Ravens vs. Browns Odds, Predictions, NFL Picks: Will Baltimore Sweep Cleveland & Cover in Week 14?
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
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In a weird scheduling quirk, the Browns take on the Ravens for the second consecutive game in Week 14. (Cleveland had a bye in Week 13, so it’s not an immediate rematch for Baltimore.)
Their last meeting, way back in Week 12, resulted in a 16-10 victory for Baltimore. That game was noted by awful performances from both quarterbacks, with Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson combining for six interceptions and only two touchdowns.
This time, Cleveland is at home. Will the change of scenery lead to a change in outcomes for the Browns?
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Ravens vs. Browns Injury Report
- G/C Patrick Mekari (hand): Out
- CB Marlon Humphrey (pectoral): Out (IR)
- WR Miles Boykin (finger): Doubtful
- FB Patrick Ricard (back): Questionable
- TE Nick Boyle (knee): Questionable
- CB Anthony Averett (knee): Questionable
- DB/LB Anthony Levine Sr. (knee): Questionable
- DB Brandon Stephens (shoulder): Questionable
- CB Chris Westry (thigh): Questionable
- WR Anthony Schwartz (concussion): Out
- TE David Njoku (COVID): Out
- TE Harrison Bryant (knee): Out
- CB Greg Newsome II (knee): Out
- OT Jack Conklin (knee): Out (IR)
- DT Malik Jackson (knee): Questionable
- DT Jordan Elliott (knee): Questionable
- S Ronnie Harrison Jr. (ankle): Questionable
Ravens vs. Browns Matchup
|Ravens Offense||DVOA Rank||Browns Defense|
|Ravens Defense||DVOA Rank||Browns Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Ravens, Jackson Must Protect Ball
After showing some improvements as a passer earlier in the season, Jackson and the Ravens have regressed back to the mean. Both Jackson and the team have been far more successful running the ball than throwing it, despite a multitude of injuries to the running back corps.
The Ravens can live with Jackson not providing a ton of offense with his arm, but they do need Jackson to protect the ball better than he has been as of late. He has 13 interceptions on the season, with eight coming in his last four games — including four against the Browns. The Ravens were able to beat the Browns despite that, but it isn’t a recipe for long-term success.
While Jackson’s ball security has been an issue, it’s likely that the turnovers will settle down a bit. He’s never had an issue with turnovers in the past, and this is the first time he’s thrown more than nine interceptions in a season. Turnovers are, to a degree, random. Patrick Mahomes is the perfect example — he threw eight in a five game span earlier this season, but only two through his last four games. I think we see something similar with Jackson’s rate regressing to his career mean.
The Ravens’ defensive strengths mirror their offense. They bring a stifling run defense, but struggle to stop the pass. However, that’s not a terrible thing against Cleveland. Containing Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is the top priority for the Ravens. They’d likely be content with forcing Mayfield to beat them through the air.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Ravens’ defensive line. They rank 26th in adjusted sack rate, but first in adjusted line yards. They’re also one of only five teams in the NFL to force fewer than one turnover per game, so this isn’t a “big play” defense.
Browns Have Leaned On Run Game All Season
Cleveland — statistically — is a remarkably similar team to Baltimore. The Browns offense is built around the run game, although they have a pair of talented running backs, instead of relying on their quarterback to carry the ball.
Like the Ravens, they also struggle to move the ball through the air. Whether this is due to poor play from their pass catchers or Mayfield’s limited ability, I’m not sure. Regardless, that lack of firepower hurts the Browns in tight games when they can’t just run out the clock. They have a 2-4 record in games decided by six points or fewer.
Defensively, the Browns look very similar to the Ravens by DVOA. They’re far better at defending the run than the pass. However, they do have a far better pass rush. They rank 10th both in total sacks and adjusted sack rate on the year. Myles Garrett is a legitimate defensive player of the year candidate, and has created havoc for opposing offenses all year.
Baltimore’s offensive line is suspect, ranking 30th in adjusted sack rate, although I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a fair stat in this case. Jackson creates pressure on himself by dancing around in the pocket. He also invites it, as defenders getting up-field gives him better lanes to run through.
Ravens vs. Browns Predictions, Picks
Baltimore has been the better team on the year, but is the underdog in this one. Your read on this likely comes down to how much you value home-field advantage, with the Ravens winning their matchup at home. If you think the change in venue is worth more than that, the Browns are your pick.
I don’t believe it does, though, and I have other reasons to believe the Ravens will perform better here. While they rank among the league’s worst teams in both giveaways and takeaways, with those being relatively high-variance, it’s fair to say the Ravens have been a bit unlucky despite their 8-4 record.
On the other hand, Cleveland has been fortunate to have a .500 record to this point in the season. They’ve been outscored by 13 points on the year, which typically would suggest a team about one game below even.
Several books have this game at 2.5, but some have yet to move off of the key number of three (check real-time NFL odds here). There’s enough uncertainty in this one that I want the whole field goal with Baltimore, so I’ll pass if this line drops.
Pick: Ravens +3 | Bet to: +3
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