In what has become one of the more intriguing games of the season just because of the sheer chaos of it, the Ravens and Browns will meet in one of more puzzling games of NFL week 12.
The Good, The Bad, I Don’t Know.
What’s great and terrible about this game is that there is a lot you don’t know. For starters, the Ravens lost Joe Flacco & Justin Forsett for the season last week, and even though it just made the Ravens go from bad to worse, it also makes them almost difficult to predict coming into the Monday night game. However, they have played bad defense on the road this season, but that’s about all you can predict out of them this week.
It gets even weirder with the Browns however, because with the ongoing saga surrounding the latest Johnny Manziel party video, there are rumors that he might be losing this golden opportunity before it even gets going. If Manziel is pulled as the starter this week, it changes everything about this game, including our play. For the Ravens we know that Matt Schaub will be inserted into the starting role and even though he hasn’t been a starter in a few years, he is still a very capable quarterback and probably one of the higher end backups in the league. However, for the Browns, if Josh McCown were to start this week, a speculative add of the Browns -2 ½ might be the NFL pick of the week.
The Sharp Pick
In the past, the Ravens have dominated this SU matchup, as they’ve won all but two of the last 15 meetings. However, the Browns have actually been the better play ATS, as they have covered in three of the last four games. With the uncertainty of the Ravens offensive, which has lost their quarterback and top two skill players this season, it almost doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback for the Browns. However, if somehow Manziel gets benched, the Browns are going to be the play here.
In six games this season, McCown had a touchdown to interception ratio of nearly 3/1, and the offensive seemed to flow better with a true pocket passer. With Manziel the offense is too much improvisation, and it seems like the team doesn’t respond as well. While this could be for a number of reasons, coaching included, the results have been there for McCown.
Watch this situation closely throughout the week, and if it seems like Mike Pettine might pull the plug on Manziel as the starter, I would jump in on the Browns -2 ½ before their NFL odds go up a full point or more. If you take out the Browns’ dud game against the Rams’ tough defense earlier in the season, Cleveland is averaging nearly 25 points per game with McCown under center. Keep an eye on the news wire throughout the week in this saga and trash heap of a Monday Night Football game.
NFL Pick: Browns -2 ½ (-115) at The Greek