The Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens will meet in front of cardboard cutouts at M&T Bank Stadium to open the 2020 NFL campaign. This is a big season for both teams, especially the Browns and Baker Mayfield. There is no more time to talk for Mayfield. He must show up this season and play like a franchise quarterback.
We have seen instances of him playing like a champion, but too often there has been stupid decisions to end his confidence. Mayfield is a quarterback that thrives off his confidence. If things are going right, then he plays the part well for the Browns, but a mistake and everything comes crashing down.
If it seemed awfully quiet in Cleveland in the offseason, it’s probably because Baker didn’t open his mouth. After last offseason, where he was always on TV doing a media tour, or in a commercial, he hasn’t said much. That includes social media. He’s managed not to draw attention to himself and might be turning into more of a professional.
That being said, if Baker didn’t utilize the time to better himself, then it doesn’t mean much. He has to prove that he’s better than the product we saw on the field a season ago, which included two games against the Ravens. One of those was a 45-20 in on the road in Baltimore. At the time, the Browns were seen as a dangerous contender after the impressive victory.
Mayfield passed for 342 yards with a touchdown and interception. Nick Chubb went wild for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns. The effort of Chubb set up the deep ball for Mayfield. Expect to see a lot of Chubb in this game, but in their second meeting in December, the Ravens were prepared in Cleveland to hold Chubb to just 45 yards on 15 carries.
The Ravens were a serious Super Bowl contender last season, but fell 28-12 to a surging Tennessee Titans squad in the Divisional Playoffs a week after beating the Patriots. The Titans solved Lamar Jackson, but can the Browns use that as a blueprint to slow him down on Sunday?
They’ll have to or Lamar is going to run wild. It’s as simple as that. With a win total of 11.5, the Ravens are once again expected to be major competitors for the Super Bowl. Head below for our free Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens pick in NFL Week 1 for September 13, 2020.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL Week 1 Betting Odds:
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens Prediction:
Baker Mayfield passed for 3,725 yards with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as a rookie in 2018. The talent was there, but he allowed everything to go to his head. It didn’t seem like he did much prep work going into this sophomore campaign because the defensive coordinator figured him out pretty easily.
Mayfield regressed with 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions last season. He passed for more yards with 3,827, but his completion percentage went from 63.75% to 59.36%. The Browns’ offense, despite being equipped with Nick Chubb, Odell Beckham, and Kareem Hunt didn’t operate effectively.
Former Minnesota Viking offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski, takes over as the head coach after Freddie Kitchen was fired last season. As a result of the pandemic, Stefanski probably didn’t get to spend as much time with his new team as he would have liked.
Baker butted heads with Kitchens, as did others on the team, so it was in everyone’s interest for Kitchens to get his walking papers during the season last year. He is now working as the tight ends coach for the New York Giants. Note that Stefanski is going to handle play calling duties as well. He did it in Minnesota, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
The Ravens employed the best offense in the NFL in 2019. They racked up 33.2 points per game and never scored less than 20 points in any game. The Ravens were able to keep teams guessing with Jackson under center. He helped lead the Ravens to an NFL team rushing record with 3,296 yards on the ground. Jackson was responsible for 1,206 rushing yards alone. Guard Marshal Yanda is the only member of the Ravens’ offense not returning from last season.
Cleveland were amongst the worst teams in the NFL at stopping the run in 2019. They gave up 144 yards per game for 30th in the league, and now they’re down talent defensively going into Sunday. Leading tackler Joe Schobert signed with the Jaguars in the offseason and defensive tackle Grant Delpit opted out of the season.
With limited time to prepare for the Ravens’ offense in the offseason with a new head coach, expect the Browns to have issues with Jackson and company. If there’s a top-5 of head coaches that I’d like to expect to have their team ready after an unprecedented offseason, John Harbaugh has to be there. I certainly have more confidence in Harbaugh over a rookie head coach in Week 1. Look for the Ravens to get off to a quick start at home. They should get things done in the ballpark of 35-21.