Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns
The Baltimore Ravens look to close in on the AFC North title as they host the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. The Ravens are -13.5 point favorites over the Browns with an over/under point total set at 39.
The Baltimore Ravens control their own destiny and while they have clinched a spot in the playoffs nothing has been decided in the AFC North. While the Ravens own two wins over the Steelers they are tied record wise so with two games remaining every game counts. Joe Flacco is having an inconstant year completing just 57.3 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Ray Rice has developed into one of the NFL’s top running backs averaging 4.5 yards per carry and scoring 10 touchdowns while catching 71 passes for 648 yards. Anquan Boldin has 57 catches, Ed Dickson has 51 catches, and Torrey Smith has 43 catches with seven of them going for touchdowns. Defensively Baltimore is allowing 287.9 yards per game and 16.9 points while racking up 45 sacks. Ray Lew is leads the team in tackles with 78, Jameel McClain has 77 tackles, and Terrell Suggs has 13 sacks. The ravens have looked absolutely dominant at times and then at other times they have played almost inexplicably poor.
It has been another poor and disappointing season for the Cleveland Browns where high hopes are once again ending with one of the worst records in the NFL. The Browns are seen as a team that are building but there is little to show in the way of progress as they have lost four in a row. Colt McCoy has gone the bulk of the way but as he has gotten banged up we have seen career backup Sennecca Wallace show us why he never was a starter in the NFL despite years of experience and endless chances, all under Mike Holmgren. Peyton Hillis has been injured more often than not this year and Montario Hardesty has failed to deliver on the flashes of promise he has shown. Greg Little has been the brightest spot on the offense catching 57 passes while Benjamin Watson has caught 37 and Josh Cribbs 32. The defense has been the stronger of the two units for the Browns and they are allowing 333.9 yards and 19.6 points per game while spend a lot of time on the field. D’Qwell Jackson has 138 tackles, Ahtyba Rubin has 67 tackles, and Jabaal Sheard has 7.5 sacks. It will be interesting to see what direction this franchise takes as Cleveland is looking at a top five pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Baltimore is 3-0-1 against the spread in their last four against the AFC North, 3-1-1 against the spread following a loss, and 1-5 against the spread against a team with a losing record. Cleveland is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games, 5-2 against the spread as an underdog of grater than 10.5 points, and 2-7 against the spread against a team with a winning record. The road team has covered four in a row in this series and the favorite has covered in four of the last five.
This game belongs to the defense as is often the case with teams who are this familiar with one another and even with the total set aggressively low at 39 I like the under.