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The first two Thursday night NFL games this season have been lopsided (each decided by at least 13 points) and this week’s looks no different as Baltimore should easily handle Cleveland, arguably the worst team in the NFL. The Ravens have won eight straight in this series and have won 12 consecutive games at home, the longest current home win streak in the NFL.
The Browns are one of two winless teams remaining (New Orleans), falling to 0-3 with a 24-14 home loss Sunday to Buffalo. It was Cleveland’s ninth straight loss dating to last season. The Browns were again plagued by costly penalties, dropped passes and an inability to stop the run. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden went 27 of 43 for 237 yards and a TD pass to fellow rookie Travis Benjamin. However, he was intercepted twice in the final 4:21 as he tried to rally the Browns. Buffalo’s defense limited Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson to just 27 yards on 12 carries. Richardson’s longest gain was his 6-yard TD run in the second quarter.
The Browns lost starting receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (nine catches, 145 yards) to a hamstring injury in Sunday’s game. He’s iffy for Thursday.
Baltimore won a thriller over New England on Sunday night, 31-30, on rookie Justin Tucker’s 27-yard field goal as time expired. After losing his brother earlier on Sunday, WR Torrey Smith had six receptions for 127 yards with two scores. Joe Flacco threw for 382 yards on 28-of-39 efficiency with three touchdowns and an interception, while Ray Rice carried the ball 20 times for 101 yards and a score for Baltimore.
The NFL added Thursday night games to the schedule back in 2006 and the Ravens are 2-2 in those contests, including 1-1 in the John Harbaugh era. Baltimore played one Thursday night game last season, beating Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers, 16-6, on Thanksgiving.
WAGERWEB.COM ODDS: Ravens -13 (43.5)
BROWNS NOTES: : WEEDEN passed for 322 yards with 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs & 114.9 passer rating in 1st career AFC North road game (vs. Cin.). Completed at least 1 pass to 9 different players last week … Rookie RB Trent Richardson aims for 3rd consecutive game with rush TD. Richardson leads AFC rookies with 175 rush yards. Has team-high 11 catches … WR Greg Little has 2 TD catches in past 3 road games. Rookie WR Travis Benjamin recorded 1st TD catch of career last week … TE Jordan Cameron had career-best in catches (5) & yards (45) last week … Defense has 9 sacks in ’12, tied for 2nd-most in AFC … Browns lead AFC with 5 INTs this season … S T.J. WARD leads team with 24 tackles … KR-WR Joshua Cribbs had 84-yard PR-TD in last game at Baltimore.
RAVENS NOTES: Ravens are 10-3 (.769) at home vs. Browns, incl. 4 consecutive wins … QB Joe Flacco is 8-0 vs. Browns & has 10 TDs vs. 4 INTs & 94.4 passer rating. Ravens are 25-2 (.926) when he has 100+ rating. For career, Flacco has 29-5 (.853) record at home … In past 5 vs. Browns, RB Ray Rice is averaging 110.4 rush yards per game (552). Rushed for career-best 204 yards vs. Cle. on 12/4/11. Ravens are 12-2 (.857) when Rice has 100+ rush yards in game … WR Torrey Smith tied career-high in catches (6) & posted 3rd 100-yard rec. game of career last week (152, 165, 127). WR Anquan Boldin tied career-best with 3 TD receptions vs. Browns on 9/26/10. WR Jacoby Jones is averaging 21.9 yards per catch in ’12 (7 rec., 153 yards) … TE Dennis Pitta ranks 1st in AFC & 2nd in NFL among TEs with 18 catches … LB Dannell Ellerbe has 2.5 sacks in past 2 games … S Ed Reed has 10 career INTs vs. Browns, tied for most against any opponent (10 vs. Cin.) … DT Pernell McPhee had career-best 2 sacks vs. Cle. on 12/4/11…CB Lardarius Webb has 2 INTs in past 3 vs. Browns.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Browns are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 road games. Browns are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game. Browns are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. AFC North. Ravens are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. AFC North. Ravens are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games. Ravens are 1-6 ATS vs. a team with a losing record. Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings. Browns are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 meetings. Road team is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings.