Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens Preview
Where: M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, MD
When: Sunday, September 17, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
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- 2017 NFL Week 4 Picks and Predictions
Betting on the Cleveland Browns (0-1)
As expected, the Browns suffered a Week 1 loss to the AFC North favorite Pittsburgh Steelers. However, they weren’t blown out despite being 10-point home underdogs. The defense unexpectedly managed to keep the explosive Steelers offensive quiet as they only lost, 21-18, with seven of those 21 points coming off a blocked punt that was recovered for a touchdown.
Quarterback DeShone Kizer was battered in his first career NFL start as the supposedly improved Browns offensive line gave up seven sacks. But the rookie battled his way to a respectable debut game. He finished 20-of-30 for 222 yards, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and one interception.
Kizer didn’t get much help from the Browns run game; Cleveland running backs could only muster 40 rushing yards against Pittsburgh. It doesn’t figure to get going against a very stout Ravens run defense, either. Kizer will once again need to manufacture a bulk of the Browns offense with his arm and/or legs in order for Cleveland to come up with an upset.
But if the Browns defense can come up with a similarly strong effort against a limited Ravens offense, they should have a decent chance of staying within striking distance.
It’s been a long time since Cleveland has experienced a road win. The Browns’ last one came all the way back in 2015, and was their lone road win in their last 19 attempts. They also went just 2-5-1 ATS on the road last season.
Betting on the Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
The Ravens defense was absolutely dominant as they shut out the Cincinnati Bengals en route to a 20-0 Week 1 road win. They allowed just 221 yards of total offense, sacked Andy Dalton five times, intercepted him four times, and forced five turnovers overall.
Meanwhile, the offense was just good enough. The running game, in particular, was solid as Terrance West and Buck Allen combined for the bulk of their 157 rushing yards.
With that ground game churning out yardage, they didn’t need Joe Flacco to be elite or even good. The Ravens QB, who has been bothered by a back injury, also wasn’t helped by the early exit of Danny Woodhead after the veteran running back suffered a hamstring injury. Flacco went just 9-of-17 for 121 yards, a good chunk of which was off a 48-yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin.
The Ravens probably won’t deviate much from that combination of exceptional defense and grind-it-out, run-heavy offense which proved to be effective against Cincinnati. And after seeing how the Steelers pass rush consistently got to Kizer and put him under pressure, the Ravens should like their chances of potentially forcing a few more turnovers from the rookie quarterback.
The Ravens have owned the Browns at home ever since Cleveland’s return to the NFL. Baltimore is 14-4 in 18 home games against Cleveland, but is just 8-10 ATS.
The Ravens (-7.5) start the season 2-0 as they beat the Browns at home, 21-10.
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