The Baltimore Ravens are in anticipation of their home opener this Sunday and look as if they are championship caliber and poised for another Superbowl run. The Cleveland Browns have had two mundane outings thus far and have little spark offensively and extremely porous defensively. Weather forecasts have this game kicking off in fairly clear weather but there is potential for heavy rain later in the game, this will be something to watch for and might hamper the Browns offensive attack even more. The (1-1) Baltimore Ravens will welcome the (0-2) Cleveland Browns into M&T Bank Stadium and will look to increase its four game streak against the Dawgs, kickoff slated for 1 PM EST.
The end of the Eric Mangini era seems to grow closer by the week, and now the Browns finally meet a top-flight opponent in Baltimore’s home opener. Cleveland is giving up a staggering 129.5 yards on the ground per contest this year and are only able to average 14 points offensively per game. QB Jake Delhomme is doubtful for Sunday, still nursing an ailing ankle, so the Browns will once again look to QB Seneca Wallace in hopes he can manage this game. Wallace finished last week 16-of-31 passing for 229 yards with 1 touchdown and a pick. This week in practice has scene starting RB Jerome Harrison hampered by a stubborn thigh injury he sustained last week, so look for RB Peyton Hillis to get the starting nod. Hillis, a seventh round pick in the 2008 NFL draft out of Arkansas, brings a bruising style of play and has great stamina, which should keep the Ravens defense honest against the run. One bright spot for this Browns club has been the play of rookie CB Joe Haden. He has been able to match up against teams prime wide outs and provide shut down coverage, he also has 6 tackles through two games. Should the Browns put up another dismal performance in Maryland do we see Mike Holmgren make his first legitimate executive move and make a change on the Browns sideline? Only time will tell.
The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a tough, punishing loss to AFC North foe, the Cincinnati Bengal’s, a game that hung in the balance for mostly 4 quarters due to the Ravens ineffectiveness on offense. Baltimore had every opportunity to win the game, with great starting field position and long-steady drives, but Joe Flacco faltered when it really mattered as he threw 4 interceptions and had a QB rating of 23.8. For now, head coach Jim Harbaugh is sticking with his pivot but should the offense continue to vacillate then look for old Rams castoff QB Marc Bulger to get his shot. One stat to remember though, QB Joe Flacco is 4-0 against the Browns in his career and has a QB rating of 101.2 against them. Once again the Ravens defense is already firing on all cylinders and is looking poised to lead this team to glory. The Ravens have yet to allow a touchdown this season, while the Browns gained only 55 yards and three first downs – one came on a penalty – after halftime last week, and were limited to 73 yards rushing. Baltimore hopes its ground game can continue to emerge this week against a Browns team giving up 129.5 rushing yards per contest – 25th in the league. The Ravens have typically run the ball well versus Cleveland (0-2), averaging more than 142 yards on the ground in the last seven meetings. The Ravens defense definitely has the swagger and ability to lead this team through the season but the offense will have to get going in order to consider this team a legitimate Superbowl contender.
Browns vs Ravens Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Cleveland Browns +10.5
@ Baltimore Ravens -10.5
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Browns vs Ravens Prediction for Week 3:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – The stars will be aligned on Sunday afternoon for an absolute onslaught at the expense of the Browns. The Ravens come into this game with a championship defense and an offense that wants to desperately prove its legitimacy. Home openers are always good locales to get things worked out and I believe the Ravens offense will be able to open it up against a severely challenged Browns defensive unit. Baltimore is 4-0 against the spread versus Cleveland over the last 2 seasons and they are 6-0 ATS as a favorite of 10 or more points over the last 3 seasons. Cleveland’s struggles with the Ravens over the past few seasons have been well documented as they have gone 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games against the Ravens. Baltimore has a great chance of going 3 weeks without giving up a single touchdown and will be able to give the second string unit plenty of snaps as this game should be over by halftime. Take a good look at the Ravens and the points this week.
Game Total Prediction – This total is a little tricky but is manageable. I do believe we are in store for an absolute beat down at the expense of the Browns, but can the Browns get their field goals to push this game over the total. I do believe the Browns will have their field goal chances and Joshua Cribbs has the potential to take any punt the distance on any given play. QB Joe Flacco has been prolific in his short career thus far against the Browns and I see much the same of this on Sunday. The total has gone OVER in 5 of Baltimore’s last 7 games when playing at home against Cleveland and Baltimore is 5-1 (O/U) when coming off a loss against an AFC North team. We will consider taking the OVER in this contest, I see this game playing out to a Ravens victory in the favor of 34-10. Cheers! Prediction – Over 37 points
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