Week 4 of the 2012 NFL Season kicks off as the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns square off on Thursday Night Football.
The contest is set to get underway at 8:20 p.m. ET at M&T Bank Stadium. The game will be broadcast nationally on NFL Network. If you can’t get to a TV or don’t have the channel, you can watch a live stream online at nfl.com. The Web site will provide free live look-ins throughout the whole game.
It’s a matchup of one of the best teams in the league against, maybe, the worst team in the NFL.
Baltimore is 2-1, losing their only game by one point at Philadelphia. Cleveland is one of just two teams without a win through three weeks.
Not surprisingly, the Ravens are 12-point favorites at home. The Browns, however, have managed to remain competitive with their AFC North rivals in recent years. Cleveland has covered two 13-point spreads in Baltimore the last two seasons.
The Ravens will be playing their fourth game in 18 days. They beat the Patriots on a last second field goal this past Sunday night.
Joe Flacco leads an offense that is much improved from a year ago. Baltimore is second in the league at 32.7 points per contest and first in the AFC.
The quarterback’s play might be the biggest reason for the Ravens high scoring output. Flacco is second in the NFL with 913 passing yards.
The Browns don’t only have to worry about stopping Flacco. Ray Rice was very successful against them in 2011, rushing for 291 total yards in two games.
Cleveland drafted Trent Richardson with the third pick in the draft, who they hope becomes their version of Rice. The running back has had trouble adjusting to the pros, rushing for less than 40 yards in two of his three contests.
Brandon Weeden could have some trouble with the Ravens secondary. Ed reed and company will look to add to the rookie’s six interceptions.
The quarterback will be without two of his top targets. Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and tight end Alex Smith will be sidelined with injuries.
Prediction: On paper, this game shouldn’t be close. It’d be one of the biggest upsets of 2012 of the league’s worst team left Baltimore with a victory. However, the short turnaround will make it hard for the Ravens to dominate. It will be tough for the Browns to win, but they’ll likely be competitive for a lot of the second half.
Predicted Score: Baltimore 24, Cleveland 14