Ravens vs. Browns Monday Pick and Betting Preview

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Degenerate gambler, this Monday night game is all for you! The Week 10 Monday Night Football game features the 4-4 Baltimore Ravens traveling to Cleveland to play the 1-7 Browns for the second time this season. The first meeting had Baltimore winning in blowout fashion, 34-3, and I see little that would change that for this go-around. The excitement level for this game could not be any lower. The local markets in Cleveland have even shown their excitement or rather disgust for the Browns by doing their part in helping make a TV blackout happen. The casual fan indifference in the game is often the sports bettors “lock of the week.” As it so happens, I will be putting my lock on this game with Baltimore covering the -11 point spread.

This game is not so much about what Baltimore does well in any of the three phases of football; it is more about what Cleveland does not do well. Because Cleveland is so bad, in so many facets of the game, every team they go up against often has the ability to look like Super Bowl contenders on any given night. Then there is the Brady Quinn factor. He remerges as the starter after Derek Anderson lead the club to a 1-4 record during his 5 games as a starter. Quinn’s influence on the game will be critical to bettors who back the Ravens.

Teams have proven to be able to move the ball against Cleveland’s defense with very little resistance. At home or on the road, Cleveland does not discriminate on location, they are bad everywhere. Opponents are averaging 409 yards per game, good for last in the league. They give up almost 20 yards per game more than their nearest rival in Tennessee and as improbable as it may be, Cleveland is actually getting worse. The last 3 opponents they played; Pittsburgh, Green Bay, and Chicago have averaged almost 487 yards total yards. The amount of yards given up on a week to week basis by Cleveland’s defenses, easily translates to plenty of scoring opportunities for opponents. Teams are averaging 26.1 points per game against their defense, 28th in the league. At home, Cleveland is actually significantly worse than on the road, giving up 30.1 points per game. 6 times this year, Cleveland has allowed at least 27 points in a game. 28th in points allowed does not seem so terrible when you consider that teams average 69 plays a game which ranks 31st in the league. Thus, allowing teams to control the ball for a little over 56% of the time, ranked 30th in the league.

On the flip side, Cleveland’s offense is just as dreadful. Independent of whether it is Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn leading the team, the offense still ranks last or near last in both passing and rushing. The Cleveland passing attack ranks dead last in passing with 121 yards per game. That number combines both Anderson and Quinn. Looking just at Quinn, the team is averaging 136 yards per game which ranks 31st in the league if extrapolated across a full 8 games. Each attempt is averaging a meager 4.2 yards, again, good for last in the league.

The rushing offense fairs only slightly better when compared to the passing game. Cleveland crawls out of the cellar with their rushing offense ranking 22nd in the league in total rushing yards per game. However over the last 3 games, that 22nd in the league rushing offense, has dropped to just over 88 yards per game further reinforcing a team in steady decline in every phase of the game. The end result of a team that cannot run and cannot pass is a team that cannot score. Ranking 31st in the league, Cleveland is scoring only 9.8 points per game. The only team preventing them from reaching the bottom is the St. Louis Rams, averaging 9.6 points a game. Cleveland also ranks 31st in touchdown scores per game at .9 per game with Oakland being the only team standing in their way of reaching the bottom. Looking at the quarterbacks, it is hard to find one that is more at fault than the other when points score is concerned. Since, Quinn is getting the nod this week, in 2 of his 3 games as a starter; the team scored less than 6 points twice. So Quinn is certainly not without considerable blame for the lack of offensive production.

The preview is all about what the Cleveland Browns can and cannot do with respect to their offense and defense with zero mention of their opponent, the Baltimore Ravens. The reason being, as stated earlier, is that Cleveland will make any opponent look very, very good. The Ravens currently rank 9th in points scored and 10th in total offensive yards per game for the 2009 season. On the defensive side, they are ranked 9th in points allowed, giving up 19 points per game and 13th in yards allowed per game. Their stats are indicative of a team that should be better than .500 especially with Joe Flacco slowly emerging as one of the league’s top quarterbacks. The 12 touchdowns to 7 interceptions are good for a quarterback rating of over 90 this year. Expect Flacco to duplicate his week 3 performance in which he had a season high 111.8 QB rating against these same Browns.

Monday Night Football Pick: This game will not be close, it will not be competitive at any point, and we will probably see Derek Anderson come back in at some point during the game. Cleveland stands no chance of keeping this game within the 11 points; take the Ravens at-11.

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