Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:

Prediction: BAL 17, CLE 23 (Line: BAL by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Greg Little, Trent Richardson

This is a replay of week four when the Ravens won 23-16 while the Browns visited. The Ravens are coming off a bye week which will help them but the Browns are playing better and came without seven in Baltimore. The Browns offense has been improving while the Ravens defense has worsened and allowed 72 points over their last two games.

The Browns have not beaten the Ravens in their last nine meetings back to 2007.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT -----
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL 31-29 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU 13-43 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 220,1
QB Matt Schaub 250,2
RB Justin Forsett 30 2-10
WR Steve Smith 7-90,1
TE Dennis Pitta 3-30
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens lead the division and even though the defense has suffered notable injuries, the remaining schedule may smooth over the effects. That would be fortunate since the offense has been less than expected and yet still has all the same players healthy. The new offense had "the wraps" taken off and it still looks pretty much the same. If even that good.

Joe Flacco hasn't passed for more than one score since week three and stands at nine touchdowns against six interceptions. Problem too is that over the last four games, Flacco only threw three touchdowns and lost four interceptions. And it is not as if the rushing game is taking over and consuming the offense. Flacco passed for 356 yards when the Browns visited five weeks ago with one passing touchdown and his only rushing score on the year.

Ray Rice is decent this year with five touchdowns though each came in one of three home games against either the Cowboys, Patriots or Bengals. He comes off his worst game of the year with only 56 total yards in Houston but he almost always totals 100 yards every week even if he's only scored in three games. Even odder has been that his last three games only averaged about two catches for 24 yards in each when his first four match-ups averaged about six catches for 44 yards each week. Losing those catches hurts Rice's ability to produce as consistently as he has in the past. Versus the Browns, Rice rushed for 49 yards on 18 carries and added eight receptions for 47 yards.

Dennis Pitta started the year as one of the surprise tight ends but has evolved back into just another player. He's not been able to gain more than 33 yards since beck in week three and his slide started when he was blanked against the Browns with no catches on his two targets.

The low scoring and marginal passing yardage by Flacco has left the wide receivers with minimal fantasy value. Torrey Smith showed up for two nice games - both at home - but is marginal in all others and was held to fewer than 42 yards in each of the last three games. One of those good efforts was versus the Browns when Smith ended with 97 yards and a score on six receptions. Anquan Boldin hasn't scored since the season opener and varies greatly from week to week with as good as 131 yards (against the Browns) and only seven yards in Philadelphia. One qualifier to the big game when Cleveland showed up - that was without Joe Haden who is back now.

Flacco took advantage of the Browns missing Haden in week four and while Boldin gained 131 yards on the Browns earlier this year, he only managed 32 yards last year in Cleveland while being covered by Haden. The passing defense is much better in recent games since the Browns have not allowed a passing score since week six. They have also not allowed a rushing touchdown at home.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 19 11 11 21 8 9
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 27 20 29 4 12 16

QB Matt Schaub, BAL @CLE 0000018012 ***
You'd like to think it's an opportunity for Schaub coming off the bench to face a Browns defense that's surrendered multiple passing scores in three straight. However, Schaub's supporting cast has been gutted--plus he's the backup for a reason.
RB Javorius Allen, BAL @CLE 9005400000 *
Allen is still looking for his first NFL touchdown, and only once in his pro career has he touched the ball more than 10 times in a game. But with Justin Forsett done for the season the Ravens will give the ball to Buck--a lot, since Baltimore also lost quarterback Joe Flacco for the season and will dust off Matt Schaub this week. And he'll face a familiar foe, a Browns defense he racked up 58 yards on eight carries against earlier this season. Now he'll load up on touches in a Cleveland venue that has welcomed opposing running backs with open arms, surrendering at least 157 yards from scrimmage in all four dates at the Dawg Pound.
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @CLE 003301000 *
Aiken was Baltimore's go-to guy sans Steve Smith in the earlier meeting with Cleveland, and he produced 4-78 on nine targets. It'll be Matt Schaub on the other end this time, which isn't likely to help Aiken's numbers.
WR Chris Givens, BAL @CLE 003500000 *
Givens is running as Baltimore's wingman, which in many cases would be a positive against a defense that's allowed multiple fantasy helpers from wideouts in three straight, four of five and seven of 10 overall. But with Baltimore going to the bullpen for Matt Schaub all bets are off with regards to passing game production this week.
TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL @CLE 006500000 *
Gillmore has scored in two of the past three and topped 100 yards in the game he couldn't reach the end zone. Now he'll face a Cleveland defense that's given up five TE TDs in the past two weeks. Plenty of upside here, as Matt Schaub has demonstrated in the past he knows where to find his tight end.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CLE 2111 ***
With Baltimore's offense gutted by injury it could be tough for the Ravens to move the ball--with obvious repercussions for Tucker.

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI 16-17 10 BYE -----
2 @CIN 27-34 11 @DAL -----
3 BUF 14-24 12 PIT -----
4 @BAL 16-23 13 @OAK -----
5 @NYG 27-41 14 KC -----
6 CIN 34-24 15 WAS -----
7 @IND 13-17 16 @DEN -----
8 SD 7-6 17 @PIT -----
9 BAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Dwayne Bowe 5-80,1
WR Josh Gordon 4-70
WR Brian Hartline 4-60,1
WR Andrew Hawkins 5-40
WR Marlon Moore 2-40

Pregame Notes: The Browns come off a win over the Chargers that makes them 2-1 over the last three weeks thanks in great part to a defense that has played far better. A win this week won't change the fact that a losing season is pretty much a certainty but playing well at home is the first step forward and there is only a bye waiting next week to heal everyone up and assess where they are at.

Brandon Weeden was unable to score last week in the rain and wind but was on a three game streak of two touchdowns per week prior and while he did not score on the Ravens in the last meeting, he threw for 320 yards with only one interception in his fourth game ever played in the NFL. And that was previous to the many defensive injuries suffered by the Ravens. The Ravens secondary has lost their best cornerback and Ray Lewis is gone. And they have not been nearly as good as their ranking may suggest thanks to playing the Chiefs in week five. Weeden is still developing and will the rest of the year but he's much better than he was only five weeks back. The same cannot be said about the Ravens.

Trent Richardson has bruised ribs and was no lock to play against the Chargers but gutted it out and ended up with his best game of the year. He rushed for 122 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown. This was his second 100 yard game and while he only gained 47 yards on 14 runs in Baltimore, he scored once on them and added 57 yards on four runs. Now at home versus the Ravens missing their leading tackler Lewis, he's sure to have at least marginally better yardage and could show up big again as he did when the Chargers showed up last Sunday. WIth a bye week to heal up the ribs looming, Richardson should provide decent numbers this week as a fulltime back and could surprise yet again..

Tight ends have not held much importance in the game plans this year but notable is that the best performance by any of them this year was when Benjamin Watson gained 52 yards on five receptions in Baltimore. In most weeks, neither he nor Jordan Cameron have more than a catch apiece.

The rains of last week ended a nice streak for the wide receivers. Josh Gordon scored in three straight games before the Chargers tilt though he never caught more than three passes in a game and is just a deep threat that seems to score well. Greg Little even produced a season best five catches for 52 yards and a score in the week seven game in indy before succumbing to the weather limitations in the Chargers match-up. Travis Benjamin and Mohamed Massaquoi will be back soon and will only serve to give Weeden more targets and yet make the receivers even less reliable individually.

The Ravens were steam rolled by the Texans who scored on them using both the run and the pass with equal ease. On the road, the Ravens have allowed each opponent big games for their running back and well over 250 passing yards to everyone. This should be better than a Browns-Ravens game normally is.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 28 15 21 28 27 12
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 8 27 16 24 23 11

QB Josh McCown, CLE BAL 10000027020 ***
With Johnny Manziel unable to control himself off the field it'll be McCown on the field this week. He strafed the Ravens for 457 yards and two TDs in the earlier meeting and has multiple touchdown tosses in five of the six games where he saw the majority of snaps under center. No reason to think he won't find similar success at home this week.
RB Duke Johnson, CLE BAL 4006501000 **
Johnson's work as a receiver make him the Browns back to have if you have to have one. He caught six balls for 55 yards in the earlier meeting with Baltimore and has Cleveland's only RB TD in the past month and a half, so if there's any upside to a Browns back it rests with Duke.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE BAL 5002100000 ***
Crowell scored a receiving touchdown in the earlier meeting with Baltimore, but with Duke Johnson handling most of the pass-catching duties Isaiah is reduced to hammering out minimal fantasy value on 10 or so carries--unlikely, as the Browns haven't scored a rushing TD since Week 2.
WR Travis Benjamin, CLE BAL 006900000 ***
Benjamin was just reacquainting himself with Johnny Manziel, responsible for two of his three 100-yard games and three of his four TDs; now he'll have to switch back to McCown, with whom he tallied one TD in six games and averaged 66 yards per contest. Consider Benjamin's fantasy ceiling lower than it was with Johnny Football.
WR Taylor Gabriel, CLE BAL 004600000 ***
Gabriel is battling Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins for secondary looks, and thus far he's mostly been losing with only one game north of 32 yards and no TDs.

Update: Gabriel did not practice this week due to a concussion, making him an unlikely participant Monday night. The upside is not worth the risk of taking a zero.
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE BAL 006801000 ***
No one is happier to see Josh McCown back under center than Barnidge, who averaged 3-38 with one touchdown in four games with Johnny Football and 6-60-1 in six games with McCown. That run included 8-139-1 in Baltimore, by far the biggest game the Ravens have surrendered at the position. They just gave up another TE TD last week, and with McCown back under center things are looking up for Barnidge once again.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Travis Coons, CLE BAL 3322 ***
Coons kicked four field goals in the earlier meeting in Baltimore, one of eight kickers with multiple treys against the Ravens. He's had just one multiple field goal since then, however, and the Browns' offense is in disarray so temper expectations accordingly.

*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:

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