NFL Preview: Baltimore vs. Cleveland
With a 27-3 win by the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) over the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night, the pressure is on the Baltimore Ravens (10-4) to win in their week 16 match-up in the NFL season against the Cleveland Browns (5-9).
Coming into the weekend, the Ravens were tied for the AFC North division lead with the Steelers holding the edge in tie-breakers. Baltimore lifted itself from a one-game hole after defeating the Saints 30-24 while the Steelers were losing to the Jets 22-17. Quarterback Joe Flacco has found a groove this season with over 3,300 yards and 23 TDs, though the Ravens went back to their ace on the ground in Ray Rice to defeat New Orleans.
The Ravens defeated the Browns 24-17 earlier in the season but this is a much-improved Cleveland team. In Cleveland Stadium, the Browns are 3-3 and posted wins over the Bengals and the New England Patriots. In Peyton Hillis, the Browns have a top-tier running back with over 1,100 yards and 11 TDs and a threat in the passing game as well with 59 catches, leading the team. Colt McCoy was back under center and performed well in a close loss to the Bengals with 243 yards passing and 2 TDs. McCoy and Hillis could find success against a Ravens defense that has looked mortal at times this season.
Baltimore is favored by -3 points on the road.