Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens, 9-17-2017 - Pick and Prediction

Game Snapshot

#264 Baltimore Ravens
vs.
#263 Cleveland Browns

Written by

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Cleveland Browns (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS, 0-1 O/U) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS, 0-1 O/U)

When and Where: Sunday, Sept. 17, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md., 1pmET

Line: Baltimore -7.5

Total: 41

The Baltimore Ravens take on another AFC North opponent this week after beating Cincinnati, 20-0 on the road to open the season. Cleveland nearly shocked AFC North rival Pittsburgh at home, falling 21-18 in their opener. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer acquitted himself well in his first start for the young Browns. As for the Ravens, the defense shut out an opponent for the first time since 2009.

Defense, Kizer help Browns compete against Steelers

Pittsburgh was the heavy favorite to win the AFC North title this season while the Browns were an afterthought. But Cleveland showed they may not be far away from competing for that title in the near future after falling by just three at home on Sunday. Kizer played well in his first start, but was also sacked seven times. He was also intercepted by another rookie in linebacker T.J. Watt, who picked off a Kizer pass at the Pittsburgh 17 to halt a Browns’ drive. Kizer eventually came back with a 3-yard TD pass to Corey Coleman, followed by a two-point conversion by running back Isaiah Crowell to cut the lead to 21-18 with 3:36 left in the game. But the Browns would not get the ball back.

Kizer completed 20 of 30 for 222 yards with one TD and one INT. He also ran for 17 yards and had a running score. Crowell led the Browns with 17 carries for 33 yards. The Browns are still a work-in-progress on offense, producing just 237 yards against the Steelers. But their defense absolutely stuffed the run, holding Pittsburgh and to just 35 yards on 17 carries.  One player the Browns could use is top pick DE Myles Garrett, who is expected to miss several weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Suggs leads Ravens to shutout

It’s always tough to win on the road and the Ravens won just two games last season away from M&T Bank Stadium. So beating the Bengals for the first time from Paul Brown Stadium since 2012 is significant. Even with no passing yards in the second half from Joe Flacco the Ravens just pounded the rock, rushing for 157 yards on 42 carries led by Terrance West (80 yards, 1 TD) and Buck Allen (71 yards). Flacco, who had not played all preseason due to a back injury, was not sharp, completing 9 of 17 for 121 with one TD and a pick. That one TD went to new receiver Jeremy Maclin on a 48-yard slant for a score in the second quarter. One of his favorite targets was veteran running back Danny Woodhead, who had three catches for 33 yards in the opening drive before injuring his hamstring.

But for the Ravens to be successful, they only need to be average on offense. Their defense was pretty good last season, allowing 322.1 yards per game (7th), but they wore down at the end of the season. They also struggled in the secondary but the additions of Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson has given them experience. Against the Bengals, they were helped by a strong pass rush led by Terrell Suggs (2.0 sacks) and Andy Dalton’s inaccuracy (16-31-4 INTs). That pressure also contributed to forcing five Cincy turnovers.

NFL Trends:

Cleveland is:

  • 5-2 ATS last 7 on the road in this series.
  • Road team is 4-1-1 ATS last 6 meetings.

Baltimore is:

  • 2-6 ATS last 8 after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • 0-4 ATS last 4 after a SU win of more than 14 points.

Baltimore could turn Kizer over a few times, but the Notre Dame grad is smarter than your average rookie. The Browns also have a better defense than a Bengals’ squad without Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones due to suspensions. Flacco is still not 100 percent and if you load the box, you can slow the Ravens running game down (something the Bengals refused to do).

 

Pick: Cleveland +7.5

Hard to believe that the Ravens will put up more than 20 points again. Defensively, they may not shut the Browns out, but will be very sturdy as usual. Baltimore will also dial up some pressure on the young quarterback to try and slow him down. The under is 5-1 the last 6 in Baltimore in this series. Cleveland is 6-1 Under last 7 after a SU loss, while Baltimore is 5-1 Under last 6 vs. AFC North.

Under

3

MLB on Tuesday, 9-19-2017

Dodgers vs. Phillies, 9-19-2017 - Prediction & Preview

Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies will clash with Yu Darvish and the L.A. Dodgers Tuesday night from Citizens Bank Park.... Read More

Brewers vs. Pirates, 9-19-2017 - Expert Prediction

Trevor Williams and the Pittsburgh Pirates will clash with Chase Anderson and the Milwaukee Brewers in NL Central action Tuesday night from PNC Park.... Read More

Mets vs. Marlins, 9-19-2017 - Expert Prediction

Vance Worley and the Miami Marlins will clash with Seth Lugo and the New York Mets in NL East action Monday night from Marlins Park.... Read More

Twins vs. Yankees, 9-19-2017 - Prediction & Preview

The American League Central battles the American League East as the Minnesota Twins take on the New York Yankees in a matchup of playoff-hopeful teams. The game will take place at ... Read More

Red Sox vs. Orioles, 9-19-2017 - Prediction & Preview

It’s the middle game of a big series between a pair of AL East rivals in the Inner Harbor. The Boston Red Sox are on the road as they play the second of three games against the B... Read More

Royals vs. Blue Jays, 9-19-2017 - Prediction & Preview

It’s the opening game of a series between a pair of teams who have seen the light on their postseason hopes just about flicker out north of the border. The Kansas City Royals are... Read More

Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!