The Ravens started the season 5-1 before losing four of the next five games. They won last week against Dallas, on Tuesday, after losing to Pittsburgh on the previous Wednesday – the Ravens have been forced to play all over the schedule because of Covid-19 – and, with a 7-5 record, they still have some hope for a postseason push but they could really use a win in Week 14 to set them on the right course.
What makes it more challenging for the Ravens is that these aren’t the same old Cleveland Browns. This Browns team has won four straight games and has won nine games, securing a winning record for the first time since 2007.
Two winning teams with playoff aspirations playing in prime time.
Here are some angles to consider for Monday’s NFL action on Monkey Knife Fight.
The Cleveland quarterback may have quieted some critics last week, passing for a season-high 334 yards and four touchdowns at Tennessee but consistency has not been his strong suit this season. Mayfield is averaging a modest 203.5 passing yards per game and has passed for more than 225 yards four times this season, though that is partly because the Browns’ ground game is so effective. In any case, he faces a Ravens defense that has given up 226.1 passing yards per game, but just 5.6 net yards per pass attempt, the latter of which ranks third in the league. Mayfield passed for 189 yards against the Ravens in Week 1 and Baltimore has allowed seven quarterbacks to pass for more than 225 yards in the 11 games since.
Lamar Jackson LESS THAN 199.5 PASSING YARDS
Prolific passing has not been a part of Jackson’s game this season. He has thrown for 200 yards or more only four times on his way to averaging 186.8 passing yards per contest. Cleveland’s pass defense is a little more suspect, allowing 256.9 passing yards per game and 6.4 net yards per attempt and they have held three quarterbacks to less than 200 passing yards in a game this season and Jackson did pass for 275 yards against the Browns in Week 1. If the Ravens have a lead they may not need to throw it but if they are chasing, that might force Jackson to the air. Does he have the receiving corps to take advantage of Cleveland’s mediocre pass defense?
Nick Chubb MORE THAN 81.5 RUSHING YARDS
The question isn’t so much whether it’s possible to run for more than 81 yards against the Ravens but whether the Browns’ allocation of carries is ideal for Chubb to reach that goal. Chubb has rushed for more than 100 yards in five of his eight games, averaging 99.9 yards per contest at a robust clip of 6.0 yards per carry. But only three individual running backs have run for more than 81 yards against Baltimore this season and Chubb gained 60 yards on just 10 carries against the Ravens in Week 1.
Marquise Brown MORE THAN 12.5 FANTASY POINTS
Hollywood has scored touchdowns in back-to-back games but he has only scored more than 12.5 PPR fantasy points in five games this season. However, it’s been commonplace for the Browns to surrender this many fantasy points to a wide receiver; it has happened 18 times against Cleveland already this year and Brown is as good a bet as any to do it for the Ravens in Week 14.
Jarvis Landry -0.5 receptions vs. Willie Snead
Landy has emerged as a primary target for the Browns, with eight catches in back-to-back games the past two weeks, while Snead has not had more than five receptions in a game since midway through the 2018 season.
Mark Andrews -0.5 receptions vs. Rashard Higgins
Higgins did tie his season high with six catches last week but is still averaging a modest 2.5 receptions per game this season. Andrews has been underwhelming in his own right but is still averaging 3.8 catches per game and he’s already one of seven tight ends to put up at least five catches in a game against the Browns this season.
Scott is a sportswriter with a focus on analytics, rankings, fantasy. Even though he’s Canadian, his interests and analysis extend a wee bit beyond hockey and maple syrup. Eh?