The Cleveland Browns still haven’t won a game in the 2016 NFL season, and they might very well go the entire year without getting a single victory. After losing their first nine games, it’s hard to imagine Cleveland will finally get in the win column when they visit the Baltimore Ravens on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 10.
Cleveland is coming off a 35-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that dropped them to 0-9, and Baltimore defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a touchdown on Sunday. The victory put the Ravens atop the AFC North with a 4-4 record, and they should stay in first place for at least another week.
Baltimore is a 10-point favorite at Las Vegas and online sportsbooks, via OddsShark. While the Browns haven’t been able to defeat anyone, they have played a few teams competitively, and they might avoid a blowout on Thursday night.
The Browns were defeated soundly by the Cowboys, New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals. Cleveland, however, suffered single-digit losses against the New York Jets, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins, none of whom have winning records. Baltimore isn’t among the NFL’s best teams, and it might be hard for them to defeat anyone by two scores.
All four of the Ravens’ victories have come against teams without a winning record, and they weren’t dominant in any of those wins. Sunday’s 21-14 win gave Baltimore their biggest margin of victory in 2016, and they were nearly defeated by Cleveland earlier in the season.
Cleveland had a 20-0 lead against Baltimore in their Week 2 matchup, only to fall 25-20 to their division rivals. The Browns failed to score after the first quarter, and they were stopped on their final drive as they failed to pull off the upset. It was indicative of many recent contests between the Ravens and Browns, most of which were close but ended in Baltimore’s favor.
The Ravens have defeated the Browns in 11 of their last 13 matchups. Only one of those victories has come by more than 10 points. Baltimore has defeated Cleveland by more than one score in just one of their last seven meetings, and the Ravens' offense could make it difficult for them to truly dominate the Browns in their upcoming contest.
Only five teams average fewer yards per game than Baltimore, and they rank 25th with 19.3 points per contest. Joe Flacco is having maybe his worst season in the NFL with a 76.0 passer rating, and he hasn’t posted a passer rating better than 83.7 since the season opener. That includes three games against teams that rank in the bottom 10 in total defense, and the quarterback might not much better against the Browns, even as he faces Cleveland’s 31st ranked defense.
Josh McCown started at quarterback in Cleveland’s Week 2 loss to Baltimore, and they appeared to have made an upgrade at the position since then. Cody Kessler is winless as the Browns’ signal caller, but he’s put up good numbers, posting a 96.1 passer rating with five touchdowns and one interception.
Cleveland has played multiple close games against bad teams that have ended in losses, and Thursday shouldn't be any different. The Ravens have the edge at home, and the upcoming matchup could be a tight contest that finishes below the over/under of 45.
Prediction: Baltimore over Cleveland, 23-17