Watson makes home debut as Browns host first-place Ravens

December 15, 2022 GMT
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

BALTIMORE (9-4) at CLEVELAND (5-8)

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST, NFL Network

FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Browns by 3,

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Ravens 5-7-1; Browns 6-7.

SERIES RECORD: Ravens lead 35-12.

LAST MEETING: Ravens beat Browns 23-20 on Oct. 23 in Baltimore.

LAST WEEK: Ravens beat Steelers 16-14; Browns lost to Bengals 23-10.

RAVENS OFFENSE: OVERALL (14, RUSH (3, PASS (27), SCORING (12)

RAVENS DEFENSE: OVERALL (12), RUSH (2), PASS (26), SCORING (8)

BROWNS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (5), PASS (18), SCORING (13)

BROWNS DEFENSE: OVERALL (17), RUSH (22), PASS (16), SCORING (27)

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Ravens plus-9; Browns minus-5.

RAVENS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB J.K. Dobbins returned from a six-game absence and rushed for 120 yards last weekend against Pittsburgh. It was easily his biggest contribution since injuring his knee during the 2021 preseason. The running game is even more important than usual for the Ravens as they manage injuries to QBs Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley.

BROWNS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Deshaun Watson makes his home debut after playing twice on the road following his reinstatement from an 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct allegations. Watson played much better on Sunday in Cincinnati, but has only led Cleveland’s offense to one touchdown in eight quarters. With the Browns’ playoff hopes nearly over, the final four weeks are about getting him ready for 2023.

KEY MATCHUP: Browns offensive line vs. Ravens defensive front. Injuries have taken a toll on perhaps Cleveland’s best unit, which had a rough time against the Bengals while being penalized five times — three for holding.

KEY INJURIES: Jackson hurt his knee two weekends ago and missed the game against the Steelers. Huntley started instead but left in the third quarter and entered concussion protocol. Anthony Brown was next in line, making his NFL debut and completing three passes for 16 yards. Huntley returned to practice this week and appears in line to start. ... Ravens RG Kevin Zeitler (knee) and P Jordan Stout (knee) are questionable. ... Browns LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his left foot last week. He’s the fourth Cleveland starting linebacker to sustain a season-ending injury. ... Browns top WR Amari Cooper is dealing with a core muscle injury that slowed him against the Bengals and limited him during a short practice week. ... Browns rookie WR David Bell (toe) is questionable.

SERIES NOTES: Baltimore has dominated, winning 23 of the past 28 matchups. ... Ravens coach John Harbaugh is 24-5 against the Browns, and 11-3 in Cleveland. ... The Ravens won 11 straight against the Browns from 2008-13.

STATS AND STUFF: Since acquiring LB Roquan Smith on Nov. 1, Baltimore’s defense has allowed the fewest rushing yards (55.0), the second-fewest points (13.4) and second-fewest touchdowns (six). ... Smith has 37 tackles, two sacks and an interception in five games with Baltimore. ... K Justin Tucker is tied with Matt Stover for the Ravens’ career lead with 354 field goals. ... Baltimore is one of four teams (Rams, Vikings and 49ers) that have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. Nick Chubb managed 91 for the Browns in October. ... The Ravens have scored in 332 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. ... Baltimore DL Calais Campbell blocked the ninth field goal of his career last weekend, the most among active players. He also needs one sack to reach 100. ... The Ravens haven’t trailed by more than seven points at any point this season. Cleveland and Tampa Bay both led by a touchdown in games Baltimore ultimately won. ... Baltimore hasn’t had a TD scored by one of its WRs since Week 3. ... Cleveland’s remote playoff chances more or less ended with last week’s loss. The Browns haven’t been mathematically eliminated, but are close. ... Watson played through a wild winter storm in 2020 in his only previous start at FirstEnergy Stadium. ... Watson lost both starts against Baltimore while with Houston. He completed 43 of 65 passes for 444 yards in the two matchups with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Ravens sacked him 10 times. ... Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones set career highs with receptions (eight) and yards (114) last week. However, he couldn’t pull down a fourth down pass for a TD that could have brought the Browns within six points in the fourth quarter. ... Chubb has only rushed for more than 100 once in nine games (165 in 2019) against Baltimore. ... Chubb is second in the NFL with 12 rushing TDs. ... Browns DE Myles Garrett sacked Joe Burrow last week and has 12 this season. Garrett has 4 1/2 sacks in nine games against Baltimore. He scored his only career TD on a 15-yard fumble return after a strip-sack of Jackson last season.

FANTASY TIP: Now healthy, Dobbins could be in line for a monster day against Cleveland’s porous run defense, which has been a problem most of the season. The Browns have given up at least 160 yards rushing five times.

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