CLEVELAND (5-3) at BALTIMORE (7-2)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, Fox.
OPENING LINE: Ravens by 4 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Browns 5-3; Ravens 6-3.
SERIES RECORD: Ravens lead 36-13.
LAST MEETING: Ravens beat Browns 28-3 on Oct. 1, 2023, in Cleveland.
LAST WEEK: Browns beat Cardinals 27-0; Ravens beat Seahawks 37-3.
BROWNS OFFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (3), PASS (29), SCORING (14).
BROWNS DEFENSE: OVERALL (1), RUSH (6T), PASS (1), SCORING (3).
RAVENS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (1), PASS (20), SCORING (6).
RAVENS DEFENSE: OVERALL (2), RUSH (8), PASS (2), SCORING (1).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Browns minus-4; Ravens plus-1.
BROWNS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Deshaun Watson. He missed the first matchup against the Ravens with a strained right shoulder, an injury that sidelined him for two other starts and most of a fourth game. He returned last week, and while Watson still isn't 100%, his presence gives the Browns a fighting chance.
RAVENS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Keaton Mitchell. He'd never had an NFL carry before last weekend, when the undrafted rookie ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts against Seattle. Mitchell showed he could run effectively inside and outside, but he won't be a surprise anymore.
KEY MATCHUP: Watson vs. Baltimore's pass rush. The Browns managed only three points in their first matchup with the Ravens, but that was without Watson. He'll need to be sharp — and elusive — if he's going to have success against a Baltimore team that has a league-high 35 sacks.
KEY INJURIES: The Browns will be missing starting tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. and rookie Dawand Jones. Wills will miss at least four games with a knee sprain sustained against the Cardinals. Jones (shoulder/knee) will also sit out, leaving Cleveland vulnerable against one of the NFL's best defenses. Coach Kevin Stefanski would not reveal the team's plans up front following Friday's practice. ... Browns CB Greg Newsome II (groin) missed time this week and is questionable. Newsome also sat out last week's game. ... Browns WR Marquise Goodwin entered concussion protocol after taking a blow to the head against Arizona. ... Ravens T Morgan Moses (shoulder) was able to practice this week after missing the Seattle game. ... Baltimore NT Michael Pierce (illness) missed practice time this week.
SERIES NOTES: Baltimore has dominated, winning 11 straight in one stretch and 24 of the past 30. ... Ravens coach John Harbaugh is 25-6 against the Browns. ... Although this AFC North rivalry has been historically one-sided, the teams have split the past four matchups. ... Cleveland has lost the past three games in Baltimore.
STATS AND STUFF: The Browns begin a critical two-game stretch against AFC North rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Cleveland hasn't won a division title since 1989 and may need at least a split to stay in the race. ... The Browns are coming off their first shutout since 2007. ... Cleveland's defense held Arizona to just 58 yards last week — the third-fewest allowed in team history. ... DT Dalvin Tomlinson had 2 1/2 of Cleveland's seven sacks. ... It was a bounce-back performance for the Browns defense, which played poorly in the first matchup against Baltimore as QB Lamar Jackson had 2 rushing TDs and 2 passing scores — both to TE Mark Andrews. ... Watson struggled with his touch on short passes in his return, but connected on two deep passes to WR Amari Cooper, who finished with 139 yards and a TD. ... Cleveland has used a three-headed committee of Jerome Ford, Kareem Hunt and Pierre Strong Jr. to fuel the running game since losing Nick Chubb (knee) for the season in Week 2. Hunt has five rushing TDs in the past four games. ... Cooper, who leads the Browns with 35 catches, had just one for 16 yards in the first meeting with Baltimore. ... Browns DE Myles Garrett has 9 1/2 sacks. He's the only player in the league with double-digit sacks in each of the past five seasons. ... Watson is 1-2 in starts against the Ravens. ... Baltimore can take tighter control of the division with wins over Cleveland and Cincinnati in a five-day span. The Ravens host the Bengals on Nov. 16. ... Jackson is 7-1 against the Browns in games he's started and finished. ... Baltimore has the league's top scoring differential at plus-115. It's plus-90 in the first half. ... Ravens S Geno Stone has an NFL-best six interceptions. ... DT Justin Madubuike has had at least a half-sack in six consecutive games, the longest streak in Ravens history. ... Baltimore has rushed for at least 100 yards in 25 straight games. No other team has an active streak longer than four. ... The Ravens have matched their best nine-game start in franchise history. They were also 7-2 in 2006, 2012 and 2019, and in each of those seasons they also became 8-2. ... Baltimore has allowed only nine offensive touchdowns, the fewest in the league.
FANTASY TIP: Andrews, coming off a nine-catch, 80-yard performance last week, seems to play his best against the Browns. He has more yards (621) and touchdowns (nine) against CIeveland than any other team.
AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL