Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
The Ravens lost last week 49-27 in Denver, a final score that could have had an even bigger margin, but it’s important to remember it’s just one game. Peyton Manning had the game of his (and a lot of other people’s) life. I still think this is the best team in the AFC North and that they’ll make the playoffs in the weak AFC. I trust what Ozzie Newsome did this off-season.
Plus remember, they were up 17-14 in the 3rd quarter. Losing right tackle Michael Oher mid-game certainly didn’t help things as 5th round rookie replacement Ricky Wagner was rag-dolled by the previously washed up Shaun Phillips, who couldn’t do anything against Oher. Oher is back in the lineup, which is good news.
The other good news is that the Ravens are back home here this week. They’re a much better home team than road team, going 29-5, outscoring opponents by 11.4 points per game, at home since 2009, as opposed to 21-20, outscoring opponents by 0.7 points per game, on the road. It’ll be an extra boost that this is the Ravens’ first home game since their Super Bowl, so they’ll have a big ceremony before the game.
Ordinarily, defending Super Bowl champs do really well Week 1, winning 12 straight before the Giants lost last season and going 31-14-1 all-time before this season. The Ravens didn’t win last week obviously, but the fact that they had to open on the road probably had something to do with that. I thought the disrespect of opening on the road would counteract that last week when I picked the Ravens, but apparently not. However, they should have the kind of energy we’re used to from a week 1 defending champ this week in their home opener. Also it’s worth noting that John Harbaugh is 7-1 ATS after a 10+ point loss. This feels like a blowout.
Baltimore Ravens 27 Cleveland Browns 12
Pick against spread: Baltimore -6.5
Confidence Level: Low