The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns will face off in an AFC North contest that, despite featuring two losing teams, has plenty of divisional significance. That's because the 3-4 Ravens are actually in second place, trailing the 6-2 Cincinnati Bengals, while the Browns are 3-5 and in third place.
Baltimore obviously hasn't been doing very good straight-up this season, but they have a lot of upside against the spread for Week 9. For one, they are 10-1 against the spread over the past 11 seasons after a bye week. For two, they are 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games when playing the Browns.
Meanwhile, Cleveland has gone 1-5 over the past six seasons prior to their bye week, and they're 3-8 in their last 11 games when playing the Ravens. They have lost their last five games against the Ravens straight-up. As for what would be going for Cleveland, they are actually 4-2 against the spread in their last six games, despite going 3-8 straight-up in their last 11.
Cleveland has certainly exceeded expectations this season, and were it not for Brian Hoyer getting injured and poor quarterback play in general, they might even be a winning team. The Browns managed solid victories over the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills this season, but already fell to the Ravens once, in Week 2.
Still, that was a competitive, low-scoring matchup on the road. This time, Cleveland will be at home, and they have a defense just as tough as before. They boast the No. 6 pass defense in the league, allowing just 216.8 yards per game on average to opposing quarterbacks. Joe Flacco may lead the No. 12 passing offense in the NFL, but his running game has been especially lacking, and with no help, he should struggle against the Cleveland secondary.
Either way, Baltimore opened up as 3-point favorites on the road, and the line hasn't changed much throughout the week. Some books have narrowed slightly, with Baltimore favored by 2.5 points, but they're favored nonetheless. The over/under for the matchup opened at 41.5 points and is hovering right around that mark.
That total has gone under in five of Baltimore's last six games, and in all five of their past five games against the Browns. For Cleveland, the total has gone over in four of their last six games, but under in 12 of their last 17 games at home. Given the way the last game went and the offenses at work, the under seems like the smart bet here.
But when it comes to who will actually win, the Ravens are more rested and seem to be a better team, but it will likely be something of an ugly affair. Baltimore stands a chance at breaking things open later in the game, however, especially with Jason Campbell under center for Cleveland.