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Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

Game: Cleveland Browns (5-4) vs. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
Where: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
When: 1:00 PM EST
Announcers: Ian Eagle/Solomon Wilcots (CBS)

Are we getting tired of facing teams with tough run defenses? Or, maybe we're just starting to get tired of the lack of yardage being put up by Jamal Lewis. After a crushing loss on the road to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, the Browns can't afford to let their guard down against the Baltimore Ravens today. The Ravens have been playing bad football this season against any team that has a winning record, and they are currently 0-4 in the division. A loss to the Browns today would officially end the Ravens' playoff hopes, and set us up for a stretch of what is considered an "easy schedule". The Browns are only 1-3 on the road this year though, meaning nothing can be taken for granted. Let's get to the breakdown of this week's game...


Category Browns Ravens
Points Scored 28.3 (4th) 15.3 (28th)
Passing 239.9 (10th) 195.9 (21st)
Rushing 103.0 (18th) 100.0 (19th)
Total Offense (yards) 342.9 (11th) 295.9 (23rd)


Category Browns Ravens
Points Scored 29.3 (32nd) 19.7 (11th)
Passing 272.8 (31st) 203.3 (12th)
Rushing 137.8 (28th) 73.7 (2nd)
Total Defense (yards) 410.6 (32nd) 277.0 (5th)
- Quarterback
The Baltimore Ravens are going back to Kyle Boller this week after Steve McNair suffered a shoulder injury last week. The Ravens haven't had a good quarterback since returning to the league, and this year's platoon between the two has possibly been the worst in the team's history. As a team, Baltimore quarterbacks have only thrown five touchdowns in nine games. Derek Anderson threw three first half touchdown last week against the Steelers, but then proceeded to cool off in the second half. Anderson picked apart the Ravens' secondary earlier this season, and ideally his improved maturity will allow him to do the same this time around despite being on the road.
- Running Back
The Browns have really only had a "solid" running game in one game this season: Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Is that because our offensive line isn't as good at run blocking, because we're always finding ourselves behind in the first half due to our defense, or because Jamal Lewis simply isn't getting it done? We had the lead last week, and we all saw what Lewis did. I hope Jerome Harrison is active again this week, because we need a spark on the ground again. The Ravens continue to have a consistent threat in Willis McGahee, who would've ripped us badly in Week 4 if the Ravens hadn't decided to throw the ball so often.
- Receiver
A few more blunders have begun to add up for Braylon Edwards, but overall, the chemistry between him and Anderson is still strong. Edwards was able to burn the Ravens' secondary earlier this season when they were without Samari Rolle, and they'll get that same opportunity today considering he's out again. The Ravens still haven't found many threats since the last time these two teams met: Derrick Mason is still the team's top receiver, but he doesn't catch the deep ball and he has less chemistry with Boller than McNair. Todd Heap probably won't play due to injury, but backup Quinn Sypniewski had some success against our linebackers and safeties in Week 4.
- Offensive Line
There didn't seem to be any ill effects from Seth McKinney leaving the lineup last week as Ryan Tucker filled in nicely for him. Anderson was pressured in the second half, but overall he was kept clean just as he has been all year. It's a shame that we won't face McNair this week, because he had been using his offensive line quite poorly, losing seven fumbles this season, several of them coming against the Bengals. Jonathan Ogden will be in the lineup for the Ravens after being banged up the past several times he's faced the Browns. He hasn't been his dominating self the past few years, but against our defensive line he shouldn't have much of a problem.

Defensive Line
The Browns' defensive line recorded a season-high two sacks, but they also allowed Ben Roethlisberger to run for a career high in rushing yards. An interesting story is developing with the Browns' line this week though, because Shaun Smith is "out" with a knee injury. That means that Orpheus Roye could see a heavier workload, and we may also see action from Louis Leonard for the first time this season. The Ravens' line still outclasses our line though with Haloti Ngata, Kelley Gregg, and Trevor Pryce leading the front of the second-ranked run defense in the league.

- Linebacker
Willie McGinest did a poor job of executing last week when he was in position to make a play. The Browns would love to see D'Qwell Jackson return to action this week, but he is still a game-time decision. I was encouraged by the linebackers blitzing up the middle more often last week at times, and I hope to see some more of that against Boller since he doesn't have as good of a pocket presence. Like the defensive line though, the Ravens outclass the Browns here with the likes of Ray Lewis and Bart Scott. Will we see an appearance from Kamerion Wimbley this week? He's almost been absent from pressures on opposing quarterbacks this season.
- Secondary
Week by week, Eric Wright seems to be getting better. Week by week, Leigh Bodden is making more plays. Week by week, the safeties are no longer getting burned deep. And yet, week by week, opposing quarterbacks are picking us apart underneath because the Browns have shifted to the bend but don't break philosophy. Hopefully, since the Ravens don't really pose a threat to go deep, our players in the secondary can take some more chances on jumping routes. The Ravens will be without Samari Rolle at cornerback, but they'll have Chris McAlister and Ed Reed ready for action.
- Special Teams
Joshua Cribbs is amazing, and the NFL has officially "noticed", because there has been talk all week now that team's are going to start kicking away from him. It'll be annoying to see Cribbs not get many chances on traditional returns anymore, but I'm also intrigued to see what philosophy we came up with to counter the short kicks. Will we activate Harrison and place him back there as an up man? Will Cribbs play shorter to bait them to kick it deep? We'll see. Matt Stover missed a pair of field goals against us the last time these two teams met, but we can't bank on that occurring again.
FINAL PREDICTION: Cleveland Browns 27, Baltimore Ravens 13.
Same score as last time. Too many people make a big deal about poor offenses finding their grooves against teams that have a lot of holes on defense. While that may cause certain teams, like the Ravens, to be more aggressive early on in games such as this one, the downfalls are seen later in the game, when they can't put the games away. Baltimore's bad on offense, no matter which quarterback they start, because nobody on the team can make a play beyond ten yards. The Ravens are still hurting defensively, and Derek Anderson was already able to pick them apart earlier this season with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow. After a tough road loss to the Steelers last week, the Ravens won't find any ground against Cleveland.

This is the official gameday topic for the tenth game of the regular season, featuring the Cleveland Browns against the Baltimore Ravens. All comments regarding the game should be posted in this topic. Enjoy the game, and GO BROWNS!!!