clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Browns vs. Ravens: NFL Week 15 Preview and Prediction

New, comments

Will the Browns finish the season winless at home?

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the Cleveland Browns take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15 of the NFL regular season. Our position-by-position evaluation and game prediction are below.


Position-by-Position Evaluation


Quarterback

  • Last year, Joe Flacco averaged 270 yards passing per game. This year, he’s down to a stunning 186 yards passing per game. Mediocrity best describes what Flacco has done for the Ravens — 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but he still get the advantage here because of the late-game mistakes that DeShone Kizer continues to make.
  • Kizer is coming off his best performance, but his game against the Ravens in Week 2 wasn’t a memorable one. He left and then returned due to a migraine, but threw three interceptions. At least now, he faces a secondary without Jimmy Smith.

Running Back

  • Alex Collins has been the Ravens' top running back in a three-man rotation. Last week against Pittsburgh, he had 18 carries for 120 yards and 1 touchdown. His biggest issue has been ball security, and he fumbled against the Browns in Week 2.
  • The Ravens’ other backs are Javorius Allen and Danny Woodhead. Woodhead recently returned and will no doubt be a factor in the passing game. Allen gets about 7-8 touches per game, so all three backs are involved in the gameplan.
  • The watch is on for Isaiah Crowell. We’ve wanted to see him get to 1,000 yards in at least one season with the Browns, and he can do it by averaging nearly 100 yards per game to close out the season. Duke Johnson’s been hit in the backfield too early the past two weeks, when he’s run 13 times for 10 yards.

Wide Receiver / Tight End

  • Josh Gordon is up to 154 yards receiving in two games, but I'm greedy and am looking for that 200-yard type of performance we know he can bring. Last week, Antonio Brown torched the Ravens' secondary for 213 yards.
  • Ricardo Louis has the most yards (322) of Browns receivers, but has 0 catches over his last 3 games. He’s not a factor with Corey Coleman starting alongside Gordon and Rashard Higgins in the slot.
  • The Ravens’ secondary usually isn’t bad, but last week, tight end Jesse James of the Steelers caught 10 passes for 97 yards. David Njoku needs to show hunger for making amends for last week’s key third down drop that allowed the Packers to get the ball back.
  • Jeremy Maclin has just 39 catches for 418 yards and 3 touchdowns on the year. Mike Wallace has been a bigger-play threat with 37 catches for 559 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Ben Watson killed the Browns earlier this year for 8 catches for 91 yards, but he's been a 30-yard type of receiver in all other games.

Offensive Line

  • The Ravens’ starting offensive line features LT Ronnie Stanley, LG James Hurst, C Ryan Jensen, RG Matt Skura, and RT Austin Howard. The person missing from the group is Marshal Yanda, who suffered a season-ending injury the last time these two teams met. Stanley is the most solid player of the bunch, and the group has come together better than expected as the season has progressed. Our Ravens affiliate recently reviewed how each starter is going.
  • Terrell Suggs has been in the league forever, but this is the first time he’ll be facing the Browns and not going up against Joe Thomas. Spencer Drango draws the tough assignment, and remember that Suggs was the one guy who recently had a leg up on Thomas in some games. Cleveland gets the advantage for the above average play they have at the guard positions.

Defensive Line

  • The Ravens run a 3-4 defense featuring DT Brandon Williams, NT Michael Pierce, and DE Carl Davis. Williams and Pierce combine for a solid interior run defending group, but Davis has been the surprise in a more limited role, also playing tough against the run. It’ll be interesting to see how the Browns’ improved play at guard opposes this unit.
  • The Browns will have Danny Shelton back in the lineup this week. We know that he, Larry Ogunjobi, and others are playing the run well, but it’s the pass rush that the team still seeks. Myles Garrett is getting some pressure, but not the game-changing play yet. With Emmanuel Ogbah out, no one has been able to match the production he was having.

Linebacker

  • The Ravens' starting linebackers are LB Terrell Suggs, MLB C.J. Mosley, WLB Patrick Onwuasor, and SLB Matthew Judon. Suggs has 11 sacks on the season, including 6.5 sacks over his last 5 games, and Judon has added 6 sacks. Mosley leads the team with 115 tackles and also has 3 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions.
  • The Browns have two linebackers who are among the only defenders to not miss a snap this season — but Gregg Williams defense has them not making plays in pass defense all season.

Secondary

  • The Ravens’ cornerback situation will be searching for answers this week. They had a very strong unit, but now Jimmy Smith is done for the year and the Steelers passed for over 500 yards against them last week. Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey are the starters now, with Maurice Canady coming in for nickel sets.
  • Safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson are still a strength in the Ravens’ secondary. Weddle has 5 interceptions on the season, including 1 on Kizer back in Week 2.
  • The Browns are hurting at the cornerback position. Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Jamar Taylor could both be out, forcing Mike Davis in as a starter and someone else into nickel situations. Perhaps somewhat fortunately, the Ravens don’t run many three-receiver sets, so Cleveland might not have to dig down the depth chart for more than 33% of the game.

Special Teams

  • Justin Tucker is the Ravens' kicker. He's connected on 27-of-30 field goals (90%) and 31-of-31 (100%) on extra points. Tucker is money on long distance kicks, too. Last year, he was 10-of-10 from 50+ yards, and this year he's 5-of-7. He has the clear advantage over rookie Zane Gonzalez.
  • Sam Koch is the Ravens' punter. He averages 45.6 yards per punt and a 41.3 net average. Britton Colquitt's average remains good (48.5), but his net average took another hit after the team’s late-game botched punt coverage against the Packers.
  • WR Chris Moore returns kickoffs for the Ravens and WR Michael Campanaro returns punts. On punt returns, Campanaro averages 13.1 yards per return and has a 77-yard score this year. The Browns will have to decide whether to use Jabrill Peppers on punts this week, or stick with Duke Johnson. My bet is they stick with Johnson.

Predictions

Here are predictions from multiple staff members at DBN.


Chris Pokorny: “The Browns definitely have the ability to capitalize on the Ravens’ defensive woes in the secondary, especially if Kizer can form a good chemistry with Gordon and keep going at him. But this game means a lot to the Ravens, and I like Suggs to get the better of Drango and the Ravens’ safeties to force Kizer into some mistakes. It’s depressing to see how much Cleveland lacks the ability to finish games.” Ravens 26, Browns 14.


Matt Wood: “I think this team quits. You have a coach and a GM shit on you in the media I don't expect a lot of fight. Ravens gets out early, Gordon has some splash plays and the bottom falls out.” Ravens 37, Browns 10.


Mike Hoag: “My friend from Northern California sent me a text as the Browns entered the 4th quarter with a 21-7 lead over the Green Bay Packers in Week 14: "Looks like you guys finally got one!" I didn't say it, how could I tell him I fully expected the team to blow that type of lead? Instead, I told him "we'll see," although the doubt induced by years--decades now, really--worth of Browns losing in "Brownsian" ways had me thinking the worst was on the horizon. They lost, unsurprisingly to any still reading this, and it didn't even phase me. I felt absolutely nothing. And I feel nothing right now as the Browns prepare to host the Baltimore Ravens, a team that should have never left Cleveland. I digress.

I see no possible way the Browns beat the Ravens in Week 15. None.” Ravens 35, Browns 17.


Andrea Hangst: “I would like to echo Mike's sentiments only it wasn't a friend in another state but rather my significant other who believed last week's game would conclude with a Browns win. And when it didn't, I too felt nothing. The Ravens are in the playoff hunt, while the Browns are being derailed from within thanks to the under-the-bus actions Jackson and Dorsey have taken against the roster. I chopped off part of my finger this week, so I'll keep it short: This week, the Browns do not win.” Ravens 21, Browns 7.


Robo Dawg: “Browns inexplicably come out playing as if they have a chip on their shoulder. Kizer plays lights out, intending to show the world his potential. Garrett plays like his hair is on fire, and Crowell took ballet last week to avoid tripping over his shoe laces. Baltimore comes out flat, looking two weeks ahead completely buying into the lolBrownz narrative. After the win, Dorsey boasts how a “football” GM is already paying it’s dividends and Hue Jackson speaks of himself in the 3rd person twice in the post game presser. The next Joe Thomas show interviews David Njoku and asks if he’s a football player.” Browns 28, Ravens 13.


Ezweav: “Hard not to agree on the team quitting. Don't know, but have absolutely no hope for this one.” Ravens 31, Browns 14.


Joshua Finney: “Browns finally give up on Hue, on the field.” Ravens 35, Browns 10.


rufio: “Browns somehow win. I can't concieve of how, but I said I would pick them to win every game until they won one, so here we are.” Browns 28, Ravens 27.


notthatnoise: “The Ravens are in the thick of the playoff race, and coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Steelers. They will come to play this weekend, but they will end up trying to force things and somehow the Browns will stay in the game until the second half, when a big play to Josh Gordon puts them up for good.” Browns 11, Ravens 5.


Who do you think will win, Browns fans? Let us know in the comments section below.

Poll

Who do you think will win, Browns or Ravens?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Browns
    (176 votes)
  • 65%
    Ravens
    (338 votes)
514 votes total Vote Now