Monday, December 14, 2020, FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, 8:15 p.m. ET
Ravens at Browns Betting Preview: Ravens (-2.5/-110), Browns (+2.5/-110)
Baltimore (7-5) rolled to a 38-6 victory when the teams met in Week 1 but now finds itself in must-win mode even after a solid 34-17 victory over Dallas on Tuesday. The Ravens rolled up 294 rushing yards against the Cowboys and figure to unleash their top-ranked rushing attack (169 yards per game) against Cleveland as quarterback Lamar Jackson (94 rushing yards Tuesday) exhibited fresh legs after missing a game due to a positive COVID-19 test. Jackson established season highs of 275 passing yards and three touchdowns in the win over Cleveland during a season in which he has failed to reach 200 yards in seven of his 11 games played.
Wideout Marquise Brown has team-best totals of 41 catches and 555 yards, and the passing attack will be fortified by the return of tight end Mark Andrews (team-leading six receiving touchdowns) after he missed back-to-back games while on the COVID-19 list. Standout outside linebacker Matthew Judon (four sacks) also returns from a two-game stay on the COVID-19 list to aid a unit that rates third in scoring defense (19.3 points per game). Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen has a team-high 84 tackles and notched his first career interception in the victory over the Cowboys.
Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) sat out Thursday’s practice but could return after a one-game absence. Wideout Dez Bryant will miss his second straight contest after being placed on the COVID-19 list on Thursday.
The Browns (9-3) are looking for their fifth consecutive win as they work toward ending a 17-season playoff drought. Cleveland clinched a winning campaign for the first time since 2007 with last week’s 45-38 victory over the Tennessee Titans, and the Browns are much improved from the version of the squad that was trampled by the Ravens in September. The Browns feature the second-best running attack in the NFL (157.8 yards per game) as Nick Chubb (799 yards in eight games) and Kareem Hunt (739 in 12 contests) have formed a prolific duo.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for four touchdowns and a season-high 334 yards against the Titans and has season totals of 2,442 yards and 21 scores against seven interceptions. Star defensive end Myles Garrett is tied for third in the NFL with 10.5 sacks, and he has dropped the quarterback 41 times in just 47 career games. Garrett has forced four fumbles for a unit that has 20 takeaways (10 interceptions, 10 fumbles), which is tied for third in the league.
Cornerback Denzel Ward (calf) has a chance to return after a two-game absence. Center JC Tretter and right tackle Jack Conklin are both dealing with knee ailments. The duo of Chubb and Hunt certainly hope those two are on the field to keep the running game churning.
Ravens at Browns Betting Pick for Week 14
The Ravens are well-accustomed to the Monday night stage, but Cleveland hasn’t been much of an attraction in recent years. How the Browns handle the hype and the change in day-of-game routine will be part of the challenge.
Baltimore looks ready to make a late-season charge after being beaten down by the COVID-19 issues. The Ravens badly need a victory Monday night to bolster their playoff chances.
Ravens at Browns Betting Pick:
Browns 27, Ravens 24
Ravens at Browns Best Bet for Week 14
Both teams can make big plays out of their run game, which is particularly important for the Ravens. Mayfield is coming off a superb game, and another strong performance tilts this game over the point total.
Ravens at Browns Best Bet: OVER 47.5 total points (-105)