Cleveland Browns (0-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-0)
NFL Football: Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 1:00 pm (M&T Bank Stadium)
The Line: Baltimore Ravens -7.5 -- Over/Under: 48 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Cleveland Browns visit the Baltimore Ravens in week 1 NFL action in an AFC North division matchup from M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Cleveland Browns come into the 2020 season looking to sake off another year of disappointment for the Dawg Pound, finishing the year with a record of 6-10 and missing the playoffs for the 17th straight year, making the playoffs just once back in 2002 since being reborn as the Browns in the 1999 season. The changes started at the top as Andrew Berry was brought in as GM and Kevin Stefanski came in to replace the fired Freddie Kitchens, who only served one year as the coach of the Browns. Alex Van Pelt was also brought in to serve as the offensive coordinator for Cleveland. Baker Mayfield is back at QB, but has to be better after throwing for 3,827 yards on 59.4% passing last year with 22 touchdowns to 21 interceptions. The Browns do have a solid backfield with Nick Chubb leading the way after posting just under 1,500 rushing yards with 8 TDs and Kareem Hunt behind him. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry lead the Browns’ receiving group as a pair of 1,000 yard receivers from last year while Austin Hooper was brought in to fill the need at tight end for Cleveland. Add in Jedrick Wills selected in the draft and the Browns seem to be set on the offensive end for this year. Defensively, new defensive coordinator Joe Woods inherits a talented line that features Myles Garrett who can be a defensive player of the year if he stays on the field. Woods will hope that the trio of Garrett, Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson can all take the field at the same time to make an impact for Cleveland’s defense. Denzel Ward leads the Browns’ secondary and Greedy Williams will hope to have a significantly healthier second year at the other corner. Only time will tell if the Browns can finally live up to the expectations that seem to be high every year.
The Baltimore Ravens come into the 2020 campaign looking to shake off a frustrating finish to the 2019 season that saw Baltimore finish with a league-best 14-2 record, but the bye week didn’t do the Ravens much good as Baltimore was bounced in the divisional round by the Tennessee Titans. Head coach John Harbaugh gets pretty much the entire starting offense back, including reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson after throwing for 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while also leading the Ravens in rushing with 1,206 yards on the ground, which set the NFL record for single-season rushing yards by a QB. along with 7 touchdowns. Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards are back in the backfield for Baltimore, but the Ravens also have J.K. Dobbins waiting for his turn after being selected in the second round of the draft out of Ohio State. Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle are also back as the Ravens’ tight end tandem after Andrews posted team-highs of 64 receptions, 852 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Defensively, the Ravens needed a bigger push from the pass rush, and to fix that they brought in Calais Campbell via trade while also bringing in Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington via the draft. Speaking of the draft, Baltimore used their first pick to select Patrick Queen out of LSU to bolster the linebacking group as is the case with Malik Harrison, a third-round pick from Ohio State. The Ravens cut ties with Earl Thomas after an altercation at practice, but Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey are also around to anchor the secondary. The season looks promising for Baltimore once again as Jackson looks like another successful season is in store and the Ravens appear to be the front-runners for a 3rd straight AFC North title.
Cleveland is 9-19-1 ATS in their last 29 games within the division and 0-6 ATS in their last 6 road games while the under is 8-2 in their last 10 games as an underdog. Baltimore is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 week 1 matchups while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 games as a favorite. Cleveland is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these two teams in Baltimore.
These two teams have been known to play lower-scoring games which tends to be the M.O. of division games in the AFC North. However, the Browns have got to start living up to the hype that the talent on their roster would suggest is there and I think they’ll want to start the season with their best foot forward. The problem is that the Ravens can go shot for shot on offense and This is going to be a high-scoring game if the two offenses show up. I’ll side with the over as my free pick for this game but my stronger play is on the side and I have that available as a premium pick that you can find here.