Vikings to sink Cleveland at Twickenham

 
Steve Baumohl
Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
Joe Thomas will be a real miss for Cleveland (Source: Getty)

Minnesota Vikings v Cleveland Browns (Twickenham Stadium)

Sunday 2.30pm

We say goodbye to the final NFL International Series on Sunday as Cleveland host Minnesota at Twickenham.

Whilst we expect the Vikings to be stout against the run, it probably comes as a surprise that the Browns are even stronger when defending the run - allowing a stingy three yards per carry.

However, that’s the only bright spot for the team. There’s a saying in NFL that “when you have three quarterbacks, you have none” and this is very apt for the Browns, who have no offensive identity.

Their passing game is struggling and it just became even harder as all-world offensive tackle Joe Thomas is now on the injured reserve list.

Facing a ferocious Minnesota pass rush is a complete mismatch and I can’t see the Browns being able to put up a fight.

Cleveland are also allowing a quarterback rating of 106 and a 70 per cent quarterback completion rate so expect Case Keenum (who has been quietly playing well) to have success.

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens

Friday 1.25am

Possessed of a poor offense and a strong defense is a description which neatly sums up both the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore have a stronger pass defense, whilst Miami are better at stopping the run (allowing only 3.6 yards per carry).

It’s safe to say that Joe Flacco has not lived up to his post-Super Bowl contract. His play and all-round accuracy are declining, and this year he has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. It also doesn’t help that his primary receivers haven’t been able to stay fit for most of the campaign.

However, there is an opportunity here for Flacco, as Miami are giving up a 103 rating to opposing quarterbacks.

The Dolphins are starting Matt Moore in place of Jay Cutler (cracked ribs) and although he can be an efficient quarterback, a second road trip in a short week presents Moore with an uphill battle.

The one shining light for Baltimore is their secondary (allowing only 55 per cent of successful passes, and an average QB rating of 70). With Jay Ajayi struggling for form, and the possible return of Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams, we could see Miami struggle to score many points.

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins

Sunday 9.25pm

Dallas played their best game of the year on Sunday beating the San Francisco 49ers and now travel cross-country to the nation's capital.

Washington, especially at home, can be a difficult opponent to play against as they boast an underrated front seven and can be tricky to run on.

With stud cornerback Josh Norman coming back from injury, this defense should be able to slow down the Dallas offense.

On the other side, Dallas is slowly improving their sack rate and Demarcus Lawrence is having a fantastic season.

He could cause trouble for the Washington offensive line as they are a bit banged up, but Cousins is playing well and his receivers will be able to find separation against the poor Dallas secondary.

POINTERS

Minnesota -9.5 v Cleveland 20/21

Baltimore -3 v Miami 25/27

Washington win v Dallas 21/20

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.