The Cleveland Browns can help an old friend out in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. A win and they help the Steelers reach the playoffs. Conversely, a win for the Ravens will propel them into the playoffs. The Steelers are hosting the Bengals at home, but if the Ravens win, it doesn’t matter what happens in Pittsburgh.
The Ravens either win the AFC North or they’re out of the playoffs. If they win and the Patriots and Texans lose, the Ravens can jump all the way up to 2nd in the AFC. If one of them suffers a loss, then the Ravens can lock in the 3rd seed. Again, as is the case in the Jaguars-Texans game, a lot to be determined here as well.
It seems that the Browns fired Hue Jackson just a bit too late. I said this a long time ago, and I will say it again, they should have fired Jackson in the offseason and given Baker Mayfield a fresh slate to work with. It’s just set everything back a year for the Browns.
Maybe we’re talking about the Browns playing for a spot in the playoffs if Hue didn’t start the season as their head coach. In any case, it appears they’re heading in the right direction. Next season is going to be one of the most interesting season in years for the Browns.
The Ravens are a team that nobody else is going to want to play in the playoffs. They have a physical defense that is going to wear down their opponents. Even if they beat the Ravens, they’re going to be feeling the hits for the following week. Baltimore have nobody to blame but themselves if they fail to make the playoffs. They can’t ask for much more than the Browns at home in Baltimore. Head below for our free Browns vs. Ravens pick in Week 17 of the NFL.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL Week 17 Betting Odds:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Browns vs. Ravens Pick:
The Cleveland Browns have shown more signs of life this season with Baker Mayfield than the last ten years combined. I generally do not like to judge rookie quarterbacks until their second or third season. There have been a lot of quarterbacks who have had decent rookie campaigns and then defenses catch up to them. However, Baker has been the biggest bright spot the Browns have had at quarterback since, uh, Kelly Holcomb was in Cleveland?
Tim Couch was drafted with success in mind, but he was a major bust. Then there was Brady Quinn, Jason Campbell, Brady Quinn, and of course Johnny Manziel who were unable to do much. Derek Anderson looked good for a minute. In other words, Browns’ fans have been waiting for a guy to excited about like Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield has thrown for 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a 95.1 QB rating. That’s a good start for him and he’s going to have a lot to live up to next season. My only issue with Baker this season has been the teams he’s picked on to get those numbers. Two of his best performances this year were against the worse defense in the NFL. 7 of his 24 touchdowns are from games against the Bengals. He also took advantage of the Raiders, Buccaneers, and Falcons.
The Browns and Ravens met back in Week 5 in Cleveland. Mayfield threw for an impressive 342 yards with a touchdown and interception. Cleveland survived in overtime, 12-9. The tables turn to Baltimore in Week 17, though. Baltimore have already seen Mayfield once, so he shouldn’t be a surprise to them now. The Ravens are 1st in the NFL with 284.1 yards allowed per game.
That’s 15 yards better than the next team in line. They’ve allowed 16.2 points per game at home this season. On the other side, the Browns are 29th with 388.3 yards allowed per game. Lost in the Baker hype is the less than average defense in Cleveland. They’re 27th against the pass and 24th against the run. Lamar Jackson will likely have room to make some plays with his arm and legs.
Note that Oakland and Cincinnati are the only teams on the road that the Browns have scored more than 21 points against. With the playoffs on the line in Week 17, expect the Ravens to frustrate Mayfield in this one. He’s going to make some plays, but not enough to rattle the stout defensive unit of the Ravens. A 7 or 10-point win for the Ravens looks accurate.