7. Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 18 in Baltimore)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 13 in Pittsburgh)
5. Cleveland Browns (Week 12 in Baltimore)
Why they’re vulnerable: The Ravens have knocked a starting quarterback out of the game in two straight games. That’s not good news for the Browns (6-5) or Mayfield, who’s reportedly dealing with a bruised heel, a bruised knee and a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Over the past two games, a blowout loss to the New England Patriots and a narrow win Sunday over the Lions, Mayfield went a combined 26-for-50 for 249 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Tight ends David Njoku and Austin Hooper might be his best options on pass plays, and the Ravens have done a solid job stopping tight ends this year, ranking 16th in defensive efficiency, according to Football Outsiders.
Why they’re not: Myles Garrett ranks first in the NFL in ESPN’s pass-rush win rate. Fellow defensive end Jadeveon Clowney ranks second. The Ravens rank third to last in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (Week 16 in Cincinnati)
3. Cleveland Browns (Week 14 in Cleveland)
2. Green Bay Packers (Week 15 in Baltimore)
1. Los Angeles Rams (Week 17 in Baltimore)
“First, it’s going to be a tough and physical game,” Clark said. “To us, we know it’s like a championship game for sure. We’re trying to win the division. You’ve got to beat the teams in your division.”
“No matter how you slice it, there’s a lot of football to be played, and what’s going to happen is going to be determined by how we play the rest of the way and how many games we win,” Harbaugh said. “So, that’s what we’re focused on.”
“They have two great edge players, and both of those guys are great players,” Harbaugh said. “Aren’t they both No. 1 picks in the Draft? I think so. We respect them both, both Myles Garrett and Clowney. [No.] 90 and [No.] 95 – we know their numbers, so we’ll be looking for them. We’ll have a gameplan for those guys, and we’ll do our best.”
“Those guys are flying off the ball, getting sacks, stirring up the offensive line,” Jackson said. “Those guys are making great impacts in the game. We’re just going to have to do a good job of protecting and blocking those guys. Their secondary is looking pretty good, as well. [Denzel] Ward is healthy. [He’s] been playing tremendous this season. We’ve got to attack. We’ve got to play football.”
AFC North Whiparound, Week 12: Counting blessings, setting odds and making over-.500 history? - Jeff Zrebiec
There are still eight of the 12 division games remaining, the first two of which are this weekend with the Steelers visiting the Bengals and the Ravens playing host to the Browns on “Sunday Night Football.” Who needs a win the most?
To me, it’s the Browns. I don’t think their season is over if they lose in Baltimore on Sunday night. They’d still be 6-6 heading into their bye week with two home games on deck, and if they don’t have Kareem Hunt and Jack Conklin back Sunday, you’d figure they’ll be back immediately after the bye. But it just seems like from an outsider’s perspective that things are headed in the wrong direction there. Like they rid themselves of the Odell Beckham Jr. headache and now they’re dealing with the weekly Baker Mayfield melodrama. Beating a division rival and playing well in front of a national television audience could silence the noise and get them back on track. I’ll say this about the Ravens, they might not be as desperate as the Browns, but this game is hugely important for them. If they go 0-2 against the division with two home losses, they’re setting themselves up for some must-win road games, and that’s not an easy path.
Week 12 NFL game picks: Lions top Bears; Rams rebound against Packers - Gregg Rosenthal
The Ravens have the most clearly defined weakness that I can remember any team of recent Ravens vintage having: They simply can’t cover on the outside when Wink Martindale blitzes. This is a weakness that this version of the Browns is ill-equipped to attack, although you would have thought that about Andy Dalton and Marquise Goodwin a week ago, too. The potential return of Kareem Hunt gives the Browns a chance, but the quarterback disparity is too great, assuming Lamar Jackson is back.
NFL picks against the spread - Sheil Kapadia
As of this writing, Lamar Jackson is expected to return to the lineup for the Ravens. After last week’s win with Tyler Huntley against the Bears, the Ravens are 5-1 in one-possession games this season.
I’ve been slow to jump off the Browns’ bandwagon, but last week was bad. Baker Mayfield is playing injured and looked terrible. The Browns have scored 20 points on their last 19 possessions. That’s not good. And two weeks ago, their defense got lit up by Mac Jones.
I don’t know how good the Ravens are. But the Browns just look like a team that might not have answers right now.
The pick: Ravens (-3.5)