Well the big news came down yesterday that the NFL and the officials have made an agreement, and that we will have real officials back for tonight’s game! That’s great to hear, but as we discussed on the podcast yesterday, the damage has already been done. Having said that, it’s still a great day to be an NFL fan. The refs will first be on display as the Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. Baltimore is coming off a controversial, emotionally charged win over the Patriots, while the Browns are coming off of a loss to Buffalo. This has blowout written all over it, but we think it’ll be closer then people expect. Let’s take a closer look.
How Baltimore can Win: I basically expect the Ravens to just go through the motions tonight, and treat it more as a practice game then a real comptetitve one. Baltimore knows that they are the better team, and that they won’t need their full effort tonight. The only way that the Ravens will lose is if they beat themselves by turning the ball over or having mental lapses. My guess is they use a heavy dose of Ray Rice to keep Flacco from getting hit a ton, and the Ravens just get an easy win without having to give their all.
How Cleveland can Win: Well unlike the Ravens, the Browns will be giving it their all tonight, as they still consider Baltimore their biggest rival. If they want to have a shot tonight, they will need a fantastic effort from Trent Richardson. If he can’t get going, then Brandon Weeden will be in for a world of hurt. On the other side, the defense is clearly missing their star and leader Joe Haden, who is in the middle of a four game suspension. The defense is the strength of the team, and they will need a fantastic effort if they want to pull off the huge road upset.
Our Prediction: My guess is Baltimore jumps out to an early lead, then puts their game on cruise control. The Browns will score every so often, and keep the game within shouting distance, but never really threaten Baltimore for the lead. They could very well get a late score to cover the +13 spread, which I like for tonight. But Ray Rice will get a score, Flacco will toss one or two, and the Ravens will go through the motions on their way to a 27-17 victory.
What do you think of tonight’s matchup? Who do you like? Let us know in the comments!