Baltimore at Cleveland
Time: NOON CT (CBS)
Spread: BAL -3
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Cleveland Browns are 1-2-1; but, never has the city felt better about a losing record. Progress is being made, and the Browns will host the Baltimore Ravens Sunday on CBS as 3-point underdogs. The over/under is set at 45.5 points according to NFL oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
While Cleveland has improved, 72 percent odds are given to the Ravens in ESPN’s Football Power Index. The Browns will hope it can beat the odds with the arm of Baker Mayfield and its No. 2 ranked rush offense, responsible for 152.8 yards per game.
Mayfield has been decent, though not without his flaws. He has thrown 59.4 percent for completion, averaging 7.8 yards per attempt, 236 yards per game, but with just two TD passes and two INT on the season. He has been sacked just three times (1.0 per game), but has a passer rating of just 81.3 thus far. Progress is step-by-step. Mayfield shares the field with Tyrod Taylor, who ranks No. 3 on the team in rushing with 125 yards. Carlos Hyde of Ohio State is a local legend and leads the team with 285 yards, but he averages just 3.4 yards-per-carry and has just one rush for 20-plus yards. He still has rushed for 15 first downs and five touchdowns, both of which lead the Browns.
Nick Chubb has rushed only 10 times but gained 146 yards and two TDs. He is promising to say the least. Duke Johnson Jr. may factor in down the road. The former Miami Hurricane has rushed 12 times for 40 yards, but has one first down and is part of a deep rotation. Mayfield has rushed six times but picked up only eight yards. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry has shined, leading the team in receptions (24), targeted passes (47), yardage (312) and tied for the team lead in TDs with one. Antonio Callaway, Darren Fells, and Josh Gordon all have TD receptions to their credit, as well.
Defensively, Joe Shobert has led the way with 21 tackles, 16 solo, and 1.0 sacks. Larry Ogunjobi has 13 solo tackles and 3,0 sacks, while Myles Garrett leads the defense with 4.5 sacks for 22-yards lost. Cleveland ranks tied-for-11th in holding teams to 25.5 points per game, and its offense ranks roughly middle of the pack, scoring 26.0 per contest.
The recipe is, of course, one for mediocrity, but that is an improvement for a franchise that had struggled to stay in football games for the past several seasons. Again, things are looking up, and being just 3-point dogs this week puts the Browns in position to potentially improve to .500, which by all accounts would be yet another step in the right direction for this young team.
Baltimore is 3-1 after consecutive victories over Denver and Pittsburgh. Last week it defeated the Steelers 26-14 as Joe Flacco threw 28 of 42 for 363 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 109.5. The Ravens averaged just 3.2 yards-per-attempt on its 30 rushes, and Alex Collins led the way with just 42 yards on his 11 carries. No one scored a rushing touchdown. John Brown had a day at wideout, with three catches for 116 yards and a TD. Willie Snead led the team with six total receptions, picking up 56 yards. Maxx Williams added 51 yards on five catches, and Nick Boyle caught three for 36 yards.
The Ravens rank No. 5 in scoring, averaging 30.8 points per game, while its pass offense is No. 8 at 307.8 yards per game. Its rush attack is in the bottom-third at 89.0 yards per game, but Baltimore is great on the defensive end of the football where it holds opponents to just 16.3 points per game, tied for No.3 in the league. Baltimore held the Bills to a field goal in Week 1, and it has held its past two opponents to 14-points or less. This week it will face a Browns team that is hungry, but we expect the Ravens experience to translate to a narrow victory as projected by oddsmakers at 5dimes.