|2009 Browns at Ravens Point Spread Odds & Matchup Report|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:32|
Baltimore, MD - Even if the team's offense wasn't scoring at its current pace, Ray Lewis wouldn't be too concerned about the numbers that opponents are piling up against the Baltimore Ravens defense.
Statistics don't drive the All-Pro linebacker. Wins do.
Lewis and the Ravens look to improve to 3-0 for the first time in three seasons Sunday when they host a struggling Cleveland Browns team with one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BetOnline have made the Ravens -13 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on the Ravens -13 (View NFL bet percentages).
Maybe more surprising than quarterback Joe Flacco leading Baltimore to its most points (69) in consecutive games since December 2005 is the defense yielding 50 points in the first two weeks.
The Ravens were 11th in scoring (24.1 ppg) and third in scoring defense (15.3) last season.
They ranked second in the league with 261.1 yards allowed per game, but that has risen to 331.0 in 2009. Baltimore surrendered 474 in Sunday's 31-26 win at San Diego, the most it has allowed since 2001.
"I've been in games where we've held people to 150 yards. That's cute. Stats are pretty," Lewis said Sunday after making 10 tackles. "But if you don't win, you're sick. Bottom line is, when we didn't let them in the end zone, that's our victory. That's championship football."
Lewis helped clinch last week's win by tackling Darren Sproles for a loss on fourth down in the final minute. It was San Diego's fifth trip inside Baltimore's 20-yard line on which it failed to score a touchdown.
"That was a pretty special play," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "When you take into account the moment - like Ray said, a play had to be made by them or by us."
The only time Baltimore opened 3-0 came in 2006 when it finished with a franchise-best 13-3 record.
The Ravens lead the NFL in rush defense, allowing 41.0 yards per game. They haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 37 straight games, and now they might avoid having to face Jamal Lewis.
Lewis, who rushed for 7,801 yards and 45 touchdowns with Baltimore from 2000-06, is questionable with a hamstring injury. He had 38 of the Browns' 54 rushing yards in Sunday's 27-6 loss at Denver after suffering a neck stinger in a 34-20 loss to Minnesota in Week 1.
No other Cleveland player has more than five rushing attempts.
The Browns (0-2) are averaging a league-worst 234.0 yards per game and are tied with Washington for the second-fewest points (26).
"We practice hard. We worked hard and it felt like we were moving in the right direction both weeks, especially last week, so Sunday definitely was a shock to us for the way we practiced," said wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who caught six passes for 92 yards. "It's going to take guys to make up their mind on game day to do what we do during the week and bring that to the field on Sundays."
That includes Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, who went 18 of 31 for 161 yards with an interception Sunday after guiding Cleveland to 268 yards of total offense in the season opener.
Coach Eric Mangini, though, said he does not intend to give Quinn's job to Derek Anderson.
"It starts with the quarterback, usually that's what everybody looks at and typically they get the lion's share of the credit and the lion's share of the blame," Mangini said. "But as you watch any play, it comes down to everybody doing what they're supposed to be doing in that spot."
Flacco is enjoying a far more successful second season than Quinn, who has been sacked nine times.
After helping the Ravens reach the AFC championship game in 2008, when he went 13-6 as a starter, Flacco has completed 62.3 percent (43 of 69) of his passes for 497 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Baltimore is third in the NFL with 406.0 yards per game and second to New Orleans in scoring.
Willis McGahee is tied for the league lead with four TDs, three rushing. His 123 rushing yards are second on the team to starter Ray Rice (144), but McGahee has accepted his backup role after running for a career-low 671 yards in 2008.
"I think I was losing hair last year worrying about what was going on," McGahee said. "But right now, no worries. It's all about having fun and staying healthy, and that's what we're doing right now."
The Ravens are ranked fourth in the NFL with 164.0 rushing yards per game.
Baltimore has won seven of 10 at home all-time against Cleveland. In the Ravens' 28-10 win over the visiting Browns on Sept. 21, 2008, Cleveland had 169 yards of total offense.
Posted: 9/23/09 11:25PM ET