Having the number one power ranking on ESPN's website means nothing when you're going against a division rival. Division opponents know each other, they know each others tendencies, they know who's a player and who isn't. This isn't an automatic win for the Ravens, not even close.The Browns are coming in with an ugly mood intact. They've yet to win a game this season and know they've had success against this Ravens team many times in the past. I think they're going to bring their best.
I'm sure they've studied film from last weeks game against the Chargers and are scheming to get WR Braylon Edwards and TE Steve Heiden involved in their offese early, both of which are over 6 ft. 4. But, many of the Ravens problems in the secondary a week ago weren't always due to a mismatch in height but rather players not completing their assignments. And, the guiltiest of all was Ed Reed. Reed has started out slow the past couple seasons but has come on strong in the second half. Was there a better defensive player in the NFL in the second half of last season? But newly appointed Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison may have other plans for Reed this season, requiring him the play a solid Cover 2 instead of simply roamning the field looking to fool a quarterback into allowing him a pick.
When the Ravens offense has the ball
Who would have thought that the Ravens could score 69 points in two games? But if the Ravens are to topple the Browns then they have to continue on that course. The Browns defense is suspect against the run, and hasn't been fully tested against the pass. If Cam Cameron decides to mix it up from series to series the Browns defense could be in for a long day. Joe Flacco should have plenty of time to view the field and choose a receiver, and the runningbacks should be able to gain big time yardage against the Browns poor run defense.
When the Ravens defense has the ball
The secondary has to right the ship, and this could be the right opponent at the right time. The Browns don't have a stable of extremely tall receivers like the Chargers, and in fact their number one receiver Braylon Edwards hasn't shown he's over last sesons case of the dropsies. Their running game isn't very impressive, especialy with Jamal Lewis battling a ham string injury and looking like a shell of his former self.
The Ravens need to establish a decdent pass rush by their front 4 and give Brady Quinn too much to think about, such as do I try to make a play downfield, or do I duck and run for my life. Terrell Suggs needs to get himself in regular season form as missing nearly all of training camp seems to have set him behind. And Trevor Pryce neeeds to start making his presense felt as well. 1 1/2 sacks in 9 games isn't exactly setting the World on fire. Maybe it's time to see what Paul Kruger can add to the mix.
Joshua Cribbs has literaly destroyed the Ravens special teams in the past two meetings. You would think that with Ravens special teams coach Jerry Rosberg having coached Cribbs he would have an insight into how to counteract him, but apperently that's not the case. The Browns kicking game is solid with place kicker Phil Dawson and punter David Zastudil both being top tier guys. Overall this may be the best unit the Browns have. The Ravens meanwhile have been average at best on Special teams. Their coverage units have done a decent job but returning kickoffs and punts hasn't shown much promise.
This is a game the Ravens can win, but the forecast rain on Sunday could become a factor. You all know how it goes when teams play in the rain, receivers have the ball skip off their fingertips and into the hands of a waiting defender. Return men drop slippery balls and often times it's recovered by the kicking team. Stuff happens.
Still, I'm going to give the Ravens the benefit of the doubt and call this one;