Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Baltimore Ravens (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (1-7 SU, 3-5
ATS), 8:30 p.m. EST, Week 10 Monday Night Football, November 16, 2009, Cleveland Browns
Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, TV: ESPN

by Badger of

Point Spread: Ravens -11/Browns +11
Over/Under: 40.5

Back in January when the suit-and-ties at ESPN and the NFL were
setting the Monday Night Football schedule its a good bet they
didnt expect the Baltimore Ravens to be struggling at 4-4 and the
Cleveland Browns to be taking on water at 1-7, but thats what well
get this week when the Ravens travel West to Ohio take on the Browns
in Cleveland Stadium for an AFC North showdown on this weeks
Monday Night Football telecast.

The Ravens dropped to .500 after last weeks 17-7 defeat at the hands of the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals. The loss not only allowed the Bengals to sweep the season series from the Ravens, but it also
gave Baltimore their fourth loss in the past five games and put the
Ravens on the outside looking in as far as the AFC playoffs are

Cleveland is well, Cleveland. If it wasnt for LeBron, Shaq and the
Cavs the entire city could hibernate for a year and nobody would miss
a thing.

Last week was their bye week and the Browns used the week off to fire
their General Manager, confirm to everyone that their first-year head
coach Eric Mangini is skating on thin ice, redevelop the quarterback
controversy that engulfed the team throughout the preseason, and
basically admit to the football watching world that the entire
organization is a leaderless, clueless franchise that has already
turned their focus towards the 2010 season. Did I forget to mention

Things are so bad in Cleveland that the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have packed in their season as well. How else can you explain that the
Ravens opened the Monday Night primetime affair as 11-point favorites
on the road? So far the public is in complete agreement, since
everyone seems content to eat the chalk since the line has failed to
move in either direction. (At time of print)

The over/under total opened at 40.5 and has also stayed firm with
little or no line movement what so ever. But the failure for the lack
of line movement on the point spread and the total is more likely
because nobody cares enough about this game to try and get in ahead
of the steam.

The Ravens are 4-4 on paper, but they are not nearly as bad as it
looks on the surface. Their four losses have come against the
Vikings, Patriots and Bengals twice, so its not like they are asleep
at the wheel. And with the exception of last weeks 10-point loss to
Cincy, the average margin of defeat in those games is just 3.6
points, so its not like theyre getting blown out week-to-week.

Offensively they are still in the top-10 in the NFL in yardage (358.2
ypg 10th), passing yards (242.1 ypg 10th) and scoring (25.8 ppg
9th). They do need second-year quarterback Joe Flacco to pick up his
game a little though, as he struggled against the Cincy pass rush
last week and finished just 18-of-32 for 195 yards with two

The Browns would kill for those kind of numbers out of their

Since getting the starting job by default, Derek Anderson has thrown two touchdowns to nine interceptions, has a measly 4.42 yards per
catch average, and is hitting on an almost unfathomable 42.8 percent
of his throws for the NFLs worst passing offense (121.5 ypg).
Anderson was so bad in their last game against the Bears (6-of-17 for
76 yards, 2 INTs) that Mangini actually went back to Brady Quinn at
the end of the game. Quinn, the king of the checkdown, responded with
a 1-for-3 outing with a nine-yard completion.

But in both Anderson and Quinns defense, its hard to make chicken
salad when all you are given is chicken bleep. Running back Jamal
is now two steps too slow to the hole (Browns rushing 99.6 ypg
22nd), the perimeter is manned by two rookie receivers (Mohamed
Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie), and the offensive line has only one
legit player with left tackle Joe Thomas being that lone stud.

Defensively, it doesnt get any better for the Browns. Cleveland is
ranked 32nd in yards allowed (409.1 ypg), 31st against the run (170.5
ypg) and 28th in points allowed (26.1 ppg). They are 22nd against the
pass (238.6 ypg), but when teams are running the ball down your
throat who needs to pass?

Baltimores defense is starting to show some age and some attrition due to all of the player losses in free agency over the years. Once
at the top of the league in just about every category, the Ravens
have fallen out of the top-10 in overall defense (320.6 ypg 12th)
and are allowing teams an average of 19.2 points per contest (9th).
This week should be exactly what the doctor ordered for Ray Lewis and
his crew though, as those season averages should get a healthy boost
by the end of play Monday.

Baltimore won the first meeting between the AFC North rivals back on September 27th, 34-3. The Ravens piled up 479 yards of offense and held Quinn-then-Anderson and the Browns to 186 total yards in a
landslide victory. The Ravens swept the season series last year to
give them three straight wins in the series, covering the spread all
three times as well for a 3-0 ATS record.

The over is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings, with the lone under cashing in back in the previous meeting this season.

Prior to that though it was all Browns. Cleveland covered the point
spread in five straight games prior to last season, winning three of
the five straight up. One other betting trend that makes the Browns
look good on paper is the fact the home team is a solid 8-3 ATS in
the last 11 head-to-head meetings. But I think you be hard pressed to
find even a diehard Browns fan willing to bet on the Steamers, er,
Browns these days.

Badgers Pick: There is absolutely no way you are going to get me to sniff Cleveland in this game, not even if you give me 11 points. In
fact, Im not sure Im even going to drop what Im doing to watch
this game, period. If you must, the best bet could be the under since
the Browns have played well in previous Monday Night games and the
Ravens simply have to win this game. Take the under of 40.5, but only
if youre a complete degenerate gambler.