Garrett Ferguson makes his pick:
After a tough loss last Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs I expect the Ravens to come out determined to prove that game was an outlier, especially the secondary. The secondary has been toasted two weeks in a row and it doesn’t get any easier with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry coming to town. With Jimmy Smith still recovering from an MCL sprain he suffered against the Miami Dolphins in week one, Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr are going to have to be on their A-game.
This is the first time these two teams will meet since the dramatic divisional showdown last season in week 17. That game ended with CJ Mosley intercepting Baker Mayfield sending the Ravens to the playoffs, so you could say there’s some unfinished business between these two teams. Along with being divisional rivals, this game also features two former Heisman winning quarterbacks going toe-to-toe in Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield.
So far this season, Lamar Jackson has outplayed Baker Mayfield in pretty much every statistical category and that’s not an exaggeration. Three games into the season their statistics are as follows:
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-Passing: 863 yards
-Touchdowns: 8 total
-Quarterback rating (QBR): 113.9
-Passing: 805 yards
-Touchdowns: 3 total
-Quarterback rating (QBR): 70.3
As you can see, Jackson has flipped the narrative in the AFC North that Mayfield is the best young quarterback in the division by performing beyond expectations so far this season. He has come a long way in proving teams made a mistake passing up on him in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Browns are coming into this game a little beaten up on the defensive side of the ball with starting corner backs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams missing practice this week and if they’re not able to suit up this Sunday then expect a big day from Lamar Jackson. Ward is possibly the only corner on the Browns roster that could keep up with Marquise Brown and without him there’s very little reason to believe Hollywood won’t have a game similar to the one he had against the Dolphins in week one.
Aside from the quarterback dual, the Ravens are expected to lean heavily on their run game with Mark Ingram II and co. because the Browns don’t necessarily boast the best run defense. Ingram has been phenomenal so far this season and is coming off a monster game against the Chiefs in which he had over 100 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. The Ravens ground game is better and more dynamic than it was last season so expect I big day from these backs.
Altogether, I think the Ravens are going to win this game outright because the Browns have found their footing yet and the Ravens are catching them at the perfect time. With a win this Sunday, the Ravens would take a 3-1 lead in the AFC North race which would give them a little breathing room just incase Cleveland does catch fire later on.
Game Prediction: 34-20, Ravens