Browns vs. Ravens Game Preview | Sunday 1:00 PM 10/1/23

September 30, 2023

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Week 4 Game Breakdown and Betting Picks

3 Things Preview Browns vs. Ravens:

1 – Watson Shoulder 

Coming into Sunday’s game against the Ravens starting QB Deshaun Watson is listed as questionable even though he claimed to the press he will be starting.  Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said “hopeful” for Watson’s play.  Feels like Watson is going to start with the Browns playing some poker with the Ravens.  

2 – Jackson vs. Watson 

Figuring Watson is playing, the headlining match-up is who will win between the talented quarterbacks.  The good news is that Watson does not have to win the game with how well the Browns are playing on defense.  Watson’s essential job at times is not turning over the ball.

The opposite is true of Lamar Jackson; he needs to play well for the Ravens to win.  Jackson is also a key rusher for the Ravens, so there is a lot of pressure on his shoulders to win.  

These two are pretty even in the overall match-up, but for importance, it is heavy for Jackson to perform well. 

3 – Dominant Defense  

So far, three games in, even with all of the talk about Watson and offense, we all know this team has been led by Jim Schwartz and the Browns defense.  Look for LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to help out with Lamar Jackson.  JOK has performed well in the past when shadowing Jackson.

The Ravens are missing two critical wide receiver options for Jackson on offense, including OBJ.  It should be an advantage for the Brown’s secondary, and the o-line is banged up for Baltimore, which will allow Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith opportunities to sack Jackson. 


On Saturday, it was reported that TE David Njoku is now questionable for the game with burns from a fire on Friday night.  TE Zaire Mitchell-Paden has been brought up from the practice squad.

This is a pure hate rivalry against the Ravens compared to the Steelers.  As Browns fans we always want this game as fans.  Rarely do the Browns seem to have multiple favorable match-ups against Baltimore, but they do on Sunday.  With the Ravens banged up, they have multiple favorable match-ups. 

Browns Notes

The Browns delivered a dominant performance against the Tennessee Titans, securing a convincing 27-3 victory. With the exception of one misdirected backward pass, Deshaun Watson showcased solid performance, completing 27 out of 33 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, the ground game struggled, as Pierre Strong Jr. led the rushing attack with a modest 27 yards. Nevertheless, Amari Cooper played a pivotal role in driving the offense forward, making seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Elijah Moore quietly led the team with nine receptions. Defensively, Myles Garrett was a standout, recording four tackles and an impressive 3.5 sacks, while Alex Wright also contributed with a sack.

Deshaun Watson has displayed improved form this season, completing 63.7% of his passes for 678 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. However, he has faced significant pressure, being sacked 12 times in just three games. Jerome Ford has stepped up in the absence of Chubb, accumulating 160 yards on 41 carries in the running game. Amari Cooper leads the Browns in receiving with 17 receptions, 243 yards, and a touchdown. Interestingly, Ford has also contributed with two touchdown receptions. As a unit, the Browns rank 10th in yards per game (366.3), 4th in rushing yards per game (160.7), 11th in points per game (24.3), and 21st in passing yards per game (205.7).

Cleveland’s defense has been a major factor in their 2-1 start to the season. They hold the top spot in several defensive categories, including passing yards allowed (111.7), total yards allowed (163.7), and points allowed per game (10.7). They only trail the Eagles in run defense, conceding a mere 52 yards per game on the ground. Grant Delpit leads the team in tackles with 16, 13 of which are solo tackles. Garrett has been a force with 4.5 sacks and four tackles for loss already. Denzel Ward has defended five passes, and Delpit has the team’s lone interception. The Browns are dealing with injuries to key players, including Ford, Siaka Ika, and James Hudson III. Out of the 16 players on the injury list, 10 are on injured reserve or sidelined indefinitely.

Ravens Notes

Baltimore endured a disappointing defeat against the Indianapolis Colts, falling 22-19 in overtime. The Ravens struggled to sustain their offensive drives when it mattered most, and a flurry of errors on both sides of the field denied them victory. While Lamar Jackson delivered a solid performance as quarterback, amassing 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns, his passing game left much to be desired. He completed 22 of 31 passes for 202 yards but failed to secure any touchdowns. Zay Flowers emerged as the leading receiver, tallying eight receptions for 48 yards, yet the ground game, led by Jackson, fell below par, with Gus Edwards barely surpassing 50 yards for the day. On the defensive front, Brandon Stephens shone with eight tackles, and Kyle Hamilton impressed with three sacks.

In terms of season statistics, Baltimore ranks 12th in yards per game, averaging an even 348 yards. They stand as the 9th worst team in passing yards per game, averaging 190 yards, but excel as a top-five rushing team, averaging 158 yards per game, even after the loss of starting RB J.K. Dobbins in week one. Lamar Jackson plays a pivotal role in their strong rushing performance, leading the team with 193 yards on 32 carries and two rushing touchdowns. He has also displayed effectiveness in the passing game, boasting a 73.3% completion rate with 608 yards and two touchdowns, along with just one interception in three games this season. Gus Edwards is the only other Raven to break the 100-yard rushing mark with 145 yards. Zay Flowers is the leading receiver with 21 receptions for 188 yards, and surprisingly, Nelson Agholor is the only other player with over 100 yards receiving so far, securing nine receptions. This underscores Flowers’ increasing importance to the offense. Currently, the Ravens rank 14th in points per game with an average of 23.7, a statistic they will need to improve if they aim to clinch the division title in the future.

Roquan Smith leads Baltimore in tackles with 33, while Brandon Stephens boasts a team-high 18 solo tackles this season. Kyle Hamilton seized the lead in sacks following his standout performance last week, and Ronald Darby leads the squad with three passes defended. Geno Stone is the sole player with an interception for the Ravens. As a team, Baltimore concedes an average of 18.3 points per game, ranking eighth in the NFL. They also surrender an average of 292.3 yards per game, placing them 10th in the league. This includes 92.3 rushing yards (8th) and an even 200 passing yards (11th). Unfortunately, injuries plagued the Ravens, with 20 players listed on the injury report. J.K. Dobbins is out for the season, and Odell Beckham Jr. is questionable with an ankle injury. Tyler Linderbaum, Rashod Bateman, and Justice Hill are also questionable for their upcoming matchup, and this only pertains to the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, players like Kyle Hamilton, Damarion Williams, Marlon Humphry, and Marcus Williams are among those in doubt for Sunday’s game.

Pay The Man His Money Picks

Overall Season Record: 3-4

Monday night in Pittsburgh really did some damage to the record, but we’ll work back to positive in no time. Amari Cooper easily surpassed his yardage in the last game, and Jerome Ford only missed his rushing attempts mark because the game got out of hand, which allowed Pierre Strong to get more work than expected. With Deshaun Watson being questionable, props were posted late and are subject to be taken down or changed at any moment. Nevertheless, here are the best bets for the Browns-Ravens matchup.

Pick 1:

Amari Cooper over 59.5 receiving yards

After the near first-half win last week, it’s only right to go back to Amari Cooper’s receiving yards. Cooper has reached this mark in two out of three games this year, with his only miss coming in the poor-weather game in week one. He has seen 18 targets over the last two games, averaging 2.45 yards per route run this season. Although he trails Elijah Moore in targets by just one, his average depth of target is double at 15.1 yards, and he accounts for a remarkable 40.98% of the team’s air yards.

Baltimore is ranked 11th in pass yards allowed this year, but they are missing Marlon Humphrey, and Kyle Hamilton is questionable. The Ravens don’t seem to have an answer for Cooper, and he is expected to be the focal point of the passing attack once again. In 2022, the Browns ran the ball 55% of the time in wins, while they only ran it 46% of the time last week against the Titans. The shift without Nick Chubb will gradually lean more toward passing, and Cooper stands to be the biggest beneficiary.

Pick 2:

Lamar Jackson over 26.5 passing attempts

This season, Lamar Jackson has thrown 27 or more passes in the last two games, averaging 32.5 per game over his last two outings. A year ago, he went over this threshold in 75% of games despite being ultra-run-heavy. Tackle Ronnie Stanley is doubtful, and the Ravens have shifted their offense more towards a shotgun-heavy approach. The Browns should keep pressure on the Ravens’ offense, and they are likely to force the Ravens into plenty of passing situations.

Projected to have 31.7 attempts, Tannehill is the only quarterback to fall short of this mark against the Browns this year. Despite the Browns limiting offenses to just 50 plays per game, they still manage to hit this mark because of how frequently they force opponents into passing situations. The Browns’ run defense is poised to shut down the running game, which will likely force the Ravens to rely on the passing game in this one.


The Browns are heading into a crucial divisional game before the bye week, with a chance to start 2-1 in the division. Having already secured wins over the Ravens and Bengals could prove to be significant at the end of the season, and the Browns appear to have the advantage heading into Sunday. The Ravens are dealing with injuries on both sides of the ball, and the Browns will once again look to their defense to set the tone in this matchup. With a defense as talented as theirs, playing complementary football is essential, and the offense doesn’t need to feel pressured to force the issue to secure the win.

Game Score and Winner:

Give the 2 Points Browns Win 21-6 over the Ravens

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