With the loss this past Sunday to the Steelers the Ravens are no longer guaranteed a wild card spot for the playoffs. That said, if the Ravens can win their final three games they are statistically likely to make it to the post season. The quest to run the table begins this Sunday on the road against the Cleveland Browns. The hapless Browns are 0 for 13 in 2017 but have been playing more competive of late. The Ravens would be mistaken to look past the Browns as they are hungry to get their first win of the season and end this losing streak. And given that this is the Brown’s last home game of the season this is going to be their best chance to get a victory – so expect this team to be all in on Sunday. So far the Browns have not mailed in and have been playing hard for Coach Jackson which is saying something. The Browns historical play the Ravens tough and since they see each other twice a year there is no fear facing off as they know one another well. The Browns recently added a new weapon to their offensive arsenal when Josh Gordon was reactivated from his substance abuse suspension. Make no mistake about it, Josh Gordon is an elite receiver and is likely to give the Ravens a handful come Sunday. Carr and Humphrey will have their hands full covering Johnson and Gordon.
The Browns have struggled to score points this season and average just 15.2 points per game. If they just did a better job protecting the ball the Browns would likely have 3 to 5 wins this season. If you look at the tale of the tape the Browns aren’t as bad as their record would suggest. They average more yards per game than the Ravens and boast a better run defense than the Ravens. The Browns have a tough defense and they are keeping the Browns in games this year. On the offensive side of the ball Kizer has struggled this year with interceptions, but as he gets more experience he is more than likely going to improve. At 6’ 4” and 235 pounds DeShone Kizer is a load and he is not shy about running the ball – so I would expect him to run a handful of times to keep the Ravens honest. Ravens will have to pressure Kizer and get some hats on him, if they can do that they will force some mistakes.
Sunday’s game is a must win for the Ravens and their playoff chances begin with taking care of business against the Browns. If the Ravens muff this game and fall short, I actually think it would put several jobs in jeopardy beginning with Harbaugh. Everyone in the world expects the Ravens to win so they had better come through with a spirited effort. The weather on Sunday is expected to be dicey and there is talk of snow which often is the great equalizer that can make games low scoring and more unpredictable. The thing that scares me the most about this game is the Browns have nothing to lose. They can play without fear and take risks all game long and if some of those gambles pay off they could pull off an upset. The Ravens understand what is in front of them and if the coaches do their job in game planning the Ravens should come away with a victory. The odds makers have the Ravens by 7 points but I don’t think they will cover. I expect this game to be close throughout and likely a nail biter for Raven fans. The Ravens special teams is stronger than the Browns and may very well be the difference in this game. The Ravens would do well to come out quick and get the first score and play with the lead. The Ravens offense has been much improved over the past two games and should build on that momentum this week. Ravens win 24 to 20. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.
Cleveland Browns hosting the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, December 17th at 1:00 PM Odds Ravens by 7
|Net Rushing Yardage||Ravens||121||Browns||88|
|Net Passing Yardage||Ravens||242||Browns||239|
- Collins carries the rock 17 times for 76 yards
- Ravens commit 7 penalties for 68 yards
- Kizer runs 7 times for 51 yards
- Refs make terrible calls
Possible Monday morning headlines
- One down, Two to go!
Keys to the Game
- Win the turnover battle! Win the turnover battle!
- Contain Crowell and Gordon
- Score 24 points or more