Cleveland (6-5) at Baltimore (7-3)
When: Sunday, November 28th 2021
Where: M&T Bank Stadium,
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Baltimore -5/48
In an odd scheduling quirk, the last-place Cleveland Browns have to play the Baltimore Ravens in back-to-back games starting this week on Sunday Night Football. The Browns do have a bye week coming up which is the only thing separating them and Baltimore for the next three weeks. The Ravens will have to play at Pittsburgh in Week 13 before visiting Cleveland the following week. Baltimore is hoping they finally have a healthy Lamar Jackson under center after his third sickness-related-absence kept him out of last week’s game against the Chicago Bears. The Ravens went on to win that game 16-13 behind backup Tyler Huntley and begin the week one-game ahead of second-place Cincinnati in the tight AFC North. It was a nice bounce-back win for the Ravens after an embarrassing 22-10 loss at Miami on a Thursday night.
The Browns have struggled since a strong start to the season and a banged-up Baker Mayfield has a lot to do with that. Mayfield continues to battle injuries to his left shoulder, knee and foot and his lack of production has been noticeable. He was intercepted twice and completed just over half his passes during last Sunday’s 13-10 win over the winless Detroit Lions. The Browns kept Mayfield out of Wednesday’s practice and will keep a close eye on him. Some fans are wanting Case Keenum to replace Mayfield. Baltimore has won the past three meetings, including a wild 47-42 victory last December on a Monday night. Mayfield passed for 343 yards in that contest but was horrible in a 38-6 loss at Baltimore in Week 1 of the 2020 season. The Ravens have covered each of the last three meetings after a three-game cover streak for the Browns. The under is 6-3 in the last nine meetings.
The Browns can only go as far as Mayfield can take them and right now, it’s not very far. The former Heisman Trophy winner was fantastic in a win at Cincinnati on Nov. 7 but has been awful the last two games. Luckily, Cleveland got a win last week because they got to play the lowly Lions. Mayfield completed just 15-of-29 for 176 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Mayfield’s high yardage output over the past five games is 234 and Cleveland has scored 14 or fewer points in four of those games. Nick Chubb returned from a one-game COVID absence and supplied most of the offense with 130 yards rushing and a touchdown receiving. Chubb’s sidekick Kareem Hunt could return from injured reserve and play this Sunday. Top wideout Jarvis Landry aggravated a knee injury vs. Detroit and is now questionable for Baltimore. Defensive end Myles Garrett leads the NFL with 13 sacks and the Browns have allowed an average of 12.3 points in their six victories. However, it has given up more than 30 points in four losses.
Jackson missed two practices last week with a non-COVID illness but returned on Friday. Thus, it was thought he would play Sunday in Chicago, but the team scratched him shortly before kickoff, sending sportsbooks and bettors into chaos. Jackson is 4-1 as a starter against the Browns, throwing 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown also sat with a thigh injury last week, but should return. He has 52 catches for 719 yards and six TDs. A late game-winning scoring drive by Huntley kept Baltimore in first place in the tightly packed AFC North. The Ravens play five of their final seven regular-season games against division opponents. While Jackson was a full practice participant on Wednesday, 10 Ravens sat out including defensive end Calais Campbell (concussion) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (neck).
Baltimore has not been playing well, but they are still better than a Cleveland team playing with a hurt quarterback. I would actually hesitate to play the Ravens if Keenum was under center for the Browns. The Ravens need a big game to gain back some confidence and I believe they get that here.
Pick: Ravens -3.5
Week 12 Staff Selections