The week 9 schedule sends the Ravens to the Dogpound for what could be a pivotal game in the AFC North:
-if the Ravens win, they keep the #6 seed in the AFC playoff standings
-if the Ravens win and the Steelers lose to the Redskins, the Ravens move into a tie for first in the AFC North (although the Steelers own the tie-breaker).
-if the Browns win, they move into a tie with the Ravens.
The Ravens will likely be without Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle, and Dawan Landry is already listed as out for the game. The Browns passing attack has shown sparks at times and has looked much better since the Ravens pummeled the Browns back in week 3. And I’m not sold on Frank Walker being able to cover Braylon Edwards.
Unless the Ravens can pressure Derek Anderson all day long, it could be a long day for the secondary. If the Browns are smart, they’ll give up on the run and attack the weaker areas of the Ravens defense through the air. If the Browns can negate the Ravens pass rush with some 3 and 5 step drops, it will leave Walker and Fabian Washington on islands with Edwards and Donte Stallworth. Look for the Browns to substitute the short passing game for a steady dose of Jamal Lewis.
My prediction: I smell a trap game. With the Browns at home and considering they’ve already seen the Ravens before, I’m going to take the upset this week. It’s so hard to beat a team twice, especially if you’ve already beaten them in your house and you’re going to theirs for the rematch (which is why I think the Ravens will beat the Steelers).
This offense is progressing, but despite the brand new look and tempo, Oakland botched a lot of coverages last week. If the Ravens want to win this game they have to get up early and make Derek Anderson want to quit. I’ll take the Browns at home this week coming off of a big win.
Ravens – 17
Browns – 23
Pivotal Match-Up: Ravens offensive line vs. Browns pass rush. If Shaun Rogers and company let Joe Flacco have time to sit back and make throws, the Ravens will win this game as long as he doesn’t turn the ball over.
Where it could all go wrong: Pretty simple scenario this week – Browns try to run the ball; Ravens hold on to the football; Ravens secondary steps up.
Surprising statistic: The Browns have beat Baltimore in Cleveland 3 of the last 4 years,
Last Week’s winner: Nestminder is our first back-to-back winner picking the Ravens to win 24-6. We had a record-low in the number of predictions received, but we can rebound this week. We’ll chalk that one up to the new website. My pick: 27-6 Ravens. Actual score: 29-10 Ravens
Week 7 winner: Nestminder picked a 20-13 Ravens victory and Polostat was a close second. My pick: 24-16 Ravens. Actual score: 27-13 Ravens.
Week 6 winner: Johnny Rocket correctly picked against the Ravens, per usual, predicting a 32-8 Colts victory. My pick: 28-23 Colts. Actual score: 31-3 Colts.
Week 5 winner: Columbia Ken picked the closest score, predicting a 17-13 Titans victory. My pick: 17-9 Ravens. Actual score: 13-10 Titans
Week 4 winner: Jon R. reluctantly picked a 24-20 win for the Steelers. My pick: 13-10 Ravens. Actual score: 23-20 Steelers (OT)
Week 3 winner: EazyE picked a 23-13 win for the Ravens vs. Cleveland. My pick: 23-13 Ravens. Actual score: 24-10 Ravens.
What are your predictions this week?