NFL Monday Night Football: Browns/Ravens Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Monday night game on ESPN features two AFC North teams in the thick of the playoff race.

Cleveland has won four straight games after they won at Tennessee last Sunday by a 41-35 score. The final score does not do justice to just how dominant the Browns were in that game as they raced out to a 38-7 halftime lead before going on autopilot in the second half with the result never in doubt. After the results on Sunday, Cleveland currently owns the first wildcard spot in the AFC playoff picture with their 9-3 record. A victory over Baltimore tonight would pull the Browns to within one game of first place in the AFC North with Pittsburgh's loss to Buffalo on Sunday night.

Baker Mayfield completed 25 of 33 passes for 334 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Titans. Mayfield’s last interception was on October 25th, and he has thrown eleven touchdown passes since. The play-action passing attack of first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski along with the strong play from the Cleveland offensive line has helped to limit Mayfield to only six sacks in their last six games. Mayfield is completing 62.7% of his passes this season for 2442 passing yards with 21 touchdown passes and seven interceptions.

Baltimore snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday with their 34-17 victory over Dallas as an 8.5-point favorite. The Ravens averaged 7.9 yards-per-carry that produced 294 rushing yards against the Cowboys’ defense. At 7-5 for the year, Baltimore is two games behind Cleveland in the AFC North standings. A win over the Browns would pull the Ravens even with Miami for the final wild-card spot in the AFC.

Lamar Jackson returned to the field after being with due to COVID to complete an efficient 12 of 17 passes for 107 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception. Jackson added another 94 yards on the ground on 13 carries with a rushing touchdown. Jackson is completing 66.9% of his passes for 2055 yards with 17 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He has averaged 5.8 yards-per-carry for 669 yards with four rushing touchdowns.

The Ravens removed tight end Mark Andrews along with wide receiver Willie Snead IV and linebacker Matthew Judon from their COVID list. They have five players questionable, including defensive tackle Calais Campbell with his calf injury and cornerback Jimmy Smith with a groin. Cornerback Tramon Williams is doubtful with a thigh. Baltimore has seven players either out for the season or on their Injured Reserve list, including left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

Cleveland has declared cornerback Denzel Ward and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge out for this game with injuries. Five other players are out the season or on their IR, most notably wide receiver Odell Beckham. Right guard Wyatt Teller is still on their COVID list. Tight end Austin Hooper is questionable with a neck injury.

Baltimore won the first meeting between these two teams by a 38-6 score on September 13th. The Ravens were 7-point favorites with the over/under at 47.5. Jackson completed 20 of his 25 passes in that game for 275 yards, yet that that was the only time this season he has eclipsed 249 passing yards in a game.

BookMaker lists the Ravens as a 3-point road favorite with the total set at 45.5. The kickoff on ESPN is at 8:15 PM ET. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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