November 11, 2023, 9:53 pm
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Browns (-110) @ Ravens (-110): O/U 38
Browns +6.5 (+235), Ravens -6.5 (-290)
There is nothing like an old-school AFC North bloodbath to get the juices flowing. These teams don’t like each and have never liked each other and are now playing divisional supremacy with the number one and number two ranked defenses. These teams hit hard and often and I would be shocked if there weren’t a litany of injuries in this one. If this was the night game, I might even predict a fatality, Mortal Kombat style, but sadly we have to settle for an early afternoon game. The Browns aren’t just an elite defense, they are historically elite and only allowed 58 total yards to the Cardinals last week. The Ravens have had the Browns number for as long as time and smoked them in the first matchup this season, but this Cleveland team is healthier and hungry for revenge. I’m expecting a low-scoring, hard hitting game where each team has to earn every yard.
Main Storylines to Watch
Is Keaton Batman: Keaton Mitchell exploded onto the fantasy scene last week with 138 yards and blistering speed. He won’t replicate that performance this week, but if he wins the RB1 job he could end swinging leagues. He was most likely pick up already, but the real story is if lightning can strike twice because if it does, the Ravens just became even more dangerous.
Washed Watson: Deshaun Watson is a sunk cost at this point, the only variable is how much does he have left because so far this season, it looks like he’s near the end of his string. He’s got one game with over 250 yards passing and while he seems to be able to find Amari Cooper for deep balls, but the rest of his game is lacking. They don’t have another viable option, but he’s going to be running for his life and I wouldn’t be surprised if doesn’t finish the game.
Deshaun Watson: Watson might have looked competent vs. the incompetent Cardinals last week, but the Ravens are going to bring the heat all day as they lead the league with 35 sacks. Watson is a very, very tough start this week and I would start almost anybody else if I had the option.
Jerome Ford: The Ravens are a top-10 unit vs. the run, but the Browns have no choice but to try and get some momentum on the ground. The Ravens are going to blitz like crazy and Watson isn’t the same Houdini he used to be. Ford is still splitting carries with Kareem Hunt, but Ford is still the better play this week. Ford did nothing with 20 carries vs. the Cardinals, I wouldn’t expect him to play much better this week.
Amari Cooper: Cooper is proving to be matchup proof and QB proof this season and destroyed the Cardinal secondary with five grabs on five targets for over 100 yards last week. This will not be that and while he’s got a habit of making big plays I’m not sure how much time Watson will have in the pocket to find him downfield. Still a must-start, just a brutal matchup.
David Njoku: Njoku has TDs in B2B games and that is helping prop up his value. The Browns need more viable receiving threats and Njoku has all the tools, but the Ravens excel at defending the TE position. He’s a low-end play this week.
Lamar Jackson: Jackson is giving MVP vibes this season and he’s taken this new air-raid approach about as well as expected. He’s has two straight weeks under 200 yards passing and the odds of him breaking that streak are very slim vs. the best pass defense in football. He’s still a must-start this week and might have to do his damage with his legs, but just pray he doesn’t rocked too hard.
Keaton Mitchell: The Ravens’ run blocking. The Ravens rank fourth in run block win rate this season and second in EPA per designed carry and the Browns are a monster defensively, they have been mortal vs. the run. If Mitchell shows up this week then he’s the real deal, but one game does not make a conqueror. He’s a low-end start this week with legitimate upside a possible basement floor.
Zay Flowers: Flowers was on his way to being a legit WR1 this season, but has struggled in B2B weeks with only 30 combined yards. He’s not going to get off the snide this week, but he’s still a decent WR3 option this week.
Odell Beckham Jr.: Beckham caught his first TD of the season last week, but this is not the game for him. OBJ is made of glass and he’s going against a diamond crusted defense this week.
Mark Andrews: Andrews is finally rolling and has caught at least four passes in every game this season. The Browns have allowed the fewest fantasy points to TEs this season, but Andrews is a mold breaker and I expect him to find a way to get loose for some big plays this week.
I can’t wait for this game because I like football the way it used to be. I want big hits and soul-crushing sacks and I expect to see it all on Sunday. The total is 38 and honestly that seems high. I don’t see either team moving the ball consistently and even if they get in the red zone, it’s going to be a field goal kind of day. The only way the total gets busted is if one team keeps committing TOs and giving the opposing offense elite field position. This is a game to bet unders across the board and while they already low and adjusted, I don’t trust anyone to outperform their averages this week.
Bet: Under 38 (-110) BET365