This Saturday, the Cleveland Browns take on the Baltimore Ravens. To help preview a few topics from the Ravens’ perspective, we reached out to Kyle Barber from Baltimore Beatdown and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns are 3-point favorites against the Ravens.
Chris: “Who does it sound like will start for the Ravens at quarterback this week? We know what type of player Lamar Jackson is, so maybe tell us more about Tyler Huntley and undrafted rookie Anthony Brown, in the event either one of them ends up starting.”
Kyle: “I’m expecting Tyler Huntley to be the starting quarterback for Saturday. Huntley has cleared concussion protocol and was a full participant in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Both Huntley and Anthony Brown are similar players to Lamar Jackson in their respective builds. According to Ravens Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, both can operate the same playbook as Jackson with only slight modification for certain traits.
Huntley, unlike Jackson, appears to throw to the boundary with more frequency. He has quite a rapport with wide receiver Demarcus Robinson. Huntley is rather quick with his progressions and if he finds nothing quickly, you’ll see him rollout to run. Jackson traditionally hangs back determined to air it out before breaking loose. This is where Jackson and Huntley differ most.
I don’t have much on Brown as he was practicing with the third-team in training camp and the preseason, and threw only five passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.”
Chris: “Even though the Ravens have won six of their last seven games, that loss was yet another fourth quarter collapse to the Jaguars. What happened to close out that game?”
Kyle: “A big part of the Ravens’ defensive struggles has to do with the side opposite of Humphrey. Cornerback Marcus Peters has struggled in his return from an ACL injury and at times has been a liability. This, and the Ravens cornerback depth writ-large has been cumbersome. Another part was simply Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence being that good and having a great coach. The Jaguars have a plethora of wide receiver weapons and the Ravens were stretched too thin.”
Chris: “Of course interceptions are very important, and the Ravens’ defense had three of them last week — but they also seemed to allow the Steelers to drive the ball into Ravens territory on their final seven possessions of the game. Three ended in interceptions, two ended in touchdowns, one ended with a punt, and one ended in a missed field goal. Even though Baltimore came up with enough stops, were they also struggling a bit until those big plays?”
Kyle: “Part of the struggles against the Steelers came from an uncharacteristically bad game from cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who allowed four receptions for 115 yards. This allowed the Steelers to get into plus territory.
The other half is the Ravens’ defense has shown inconsistency. They can be world-beaters for multiple quarters and then crumble when they need a stop. They can also struggle for a half and then batten down the hatches for the second half, leaving you wondering where that was the first part of the game. But, right now, they are generating takeaways and are formidable in all areas.”
Chris: “Comparing the last time the Browns faced the Ravens, are there any other injury-related changes we should be aware of (additions or subtractions), besides the quarterback position?”
Kyle: “The Ravens will have star free agent safety Marcus Williams back on the field. He has four interceptions in six games with the Ravens, and it feels like he’ll have a pick in each game with just how well he plays the position. If Watson tests the Ravens defense deep, Watson poses a great risk in throwing it with Williams on the back end.
Running back J.K. Dobbins will be back for this game, and he demonstrated how improved he feels following the knee scope he underwent in late October. Though he’s not 100-percent, he can still explode for 44 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Ravens will not have wide receiver Rashod Bateman for this game, but they will have wide receiver DeSean Jackson.”
Chris: “The Browns are early favorites to beat the Ravens on Saturday (Browns -3 as of this question, per DraftKings Sportsbook). Who would you pick against the spread?”
Kyle: “I’m taking the Ravens in this one. The run game for the Ravens, with left tackle Ronnie Stanley healthy and Dobbins back just is too great a matchup to ignore. They were able to bully the Steelers defense for 215 rushing yards and the Browns run defense has struggled all season with stopping the run. Maybe this is the game they do, but I see Dobbins and Gus Edwards combined for a hefty amount of yardage and burning clock to limit the Browns’ possessions and winning a cliche AFC North game by a field goal.”
Thanks again to Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions.