After a disappointing loss to the Steelers last week, the Browns hit the road to take on another rival, the Baltimore Ravens.
Last week the Browns showed a lot of promise by only giving up 14 points to a very good offensive attack, and held their running game to a total of 35 yards, 32 by star running back, Le’Veon Bell. The offense struggled at times last week, and allowing rookie QB, DeShone Kizer to be sacked seven times, didn’t help. The Ravens were able to get to Bengal’s QB Andy Dalton for 5 sacks and also forced four interceptions.
The Brown’s o-line will need to protect Kizer, and Kizer needs to work on his internal clock, if they want to be in this game. The Baltimore defense will most likely bring a lot of blitzes to try and disrupt Kizer early and often. If Kizer and the offensive game plan can beat the blitz attack early, they may be able to force the defense to be a little bit less aggressive, and give the Browns a chance to open up the playbook a little bit more. I would expect to see a few deep passes early in the game to put the pressure on the Baltimore secondary.
Last week, Baltimore played very conservatively on offense. They only passed the ball 17 times, and ran the ball 42 times. That could play into the Brown’s favor, who have had a very good running defense, very early in the regular season and through the preseason. Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco missed the entire preseason due to injury, and most likely played conservatively last week to help ease him into the season. This was made possible by the Ravens jumping out to an early lead, and coasted to 20-0 victory.
This week should be a close game, but I do think the Ravens will come out on top. They should be able to get to Kizer early, and force him into some bad decisions. They will also keep the Browns’ running game in check, and prevent Cleveland from moving the ball in a balanced fashion. I do see the Browns keeping pressure on Flacco and their running game as well, but the Ravens will be able to make a few more plays, and that will make the difference. The Ravens will win this one 13-10 in a defense heavy victory.
What to watch for:
- Will the Browns offense be able to attack a very good Baltimore defense
- Will the Browns offensive line be able to protect Kizer and open up the running game
- Will Baltimore play more aggressively on offense
- Will Flacco air it out, and how will he respond this week to a stout defense