Cleveland Browns (0-9) vs Baltimore Ravens (4-4)
*8:25pm ET on NFL Network
The Cleveland Browns are 29th in scoring, and 31st in points allowed, 32nd in yards allowed, they’ve tried out five quarterbacks – six if you include wide receiver Terrell Pryor, who’s thrown 9 passes – they’ve fumbled 14 times, suffered five double-digit losses… what more is there to say? Last week Dak Prescott of the Cowboys made mincemeat of Cleveland’s secondary, completing 21 of 27 for 247 yards and 3 TDs, connecting with Jason Witten 8 times for 134 yards, as Dallas won 35-10 while totally dominating time of possession 39:39 to 20:21. Browns QB Cody Kessler actually had a pretty good day, completing 19 of 27 for 203 and a touchdown, but he got sacked 4 times, and Cleveland’s ground game was non-existent, as they rushed 13 times for just 45 yards.
The Ravens are coming off a big 21-14 win against the Steelers that pulled them into a tie for first place with Pittsburgh in the AFC North. The Ravens took the lead late in the first quarter on a 95-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Mike Wallace, kicked field goals in the second and third quarter, and then scored one final time in the fourth when Chris Moore ran back a blocked punt for a TD to put B'more up 21-0 with 13:36 to play. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who was playing for the first time since having knee surgery the month before, couldn’t get it together until the fourth quarter, leading his team on touchdown drives of 75 and 65 yards, but then Chris Boswell tried an on-side kick with 48 seconds left and whiffed it, barely knocking the ball off the tee before kicking it again in frustration. In addition to frustrating Big Ben, the Ravens’ D shut down running back Le’Veon Bell, holding him to 32 yards on 14 carries. Flacco is well past his prime (such as it was), with more INTs (7) than TDs (6), and the Ravens’ running game has been good for just 654 yards on 187 carries (3.5 ypc). Once again it’s the defense, this time led by safety Eric Weddle, that’s keeping Baltimore competitive. They’ve allowed the second-fewest yards, the fewest 1st downs, and the second-fewest rushing yards, while giving up just 19.1 points per game.
The Browns jumped out to a 20-2 lead in the first quarter when these teams met in September, before the Ravens scored 23 unanswered points, then intercepted a Josh McCown pass on the goal line with 13 seconds left on the clock to win 25-20. It seems impossible that the Browns will be that competitive again.
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