CLEVELAND BROWNS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS.

It’s another new dawn in Cleveland and they start again with new Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, the man CSO Paul DePodesta wanted originally last year but was out-voted by the board and they ultimately decided to promote Offensive Co-Ordinator Freddie Kitchens to the main job (a move championed by Baker Mayfield) now that ill-advised experiment is over I’m excited to see what Stefanski can bring to Cleveland’s offense, they have the personnel to run something similar to what the Minnesota Vikings did under Stefanski with two good TE’s in Austin Hooper and David Njoku and arguably the best 1-2 punch at Running Back with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. This will allow Cleveland to play from predominantly ‘heavy’ sets (2 TE OR 2 RB) which offer extra protection for an O-Line which struggled last year although new additions, Jack Conklin and 1st round draft selection Jedrick Wills Jr from Alabama who I graded out as the best pass blocking Offensive Tackle in the class and not to forget that Baker still has OBJ and Jarvis Landry as his #1 and #2 Receivers.. Expect the Browns to show an improved offense in 2020 although maybe not improved enough to match the high powered Ravens who bring last years #1 Rush offense back this year with the addition of J.K. Dobbins which just makes them an even scarier proposition and if reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson performs how he did last year I expect we’ll see an offense on ground which is just as difficult to stop as it was last year although I’m intrigued to see if the noise about Jackson throwing the ball more often this year comes to fruition.

On defense the Ravens took a strength and made it even stronger (how Raven-esque of them!) adding man mountain Calais Campbell to their Defensive Line in an absolute steal of a trade with the Jaguars and drafting Linebacker Patrick Queen out of LSU who will look to follow in the rich tradition of 1st round Raven Linebackers. Equally stout against both the Run and Pass and possessing one of the best starting Cornerback duo’s in the League it’s not going to be easy to score points on a unit which ranked 4th in total defense last year and projects to be even better in 2020. The Browns will be hoping the recently un-suspended Myles Garrett can start again where he left off (prior to hitting Myles Rudolph on the head with his helmet) before he was suspended as that game was arguably his best for the Browns before he lost his head and nearly took Rudolph’s off! It’ll be his job to unsettle Lamar Jackson here but outside of him I’m struggling to see the playmakers for Cleveland, Safety was a big need and they has seemingly filled it by drafting LSU’s Grant Delpit only for him to suffer what looks to be a season ending injury In training camp.

Ultimately, I see this as an exceptionally good run offense against a defense which did not handle the run well last year and do not project to be much better in that department this year either. Expect the Ravens to move the ball successfully on the ground and get the W here but this is a hard game to bet on. I like the Ravens but there is no value (2/7) and the big spread (8 points) scares me. I like the RB’s to do well for Baltimore but there’s a logjam at the position so projecting the carries isn’t easy but it’s week 1 so I’m taking incumbent starter, Mark Ingram to find pay dirt at some point in this contest.

PREDICTION: RAVENS 31 – 24 BROWNS

BEST BET: Mark Ingram Anytime TD @ 5/4 William Hill

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