If the Cleveland Browns aren’t shooting themselves in the foot like they did in their first two games this season, they’re getting completely robbed by some game referees and head-scratching replay officials as was the case this past weekend.
Now, with the rebuilding Browns looking to rebound from their latest disturbing loss, let’s find out if they can pull off the upset as home underdogs against Joe Flacco and the visiting Baltimore Ravens in their NFL Week 5 AFC North divisional clash.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
🏈: Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-2-1)
⏰: Sun. Oct 7, 2018 1:00 PM ET
🏟️: FirstEnergy Stadium Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
📺: CBS, DTV: 707
🎰: Baltimore Ravens -2½ -120 | -150 | O 47 -110
Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
The Ravens looked fantastic on Sunday night as they completely man-handled Pittsburgh en route to a convincing 26-14 win over the Steelers. Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 28 of 42 passes for 363 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while wide receiver John Brown caught three passes for 116 yards, including a 71-yard TD grab.
Baltimore’s defense harassed Ben Roethlisberger into an uninspiring 27 of 47 one-interception performance while shutting put Pittsburgh for three quarters and holding the Steelers to a mind-boggling 19 rushing yards in the win.
Cleveland Browns (1-2-1)
The Browns got completely robbed in their crushing 45-42 overtime loss at Oakland on Sunday as Baker Mayfield went 21 of 41 for 295 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and running back Nick Chubb added 105 rushing yards and two scores on just three carries. Cleveland allowed Oakland’s Derek Carr to throw four TD passes but also picked off the Raiders’ signal-caller twice in the narrow defeat.
“I’m tired of growing pains,” coach Hue Jackson said. “I think we can do those things better. Those things hadn’t reared their ugly head until now. We can do better. Baker can do better. Our offense can do better. Special teams can do better, the defense can do better. So, we’ve got to play better.
Cleveland appeared to be in a position to run out the clock and get the win in regulation when running back Carlos Hyde converted a first down on third and 2 and the referees measure it and the Browns got the first down by the nose of the football – on a bad spot no less. Strangely enough, a replay review determined Hyde was down just short of the marker (he wasn’t) and the Browns punted.
“That was huge,” Hyde said. “That was a chance to put the game away right there. Definitely. That was a game-changer right there.”
Expert Pick and Prediction
I’m sick to my stomach at the way the Browns got completely robbed out of a win this past weekend, but not sick enough to pick Cleveland to get upset over a Baltimore Ravens team that is looking rock-solid on both sides of the ball right now. Baltimore’s offseason upgrades to their offense are clearly paying dividends with the Ravens ranked a stellar fifth in scoring (30.8 ppg) and even more impressive third in points allowed (16.2 ppg).
While I like Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, the fact of the matter is that he is a rookie that still needs to learn the NFL. That certainly doesn’t bode well as he gets set to face a defense that has been almost perennially excellent for nearly two decades.
Baltimore is 5-0 SU and ATS in their last five games against Cleveland and an even more dominant 9-1 SU and ATS in their last 10 road games against the Browns. Keep it simple. The Ravens are the better team on both sides of the ball.
Predicted Score: Ravens 31 Browns 20
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