Browns Won’t Need Manziel For Monday Night Football Matchup With Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens will play their first gam in eight years without franchise quarterback Joe Flacco this week. The Cleveland Browns won’t have their franchise quarterback under center either, only for them it’s because they decided to bench Johnny Manziel. The decision to sit the first round pick from last year’s NFL Draft comes just a couple of weeks after the Browns named Manziel their starter and this latest move has created even more confusion surrounding the quarterback’s future. For now, Cleveland will turn back to veteran Josh McCown as their starter and while that leaves some major question marks about the future it should actually help their chances heading in to a Monday Night Football matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Monday November 30, 2015 – 8:30 PM ET
It was McCown who completed 36-of-51 passes for 457 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-30 Browns win over Baltimore earlier in the season and there is no reason to doubt that he can put together a similar performance this week. The Ravens’ defense is absolutely beaten up heading in to this week and McCown’s return under center could provide a spark for a Cleveland side that has lost five straight since that victory over Baltimore. It will certainly help the Browns that they won’t have to find a way to slow down Flacco after the Ravens’ passer suffered a torn ACL in last week’s 16-13 win over the St. Louis Rams. Baltimore will turn to veteran Matt Schaub in his place and when you consider the talent the Ravens have left at the skill positions this will be a very difficult test for their offense. Schaub’s best days are clearly behind him and he won’t be able to lean on running back Justin Forsett either after the running back suffered a season-ending arm injury in last week’s loss. Baltimore is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven games against the Browns but the circumstances were much different in all of those games including specifically having a healthy Flacco in their lineup and even earlier in the season that didn’t matter. Look for Cleveland to rally around McCown again this week and pull out the victory while major concerns remain about the team’s future at the position with Manziel clearly not mature or reliable enough to be considered part of the future.
Handicapping The Total
Injuries will take away from the offense on both sides this week and while these teams combined for 63 points in their first meeting the circumstances were much different and we don’t expect the same thing this week. Look for both teams to commit to the run and try to grind out possession time without making mistakes in one of the lower scoring games of the week and a Monday Night Football matchup that not a lot of people will consider worth tuning in to watch.
Pick: Cleveland -3