The hype guys for the Cleveland Browns have quieted down considerably since August. All we heard of since the Browns brought in Odell Beckham is how this team is destined for big things. Not just the playoffs, but there were more than a few people out there saying it’s the Browns turn to go to the Super Bowl.
I never got caught up in the hype, nor do I ever regarding young rookie quarterbacks. Like I’ve said before, that’s a very small sample size to come to a conclusion. Coupled with the fact that film is out on Baker Mayfield, it’s not a surprise that he’s having issues in his second season thus far.
We can’t talk about Mayfield’s struggles without talking about the offensive line, though. While Mayfield could be playing a lot better, he’s not getting much protection up front. Even when there isn’t pressure, Mayfield is rolling out of the pocket when he doesn’t have to.
He’s hearing footsteps when there aren’t any sometimes. That said, if the offense line was better, Mayfield wouldn’t be so concerned with avoiding a sack. He is likely looking at Andrew Luck’s career in Indianapolis and doesn’t want to be killed as a result of a shaky line.
The defense did fight hard for the Browns last week against the Rams. They held the high-powered Rams to just 20 points in the 20-13 loss. Cleveland had an opportunity to tie the game or go-ahead with a 2-point conversion late in the regulation. Some baffling play calling by Freddie Kitchens put an end to that.
The best player of the night, Nick Chubb, was ignored and he didn’t get a carry in the red zone. Kitchens admitted that he botched the sequence. The Packers must have taken a page out of the Browns’ red zone playbook because they did the same, expect the Packers were even closer to the goal line.
Week 4 doesn’t get any easier for the Browns. They have to travel to Baltimore for a matchup against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The Ravens are coming off a close 33-28 loss to the Chiefs. If there’s any game to watch in the early afternoon slate, it has to be the Browns and Ravens. Head below for our free Browns vs. Ravens pick.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL Week 4 Betting Odds:
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Browns vs. Ravens Pick:
The Browns are going to need a much better effort offensively to get past the Ravens on Sunday afternoon. Mayfield and company had to deal with the Rams’ defense last week and now they get the Ravens on the road. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs may have totalled 33 points, but the Chiefs can score on absolutely anybody in the NFL. While the Ravens’ defense is good, this isn’t the 2000 Ravens. In any event, the Ravens allowed just 23 points in total against the Dolphins and Cardinals.
Yes, the Dolphins and Cardinals. I don’t think we should get too excited about the Ravens’ defense yet given they’ve only shut down the useless Dolphins and a rookie quarterback. The Ravens have the looks of a good defense, but I’m still waiting on if they’re a top-5 defense. Statistically, they’re not close in that regard, as the defense has allowed 350.7 yards per game for 16th in the NFL. The Chiefs shew that number negatively, but the Ravens just as easily skewed things positively against the Dolphins and Cardinals to maintain respectable numbers.
What I’ve been impressed with is the Browns’ defensive effort this season. The defense was put on a bad spot defensively all game against the Titans in Week 1, so we shouldn’t look too far into those 43 points. Mayfield was an interception machine, giving the Titans prime field position. The Browns are 10th in the league with 315 yards allowed per contest. They’ve also allowed 22 points a contest.
However, I don’t think the idea of Cleveland going into this one with a ragged secondary. They made it work last week, but without the same energy of a Sunday night game at home against the Rams, expect Jackson to pick his spots against the Cleveland secondary. Goff and the Rams have been different on the road and home as well. The Ravens have averaged 511.7 yards per game for 1st in the NFL. They’re also 1st with 36.7 points scored per game.
As was the case last week, the secondary is going to be banged up for the Browns. They may get some guys back, but three members of the secondary are questionable. That should allow Jackson to operate efficiently at home. After the display the Browns put on offensively in Week 3, expect Mayfield to come back with a better performance.
The game plan was awful against the Rams and I can see Kitchens putting something better together for the Ravens. Baltimore are going to score, Lamar can score on just about any defense in the league, so the Browns will likely be playing keep up on Sunday afternoon. I like a 30-20 or 31-24 game, so the OVER looks like a good option in Baltimore for Week 4.