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Browns vs. Ravens NFL Week 7 Preview and Prediction

A win could potentially put the Browns in first place; can they snap out of their losing streak?

NFL: DEC 12 Ravens at Browns Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7. Below, we analyze a few advantages, disadvantages, or general thoughts about the two teams before getting to our predictions for the game.


Game Analysis


Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Going Through the Injury List

  • You can't always look at injuries as a big component on gameday, but it's applicable on both sides this week.
  • Let's start with the Browns, where Wyatt Teller is out on offense. Hjalte Froholdt, a former fourth-round pick from the Texans, will make his first career start -- although he did play in most of last week's game as a reserve. It would be nice to see Chris Hubbard in there instead, but the veteran keeps landing on the inactive list and I guess is still recovering from injury.
  • On defense, cornerback Denzel Ward is still out with a concussion, meaning we'll see the trio of Greg Newsome, Greedy Williams, and Martin Emerson. It sounds like Jadeveon Clowney will return after missing another week last week. That will certainly help in the effort to contain Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
  • The Ravens' player to watch is Ronnie Stanley, their left tackle who was suddenly added to the injury report on Saturday with an illness. If Stanley can't play, Baltimore's depth on the line is respectable, but it would no doubt open up more opportunities for Myles Garrett to succeed.
  • JK Dobbins is going to need some surgery, so he'll be out too. Baltimore still tends to get production from any running back they throw out there. This year, it's been Kenyan Drake, even though he only has 31 carries. Lamar Jackson is still the Ravens' leading rusher, averaging 8.1 yards per rushing attempt.

New England Patriots v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Back to What Works

  • Last week, I included several things I wanted to see the Browns do to freshen things up against the Patroits. They did actually do some of those things, like running a jet sweep to a receiver.
  • This week, the Browns need to return to running with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt more; last week's run playcalls were so slow-developing that I don't know why head coach Kevei Stefanski didn't make the adjustments needed.
  • Baltimore's secondary is a bit shaky, so I'd expect Jacoby Brisset to try attacking twice downfield to see if he can surprise the Ravens.

New England Patriots v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Quick Hitters

  • Cade York was money against the Patriots last week, but will he take on that same challenge against Justin Tucker of the Raven?
  • I could see D'Ernest Johnson returning kickoffs, and Donovan Peoples-Jones handling punt returns.
  • According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns are 6.5 point underdogs against the Ravens.

Predictions

Here are predictions from multiple staff members at DBN.


Chris Pokorny: “The Browns' downward slump continues here with their fourth straight loss. We saw Jacoby Brissett be a bit of a liability last week, and that unraveling will trend toward continuing against Baltimore. The Ravens will gett off to a quick start, and the Browns just aren't built to rally under his watch.” Ravens 27, Browns 20


Barry Shuck: “I read that if the Browns win the next two games they will be in first place in the AFC North. I would make a great partner to Jennifer Aniston if she would just release that restraining order. The point is neither will happen. My opinion is that the Ravens are one of the four best clubs in the AFC and could meet either KC or Buffalo in the championship game. With the way the Browns’ defense has been playing and can’t stop the run, this won’t be pretty. The big question will be if Cleveland can keep Baltimore from scoring 50 or more points.” Ravens 48, Browns 20


Jared Mueller: “It is very hard to have any faith that the Cleveland Browns can stop QB Lamar Jackson, as we shared in a piece on Thursday. Outside of that, Baltimore is not a more talented team than the Browns but they are a more disciplined team that isn’t going to beat themselves. QB Jacoby Brissett has a bit of a bounce-back game while the Ravens defense gives the rushing attack some difficulty, especially without Wyatt Teller. In the end, an ugly game to watch that you have to assume Baltimore wins given what we’ve seen from Cleveland this season.” Ravens 20, Browns 17


Ezweav: “Even though the final score last week closely resembled my prediction, I was rather encouraged by how it all unfolded last week. In reading the reviews it’s as if people didn’t notice that it was a ball game until our guy muffed a punt, and then we gifted them two freebie touchdowns after that to make the final score more lopsided than the game actually was.

The really good news is that we’re not playing Bill Belichick this week. We’re playing a Ravens team which is good, but maybe not what they’ve been marketed as being coming into the year. Like they’ve got a legit problem holding leads and closing out games.

I know nobody wants to hear this but the Patriots are just a really bad matchup for us. Baltimore has been less so. We really should have swept them last year. This year our defense has undergone some serious challenges but then their offense has had something of an identity issue. Again I think it’s a much better matchup.

Thus it will be a much better result. Despite what everyone is expecting, the Good Guys will look like a pretty polished team this week and give the Ravens more problems than they can handle.” Browns 27, Ravens 16


Matt Wood: "The NFL is weird. Teams do things you don’t expect. Everyone is burying the Browns but I think they bounce back. They played Lamar tough last season, I think we see A LOT of JOK on Sunday after he took a bit of a backseat against NE.

On offense the Ravens are not good on the defensive side of the ball so far this season. I think Stefanski gets back to basics, keeps things simple for JB and runs the hell out of the ball.

Also, what the hell happened to Hunt and Chubb being on the field together like we saw earlier in the season? Bring that back please.

Browns keep it close and the Ravens continue to poo the bed in the 4th quarter as the good guys surprise the NFL with a 30-22 win." Browns 30, Ravens 22


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

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.