Week 2 Preview: Browns vs. Ravens

| September 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

Ravens Week 2 Preview

Cleveland Browns (0-1)

At

Baltimore Ravens (0-1)

RavensSunday at 1pm, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore MD

Honestly I wasn’t sure I would be writing this preview, or even that this game would get played, because based on everything I was hearing from people last Friday the season was over – Tyrod Taylor should start and the world was going to end. It was one game, relax! Sure, it was a bad second half but there are 15 more games in the season and the Ravens likely will win the majority of them.

If Ravens fans think our game was bad and our team has question marks, how about being a Cleveland fan and watching your team look absolutely awful in losing to the Dolphins at home and then having to watch them travel to Baltimore for the Ravens home opener.  The line for this game opened with the Ravens favored by 6.5 points, which to me is way too low.  Sure, the Ravens looked bad in Denver but to think they can’t beat the Browns at home by a touchdown and extra point is pretty ridiculous.  However, with all that being said, the NFL is a week-to-week league and, on any given Sunday, any team can win… it just won’t be the Browns this Sunday.

Here is my take on the game:

Ravens offense vs. Browns defense:

I love Joe Flacco and believe the offense should center on him, but if he has to throw 62 passes a game, like he did in Week 1, this offense is in trouble. The Ravens were down big in the 2nd half but Flacco had already thrown a ton of passes prior to that, as Ray Rice was basically non- existent.

The Browns defense is actually very good and they yielded just 20 rushing yards in their opener. However, with all due respect, Lamar Miller is no Ray Rice and the Ravens should provide a much stiffer test.  Something tells me there will be a heavy dose of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce on Sunday. If the Browns can stop them, they will be in the game. If they can’t, it won’t be close. It is as simple as that. Joe Flacco and the receivers will still need to play well but this game will be contingent on the Ravens being successful in the run game and getting Ray Rice touches.

Advantage:  Ravens

Browns offense vs. Ravens defense:

Every man is allowed to have one or two man crushes and anyone who knows me clearly knows that one of mine Is Trent Richardson. When he played at Alabama there was a sign outside of the stadium that said “honk if Trent Richardson broke one of your tackles.” Simply put, the guy is a beast. But, unfortunately for him, he is all the Browns have on offense.

Brandon Weeden attempted 53 passes in Week 1, completing 29 (26 to his team and 3 to the Dolphins). He finished the game with a QBR of 16.2.  The Ravens defense can pin their ears back and know they can rush and probably get to the quarterback and force him into mistakes. They can put eight men in the box to stop Richardson because the Browns don’t have the receivers that the Broncos have.  The secondary should be able to cover the Browns receivers in man coverage one-on-one the entire game and should have success.

Until Josh Gordon comes back next week (who also happens to be on four of my fantasy teams), the Browns offense will struggle to find a playmaker in the pass game.  I expect Richardson to get some yards but he will likely be a non-factor in the 2nd half due to the ineffectiveness of Brandon Weeden and the score. If Weeden continues to struggle, the Browns may be better off trying to win the “Teddy Bridgewater sweepstakes” in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Advantage:  Ravens

Special Teams:

If anyone out there has any hard-hitting analysis on who has the advantage in special teams in this match up, please step forward. I only really know two things regarding the special teams: 1) the Ravens lost their best return man due to their own player running into him and 2) Justin Tucker and Sam Koch are probably better than anyone Cleveland has on special teams. With Jacoby Jones out for six weeks, the return game is a major concern and someone will need to step up. Certainly nobody the Ravens put back there to return punts or kicks will be as good as Jacoby Jones, but they just have to be decent and try and get past the 20 yard line once in a while.

Due to Tucker and Koch, I give the advantage to the Ravens.

Advantage: Ravens

Prediction:

The Monday after Week 1 in the NFL was dubbed “overreaction Monday” by SportsCenter and I could not think of a better title. Clearly everyone is right to expect that it will be a Chiefs vs. Eagles Super Bowl given their Week 1 performances, correct? Well luckily for the Ravens, one game does not make a season.

I have heard people tell me “it’s a division game, the Ravens always play down to their opponents” …yadda, yadda, yadda. Unless I am missing something, this game shouldn’t be close. A major factor not being looked at is that this is the Ravens home opener. They have one of the best home field advantages in football and they will be raising the Super Bowl Champions banner. The Ravens have more talent and the home field advantage and will be fueled with a lot energy from the crowd. So, tell me how exactly a team that lost to the Dolphins in Week 1 with Brandon Weeden as their quarterback will keep this game close? THEY WON’T. This game will be a laugher with the Browns getting a late touchdown (hopefully by Trent Richardson for my fantasy teams sake) to keep it somewhat respectable.

Ravens 31 Browns 17

Follow Marco on twitter @mromanell and Southbmore.com @southbmore1

 
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About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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