NFL 2017 Week 15: Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns preview and prediction

The Ravens look to get back to winning ways this week, while the Browns are still looking to just win once


The Ravens went to Pittsburgh last week and lost a close one 39-38. Joe Flacco found some form at last and threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, while Alex Collins continued his strong season with 120 yards and a score on 18 carries. The Ravens defense struggled for once though, with Jimmy Smith sidelined they gave up 506 yards to Ben Roethlisberger including 213 yards to Antonio Brown. The loss ended their hopes at the AFC North title.

The Browns took on Green Bay last week and looked good to finally end their winless ways, only to come crashing down to earth and fall 27-21 in overtime. DeShone Kizer tossed three touchdowns and the defense played well to give them a 21-7 lead with just under 18 minutes left, but the Packers came roaring back to force overtime. Kizer got the ball but threw a terrible interception, giving the Packers the ball back on the Cleveland 42. Davante Adams broke free to score the winning points and it was yet another loss for the Browns.

Back to winning ways

Despite losing to the Steelers last week the Ravens are still in prime position to secure a playoff spot, that is if they can bounce back this week. Cleveland are desperate to avoid an 0-16 season and are running out of chances. Throwing a wrench in Baltimore’s season will go a long way to putting a smile on the faces of  the Cleveland faithful that have stuck by the team all this time.

Strength vs strength

You might think that, at 0-13, every part of the Cleveland Browns is failing horribly but you would be wrong. Their run defense has been very, very good this season. They rank #1 in run defense DVOA, they are fifth in yards per game (96.0), and first in yards per carry (3.3).

They will be going against the best part of the Ravens offense this week, which is running back Alex Collins. Despite an injured line in front of him and everyone knowing he is coming at them, Collins is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, the most of any back with over 150 carries. The battle will be fierce.

Josh Gordon

The man has been away from football for three years but he is back now, and is still a beast. In his two games back on the field he has caught seven passes for 154 yards and a score. He gives the Browns a game-winning threat on the outside that DeShone Kizer might actually be able to hit regularly.

Matchup to Watch: Myles Garrett vs Ronnie Stanley

Garrett has been very good this year, crushing almost anything that comes his way. Staley has battled injuries a lot of the year but is finally off the injury report and ready to assert himself as among the league’s best left tackle. This should be a great battle between two of the league’s young studs.

Fantasy Tip: Browns WR Josh Gordon

There is a chance that without Jimmy Smith on the field and with the Browns down that Kizer just started chucking it up to Gordon and he goes off. If you need a boom or bust player this week then Gordon is your guy.

Betting Tip: Ravens (-7)

It’s a Sunday, which means Cleveland lose. It’s a line, which means Cleveland doesn’t cover. The Browns are 3-10 against the spread this season, Baltimore are 7-5-1. Go with the Ravens.

Prediction: Ravens 26 – 13 Browns

A comfortable win. The Ravens front seven will snuff out much of the Ravens threat early on and Flacco seems to be finding some form as the season wraps up. If he and Collins get going at the same time then the Ravens will be a threat to beat anyone, nevermind the league’s worst team.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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