Will Johnny Manziel play in Week 17 against the Ravens? Who knows, but either way we like Baltimore to scoot past Cleveland with relative ease to close out the regular season.
The Ravens are widely expected to bounce back in Week 17, with NFL odds makers pinning them as anywhere from 8.5- to 10-point favorites on the NFL betting lines board.
If you're more interested in making a total play, the number is at 42.5 right now, suggesting we should be in for a relatively low-scoring outcome. Hard to disagree after seeing both teams struggle so much offensively last weekend.
Despite probably the most disappionting showing of the season, the Ravens aren't out of the playoff picture just yet. They're tired with the Chargers for a Wild Cart spot, but San Diego holds the current edge based on head-to-head win percentage. What that means is the Ravens still have plenty to play for in the grand scheme of things, and they'll have the luxury of closing out the regular season at home against a Browns team that's hit a wall as of late.
But, let's get back to the horrible Week 16 loss first. With so much on the line, Baltimore laid a complete goose egg on the road against Houston, who by the way was starting third-string quarterback Case Keenum. Joe Flacco was terrible and the Ravens offense accounted for a grand total of 211 yards of offense. It was just a mess all around, with Baltimore turning the ball over three times and generally playing sloppily.
Looking ahead, it surely can't get any worse can it? We can only imagine how eager the Ravens will be to get back on the field in hopes of executing much more effectively. Coming in, Baltimore has gone 2-3 against divisional opponents, but they did manage to overcome the Browns in Cleveland back in Week 3.
Remember when the Browns were 7-4 and seemingly on their way to a surprise playoff berth? It seems like an eternity ago, as Cleveland has since lost four straight games to fall out of the postseason race.
Over the last month, the Browns have fallen to the Bills, Colts, Bengals and Panthers in that order. They came oh so close against both Indianapolis and Carolina, but were blown out in the other two defeats. The switch to Johnny Manziel at quarterback hasn't panned out at all, with the rookie QB getting completely embarassed in his first start and then injuring himself early in Week 16 against the Panthers.
Right now, Manziel is listed as questionable for Sunday's game, so that's going to be a situation we'll need to track throughout the week. Regardless of it's the rookie or Brian Hoyer or center, we have a hard time foreseeing good things for the Cleveland offense against a raring-to-go Baltimore defense. This is not a good spot at all for a Browns team that's been on the decline in a major way recently.
As bad as Baltimore looked last week, it's hard to imagine them falling at home to Cleveland. The Browns have looked poor recently and have nothing else to play for aside from pride, while the Ravens will be raring to redeem themselves, will be at home, and have a spot in the postseason still in their sights.
It remains to be seen who will start at QB for Cleveland, but it doesn't matter much in our eyes. Neither guy has been getting the job done, so the Ravens should be licking their chops here.
With your NFL picks for the final week of the regular season, don't hesitate to fire up Baltimore as a heavy favorite. Flacco and company should cover the large number in front of their own fans.
Free NFL Pick: Baltimore Ravens -8.5 at The Greek