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Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens Point Spread - Pick

Cleveland Browns (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Week 2 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: MT&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: CLE +7.5/BAL -7.5
Over/Under Total: 41

The Cleveland Browns come to MT&T Bank Stadium to face the Baltimore Ravens in week two AFC North action on Sunday. Cleveland covered the spread, but came up short in a close one to the Steelers in week one, 21-18. They now try their luck with another divisional team in the Baltimore Ravens. In week one, the Ravens looked tremendous with their revamped defense, shutting out the Bengals, 20-0. Who will come out ahead this week in Baltimore?

Cleveland looked pretty good and for a team that was 1-15 and couldn't cover a spread to save their lives last season. They got the cover and weren't that far off from the win and this was against a leading conference contender in the Steelers. Rookie quarterbacks DeShone Kizer was decent, going 20-for-30 with 222 yards, including a TD and a pick. He also ran in a score. The vaunted Cleveland offensive line wasn't very good, allowing seven sacks on their rookie QB and helping pave the way for a mere 57 yards on the ground. Kizer was able to hit Corey Coleman for a TD score, but Isaiah Crowell didn't have a great day on the ground. Kizer sometimes hung on to the ball too long, but it wasn't a bad debut.

The Cleveland defense deserves kudos for holding the ballyhooed Steelers' offense to just 21 points. And it took some bad luck for the Steelers to even score that much. A big Pittsburgh play to Antonio Brown was the result of a tipped ball that fortunately came to Brown. And it took a circus catch by Brown in a later play to notch the win. Otherwise, the defense looked good. The Steelers were held to just 290 total yards and 16 first downs. They couldn't run the ball against this defense. Carl Nassib had a sack and Derrick Kindred had a pick. And in the middle, Christian Kirksey, Jamie Collins, and Joe Schobert were very active. Things could pick up when they get number-one overall pick Myles Garrett back into the mix. Rookie safety Jabrill Peppers looked pretty good, both on defense and on kick and punt returns.

Baltimore probably won't have as easy a time of things as they had in week one, but make no mistake, this defense looks like the units they had when they won rings. They forced a fumble from Andy Dalton, picked him off four times, and sacked him five times. In addition, they held them to just 221 yards. A lot of the offseason moves seemed to pay off. New Baltimore corner Brandon Carr had the first of four team picks. New safety Tony Jefferson was all over the field and had a sack. Terrell Suggs announced his return with two sacks. Linebacker CJ Mosley was active and also had a pick. Michael Pierce and Za'Darius Smith also got sacks. Smith, however, had to leave the game with an injury. Jimmy Smith and Ladarius Webb also had interceptions, as their secondary is now one with depth.

Having taken no preseason snaps and having been limited in practice, it was interesting to see how Flacco would perform. He really wasn't needed, with the defense doing so much of the heavy lifting. Flacco attempted only 17 passes, throwing a 48-yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin, while also tossing a pick. There was also an injury to Danny Woodhead, who was going to help an offense that sometimes struggles to find playmakers. Still, between Javorious Allen and Terrance West, the ground-game was good and allowed Flacco a chance to warm up to the regular season on Sunday. West ran for a TD among his 80 yards rushing, while Allen ran for 71 yards. WR Mike Wallace was quiet, as was Breshad Perriman, a former first-rounder who might never come around to speed.


Still, there's a feeling of win-now on the Ravens' sidelines. After winning the Super Bowl several seasons ago, they've been only so-so. And when you think of those great Baltimore teams, you don't think of offense. The defense they are now fielding, if guys stay healthy, could be up to those standards. Whatever the case, it's not easy to shut out the Bengals at home and that was an energizing way to start the season.

This game might be a grind, though. Both teams look improved on defense and are strong along both lines of scrimmage. Add a couple offenses into the mix who are still working out different things, defense could rule the day in Baltimore. Flacco is still coming around from a shoulder surgery, while Kizer is acclimating to NFL speed. I see the big plays on offense being fairly minimal. The Ravens' defense figures to be tough on the Cleveland run and on their rookie QB. But this doesn't seem like a spot for the Baltimore offense to shine, either. I'm going "under" on this one.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting that the Cleveland vs. Baltimore game goes under 41 points. Bet the Cleveland vs. Baltimore game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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