The Baltimore Ravens have had a great deal of success against the Cleveland Browns, winning the last ten games against their divisional opponent. But that does not mean that Sunday’s matchup is a definite win for the Ravens.
Here’s a look at how the Ravens and the Browns match up.
Joe Flacco is looking to connect better with his receivers. Flacco threw 62 passes in the season opener, a career-high for the six-year veteran.
The Ravens lost wide receiver Jacoby Jones last week due to a sprained MCL and are testing possibilities for the best replacement. Torrey Smith and Ed Dickson are likely to see a decent amount of throws their way as starters, but tight end Dallas Clark could play more of a role for the Ravens than expected. Clark turned out to be a more reliable tight end than Dickson against the Broncos and could potentially be one of the best options for Flacco in the coming weeks.
The Browns are without one of their go-to receivers, Josh Gordon, due to a drug-related suspension. But tight end Jordan Cameron has stepped up and could be a threat to the Ravens secondary after catching 9 passes for 108 yards last week against Miami.
Ravens offensive line vs. Kruger
Offensive tackle Michael Oher was sidelined with an ankle injury during the matchup with Denver after teammate Marshal Yanda accidentally rolled into him. But Oher has has been a full participant in Ravens practice this week.
With the offensive line in order, one of the main focuses on Sunday afternoon should be on Browns linebacker Paul Kruger. Kruger spent four years in Baltimore and not has the chance to play against his old team.
But it won’t be easy.
Kruger’s main focus is to get to Flacco in any way possible. However, he will be matched up against one of three offensive linemen: Michael Oher, Marshal Yanda, or Rick Wagner. Oher and Wagner will be on the outside protecting Flacco. If Kruger tries to take a shot in the middle, he’ll have to face Yanda.
Rice vs. Richardson
Both teams neglected the run game in their season openers. Running back Ray Rice only had 12 carries for 36 yards against the Broncos, while the Browns running back Trent Richardson had 13 carries for 47 yards.
Both teams have been struggling on offense this season. Flacco has had trouble building chemistry and connecting with his new receiver and Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden is having a shaky start to the season. So with these difficulties, it’s still questionable as to why the teams have yet to utilize their running backs.
The team typically excels in the run game, but against the Broncos and their defensive scheme, running the ball may not have been the way to go. It won’t be easy against the Browns, either. But look for the Ravens to use Rice more in Sunday’s game.