Each week throughout the 2023 NFL Season, coach Kevin Kelley will give a coach’s perspective and provide analysis for a few games against the spread.
Week 4 starts with me thinking, and I haven’t yet, just don’t bet against the Dolphins.
Besides the speed, the players, and the shock the defenses must be in when they walk out on the field, their play design and calling are the best in the league right now.
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Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens Spread Prediction:
Look for the Cleveland Browns to cover the spread as a home favorite of -3.
Why I like the Browns to cover the spread vs. the Ravens in Week 4:
I would not have guessed I would be talking about Myles Garrett and the defense first in a Browns article. Well maybe Garrett, but they have given up one TD this year so far.
They gave up three total points to Joe Burrow and the Bengals. They gave up three points to Ryan Tannehill and the Titans. They gave up a couple of field goals and one TD to George Pickens and the Steelers.
Now, the offense has given up two TDs on a pick-six that was a little bit of a fluke and a scoop and score by T.J. Watt.
The Browns defense is ranked No.1 in DVOA right now. Garrett is a terror, and they are moving him around and really putting pressure on offenses when they have to throw the ball.
And with the defense playing well, they are forcing them into some bad down and distance situations so they have to throw the ball. There they rank in the top 10 in sacks.
My friend Warren Sharp put out a tweet Wednesday that talked about the 212 NFL drives this season that have resulted in a TD. Only on 13 of them (6.1%) did the offense allow a sack. “Sack avoidance is massive,” he says. I agree completely.
there have been 212 TD drives this season
on only 13 of them (6.1%) did the offense allow a sack
the lowest rate of TD drives allowing a sack we've seen since 2016
sack avoidance is massive
% of drives an offense allows at least one sack in 2023:
37% – Washington Commanders…
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 27, 2023
Over my last few years coaching, my teams scored a TD 88% of the time in the first half (subs often in during the second half). When we had a sack, that number went to 8%. So the best offensive team out of over 16,000 high schools was reduced from 88 to 8 in percentage chance to score a TD. I believe in them.
Even when not sacked, putting pressure on the quarterback makes them all perform worse over the long haul. I feel like that is where Cleveland is right now.
I will say that Baltimore and Lamar Jackson will be a good offense in my opinion. But with Todd Monken being new with them as offensive coordinator, they just are not good yet. They are No. 11 in offense DVOA, but you just see glitches and struggles when you watch. I still think they are struggling to determine or even find out what their identity is.
On offense, we are seeing a little more consistency with Deshaun Watson now that he has a few games under his belt. He was 27 of 33 for 289 yards and 2 TDs last week. He carried the ball four times as well, and I like where he is picking his spots.
I think Pierre Strong and Jerome Ford can cushion the loss of Nick Chubb, especially pass-catching out of the backfield.
The Ravens defense is No. 5 in DVOA, which is really good, but I am still not convinced as to who they are on the back end of that defense.
I like what Cleveland did last week with the passing game, and I think they can challenge them and knock them down a couple of notches.
And maybe the biggest thing I like about this matchup is that the Ravens are dead last in explosive pass plays on offense. You just cannot win consistently doing that.
I think the Browns win this game with Watson having another game like he did last week.