Ravens: Don't assume anything
It's pretty tempting to look at Monday night's game against the Cleveland Browns as a break in the schedule, but you might want to check with the Green Bay Packers and their fans about the folly of assuming that a struggling team will continue to struggle.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the longest money-line bet on the board in Las Vegas over the weekend, paying 4-1 for a straight up victory. The Packers were about a 10-point favorite going into Sunday's game in Tampa. The Ravens are listed as a 10 1/2 to 11-point favorite Monday night in Cleveland.
Strange things happen on Monday nights, but the Ravens should be able to handle the Browns before a short week of preparation for a visit from the Colts.
Browns coach Eric Mangini said on his conference call today that the Ravens are pretty much the same team that trounced the Browns earlier this year at M&T Bank Stadium, even though they've lost four of their last five games.
"They present a lot of the same challenges,'' he said. "I really like the (offensive) system that they run. They've got a lot of good skills players."
The defense certainly doesn't look like the same one that stifled Browns quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson the first time around, but Mangini dismissed the notion that the Ravens will be more vulnerable this time.
"You go through different periods,'' he said, "but that is a good defensive football team."
Guess we'll see.