The Cleveland Browns will be looking to avoid moving one step closer to a dubious league record when they visit the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. The Browns not only are attempting to avoid matching the worst start in franchise history, but also end the chances of joining the Detroit Lions as the only team to finish 0-16.
“We’re not going to go 0-16. That’s for a fact,” Cleveland linebacker Chris Kirksey said following Sunday’s 35-10 home drubbing by Dallas. “We’re not going to be winless”. One of the reasons the Browns are in this predicament is a 25-20 loss to Baltimore in Week 2, when they blew a 20-2 first-quarter lead. The Ravens were mired in a slide of their own heading into their bye, but snapped a four-game skid with a 21-14 win over visiting Pittsburgh on Sunday. That victory moved Baltimore back to the .500 mark and, more importantly, into a tie with the Steelers atop the AFC North.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: The Baltimore Ravens opened as big 10.5-point home favorite over the winless Cleveland Browns and by Wednesday night that number was down to -10. The total opened at 45.5 and came down slightly to 45. View the complete line history here.
WEATHER: Conditions are expected to be clear with temperatures at around 50 degrees at kickoff. It’s not expected to rain (POP 1-2 percent) and winds will be light (5 mph) and not a factor on the field.
Browns – WR R. Louis (probable, hamstring), OL J. Thomas (probable, knee), DL J. Meder (probable, knee), DL C. Nassib (probable, eye), QB C. Kessler (probable, leg), WR T. Pryor Sr. (probable, hamstring), LB N. Orchard (questionable, ankle), DB J. Haden (questionable, groin), DB J. Taylor (out, groin), WR J. Gordon (out indefinitely, suspension), QB R. Griffin III (questionable, shoulder).
Ravens – RB K. Dixon (probable, chest), CB S. Wright (questionable, hamstring), TE C. Gilmore (questionable, thigh), LB K. Correa (questionable, thigh), G M. Yanda (doubtful, shoulder), LB E. Dumervil (out indefinitely, foot).
ABOUT THE BROWNS (0-9 SU, 2-7 ATS, 6-3 O/U): Cleveland has had a revolving door at quarterback, losing starter Robert Griffin III in the season opener and watching Josh McCown suffer a broken collarbone against the Ravens. While McCown returned to the lineup in a narrow loss to the New York Jets in Week 8, coach Hue Jackson went back to Cody Kessler on Sunday and will stick with the rookie Thursday despite a nondescript effort against the Cowboys. The Browns managed only 45 yards rushing versus Dallas, including four on six carries by Isaiah Crowell, who ran for a season-high 133 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. The Browns are yielding 421.7 yards and 30.3 points per game, each ranking 31st in the league.
ABOUT THE RAVENS (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS, 3-4-1 O/U): Baltimore’s defense came up big in the win over bitter rival Pittsburgh, holding the Steelers to 277 total yards and 36 on the ground to build a 21-0 lead in the third quarter. There remain plenty of concerns over the offense, which produced one touchdown — a 95-yard scoring pass to wideout Mike Wallace — and also labored on the ground, rushing for 50 yards on 29 carries. Baltimore ranks 28th in the league with 81.8 yards rushing per game and is averaging 2.2 yards per carry over the past three contests — a full two yards less than in the first five games. Quarterback Joe Flacco has more interceptions (seven) than TD passes (six) and a paltry 76.0 passer rating.
The Cleveland Brown do not have a cheerleading squad, so the Baltimore Ravens go unopposed in this battle.
* Browns are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 vs. AFC North.
* Ravens are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
* Over is 6-0 in Browns last 6 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
* Under is 4-1 in Ravens last 5 home games.
* Road team is 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The bettors are backing the Browns with 63 percent of the wagers on the road underdogs. As for the total, 51 percent of bettors are taking the Over. View full consensus data here.
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