Baltimore (3-7) at Cleveland (2-8)
When: Monday, November 30th 2015
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPN
The battle to stay out of the AFC North cellar takes place Monday night as the Baltimore Ravens visit the Cleveland Browns. Joe Flacco will miss his first game since 2008 as he injured his ACL last week in a 16-13 win against St. Louis. Matt Schaub will start his first game since the season finale with Houston in 2013. His last full season in which he started 16 games was in 2012 for Houston and he had over 4,000 yards and a 90.7 QB rating. He won’t have starting running back Justin Forsett behind him as he fractured his right forearm last week as well. Rookie Javorius Allen from USC came in and ran it 22 times for just 67 yards. Its been a real tough season for Baltimore as every one of their games have been decided by 8 points or less including a 33-30 loss to Cleveland in Week 5. In that game, the Ravens allowed the Browns to rack up 505 yards of total offense and 12-of-19 third down conversions. The Ravens are also without star wide receiver Steve Smith for the rest of the season which means Kamar Aiken and tight end Crockett Gillmore will have to step it up. No, I’ve never heard of those guys either. If Schaub had all of his weapons, I think he would do well moving the football. This could be the best chance for the Ravens to win another game this season as they finish up with a brutal schedule.
The Browns are having problems of their own, but they can sweep the season series for the first time in years with a victory tonight. Josh McCown finds himself back under center after the team demoted Johnny Manziel to third-string after he lied about where he was during the bye week. He was caught on video partying and tried to lie his way out of it. I’m not sure what this guys’ problem is, but the Browns simply do not trust him right now and I don’t blame them. McCown threw for a franchise-record 457 yards in the Week 5 win over Baltimore – his third straight 300+ yard game at the time. I really think the Browns are better with McCown. He has 11 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions this season and a 95.2 QB rating which is better than a lot of quarterbacks in this league including the Mannings, Newton, Roethlisberger, Cutler, Stafford, and so on. The Browns run game is ranked 31st in the league averaging just 75.6 yard a game, while the defense ranks 30th in both total defense and scoring.
I really like Cleveland in this game with McCown under center. They can move the ball a lot better than the Ravens and they proved it in Week 5. Baltimore just has too many injuries on offense. The line was -2.5 after McCown was named starter, but went up to -3.5 on Sunday morning. I still like it, but I would buy a half-point to 3.
Pick: Browns -3.5