The Cleveland Browns travel to the Black Hole fresh off their first win since Christmas Eve of 2016. Jon Gruden will try to rally his winless Raiders at home, and attempt to get them off the schneid.
The Browns were bolstered by rookie Baker Mayfield in their comeback 21-17 win against the Jets, bringing their record to 1-1-1 on the season. They previously tied the Steelers in week 1, and lost to the Saints 21-18 in week 2.
The Raiders are still looking for their first W of the 2018 season, fresh off a 28-20 loss in Miami to the 3-0 Dolphins. The Raiders lost week 1 to the Rams 33-13, and lost against the Broncos 20-19 in week 2.
Bovada has the Raiders as 3 point favourites at home, with an Over/Under total set at 45.
Baker Mayfield has arrived, and the Browns long standing quarterback woes appear to be over. Mayfield showed all the ability that made him the first overall pick, completing 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards in just over a half of play.
The Browns offense was immediately transformed by the injection of Mayfield into the lineup, as he was dotting receivers across the field and creating windows were there was none. Granted, the Jets spent the week prepping for Tyrod Taylor, but the arm talent and confidence Mayfield possesses can carry this Browns offense a long way.
Carlos Hyde spent his birthday in good spirits, as he rushed for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. I still hold to the belief that Cleveland needs to find a way to get Duke Johnson involved a bit more, as Johnson is an absolute playmaker in open space. Johnson was outsnapped 45 to 29 by Hyde on Thursday.
This defense is solid man. Larry Ogunjobi and Myles Garrett have proved to be a tough pass-rushing duo, combining for 18 pressures and 7 sacks already this season. Rookie defensive back Denzel Ward continues to be a playmaker, as he forced a fumble Thursday night and continues to limit yards after the catch of receivers in his coverage.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
LB Christian Kirksey (ankle)- did not play Thursday, unsure how serious it is, EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle)- did not play Thursday, unsure how serious it is, QB Tyrod Taylor (concussion)- suffered Thursday, once cleared he will serve as backup
This Raiders team just cannot get over the hump. After leading in the 2nd half of consecutive game, Oakland has just struggled down the stretch of games defensively, and playcalling has resulted in a few dead drives deep in opposing territory.
After a slow start, Derek Carr started to let it loose the last 2 weeks, throwing for 288 and 345 in each week. The offense has had little issue moving the ball, but Jon Gruden’s red zone playcalling has been suspect. The Raiders are 4 for 8 this season in the redzone, and have been stuffed on 4th and goal in consecutive weeks. Turnovers have also been an issue, as the Raiders own a -4 turnover differential.
The defense is exactly what we thought they were after trading away Khalil Mack. The front struggles to get pressure, and only has 3 sacks on the season. They have only forced one turnover on the season, an easy Rashaan Melvin interception.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
S Karl Joseph (hamstring)- left game Sunday, expected to miss at least a game, CB Daryl Worley (suspension)- last week of suspension, DT PJ Hall (ankle)- did not play Sunday, expected to return this week
Matchups to Watch
Browns WR Jarvis Landry vs Raiders CB Gareon Conley,
Browns OL vs Raiders DL
Raiders OT Kolton Miller vs Browns EDGE Myles Garrett
Raiders TE Jared Cook vs Browns S/LBs
The Browns are gonna be riding high off that win last week, and have the extra rest from playing on the Thursday night. On the other side, the Raiders will be playing desperate to get that first win.
Call us homers, but Baker Mayfield makes this Cleveland Browns squad a whole new team. Now, he’s going to face growing pains at some point this season, but there is no reason they should occur against a below average Raiders defense. He might not light it up against Oakland, but the Browns will move the ball with ease behind Baker’s arm and their running game.
The Raiders offense is being a bit underrated right now. Marshawn Lynch has done some tough running for Oakland, though the stats may not show it, as he has been getting hit in the backfield fairly often. Jon Gruden may be a bit behind the curve as a play caller, but he can still scheme things open for Derek Carr and the Raiders should find success out of the backfield and over the middle of the field.
The Raiders own a healthy home field advantage, and I could see a couple scenarios where Oakland walks out of this game with their first win. I still think the Browns own advantages on both sides of the ball (wow that feels weird to say), and will keep this
game very close either way.
Final Pick: Browns (+3)