good warm-up challenge for this defense: Brissett & Chubb aren’t all that much different from Daniel Jones & Barkley, and I think they’ll effectively bottle up the beast as they did a week ago, while also turning Brissett over twice.
They take a 24-3 lead into the fourth quarter, and while they still get annoyingly outscored in the final frame, it’s never truly in doubt.
Ravens 27 Browns 17
Everything is saying go with the Ravens on Sunday but I just can’t bring myself to it. Some folks blame the coaching, others the players, and others a collective psychosomatic Q4 problem but whatever it is… I lack confidence that they can seal the deal once again.
Lamar Jackson will throw for 220 yards, rush for another 40, and have two passing touchdowns (Andrews, Likely). He’ll also have a pair of picks in this one, both coming in the second half. Duvernay will lead all pass catchers with 80 yards, Dobbins leads rushers with 60 yards.
Defensively the Ravens are getting gashed by Chubb all day. I expected 150 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown to boot, with another RB TD by Kareem Hunt late in Q4. Ravens will again carry the lead into Q4… let’s call it 24-20… but come up short once again.
Browns 27 Ravens 24
I wish I could say that I trusted the Baltimore Ravens to comfortably take care of business against the Cleveland Browns. The theme of this season however is making things difficult. The Ravens will make this difficult. The Ravens will squander opportunities to make this a blowout, yet they will pull ahead with the victory. The outcome will be a relief yet the way the Ravens earn a W in this game will require us to do some venting.
The good news for the Ravens is that the defense has picked it up in the past few weeks. The Ravens haven’t given up more than 24 points since their win against the Patriots. The Browns need to rely on their run game and the Ravens just showed they could slow down Saquan Barkley. The defense won’t be perfect but it will give the Ravens a shot to win this game. The offense has to do its part.
This should be a get-right game for the offense. “Should” is the key word. The offense has been on a downward trend. Turnovers and squandered chances have been the unfortunate highlights. The Browns are coming off a 38-15 loss to the Patriots. Cleveland has given up 68 points in the last two games and are the weakest opponent the Ravens have had on their schedule so far. The Ravens will win, but their problems won’t disappear.
• Kenyan Drake continues to pick up momentum and has 60 yards on the ground.
• Lamar Jackson rushes for 80 yards and breaks one for a long touchdown
• Mark Andrews is playing the Browns, which means he has a big day. Put him down for six grabs and a touchdown for 102 yards.
• Travis Jones stuffs Nick Chubb in the backfield and forces a fumble
• Justin Tucker hits the game-winning field goal to save the day in the end. What’s new?
Ravens 20 Browns 17
The Ravens find themselves in another huge division game. The Browns have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this year. Even without Deshaun Watson, this was seen by many as a top 5 roster, and they have underperformed immensely. The Browns defense has some real issues. There is no way this defense should not be one of the NFL’s premier units, yet they can’t stop the run for the life of them and their secondary is suspect.
The Browns offense is pretty simple: it runs through Nick Chubb and if you can’t stop him you aren’t winning.
Cleveland will more than likely be down a few big members of their team as well so on paper this should be an easy win for the Ravens.
• Travis Jones and Justin Madibuke build off their good games and destroy the Browns’ shorthanded interior O-Line.
• Lamar has a gray day throwing for three+ touchdowns with Rashod Bateman playing and catching one of them.
• The Browns defense can’t do much as the Ravens run game as Gus Edwards makes his season debut.
• The Ravens should have this one in the bag, but the biggest opponent won’t be the Browns, it will be themselves.
Ravens 27 Browns 14
This is a comeback week for Baltimore. After a handful of mistakes made by Lamar Jackson and the offense last week, the Ravens will be sure to put this one away against the 2-4 Browns.
Starting with Lamar Jackson himself, fans will see practically a whole new quarterback take the field on Sunday. Jackson will have just his second game of the season with no interceptions thrown. He will surpass last week’s 210 passing yards and will have more than one touchdown against a shaky Browns secondary. This will be a personal game for Jackson who will be looking to silence a lot of the hate he received last week.
Jackson’s primary target on offense will be TE Mark Andrews (if healthy). He will see a noticeable increase in production from last week’s seven receptions and a single touchdown.
For the Baltimore defense, the biggest challenge will be stopping the talents of RB Nick Chubb and RB Kareem Hunt. Although Hunt only had four carries for 12 yards in last week’s game against New England, he is expected to have a greater role this time around against a below-average run defense. Fifty percent of the Browns touchdowns will be on the ground this weekend, and Hunt will have his highest rushing total of the season.
Ravens 27 Browns 20