It’s the ratbirds; I wouldn’t miss it. Last week the Browns beat the Lions and the Ravens beat the Bears. The Cleveland Browns travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens this Sunday night at 7:20 pm CST. What am I watching this week?
Browns Defense Vs. Ravens Offense. Baltimore is ranked third in total offense in the NFL, averaging 252 yards passing, 151 yards rushing and 25 points a game. The Raven’s offense is powered by former NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. He leads Baltimore in passing with 2447 yards and rushing with 639 yards. Jackson has thrown for 14 touchdowns and rushed for another two. He’s thrown eight interceptions and been sacked 28 times. Jackson’s two favorite targets in the passing game are wide receiver Marquise Brown (719 yards & six touchdowns) and tight end Mark Andrews (696 yards & four touchdowns). The Browns will need to make Jackson uncomfortable in the passing game and contain him in the running game. The defense needs to pressure Jackson and force him to throw the ball. Defensive end’s Jadeveon Clowney, Myles Garrett, Takk McKinley, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and S Grant Delpit have to account for Jackson at all times. Garrett and Clowney are number one and two in highest pass-rush win rates for edge defenders. Garrett at 27% and Clowney at 26%. CB Denzel Ward needs to cover Marquise Browns and I would have CB Greedy Williams follow Mark Andrews all game. The Ravens are number one in the league in third-down conversions. Other players to watch are LB Malcolm Smith, CB Troy Hill, S Ronnie Harrison and S John Johnson, III.
Browns Offense Vs. Ravens Defense. Baltimore’s defense is ranked 25th in the NFL allowing 281 yards passing, 87 yards rushing and 23 points a game. The Raven’s defense may not be as good as last year, however, they’re still good and very aggressive. The Ravens are third in blitzes (34.3 %) and fourth in pressures (28%) per dropback. According to Pro Football Focus, Baltimore has the 13th best pass-rush grade in the league at 75.5. With the return of right tackle Jack Conklin and running back Kareem Hunt, the Browns need to utilize the screen pass and quarterback rollouts. When using designed roll-out plays, the Browns have a 75% catchable rate and a 5.9% touchdown rate. As for screenplays, the Browns rank number one in positive play percentage at 72.1% and second in passer rating at 114.7. Cleveland’s offensive line will have to protect QB Baker Mayfield when he stays in the pocket. LT Jedrick Wills must stop Baltimore’s talented rookie edge defender Odafe Oweh who leads all rookie edge defenders with 34 pressures. Other players to watch are RB Nick Chubb, TE David Njoku, TE Austin Ho0per, RB/WR Demetric Felton, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and WR Jarvis Landry.
Some fans claim the Ravens are the luckiest team in the NFL; I would disagree. They’re a clutch team that has benefited from being a stable franchise. Baltimore this year has won five games when facing a fourth quarter deficit. They’re 4-0 in games decided by three points or less and 5-1 in games decided by seven points or less. The Browns will need to play their best and most complete game this year. Everyone enjoy the game.