These two bitter rivals will get together on Sunday for the much-anticipated rematch of AFC North enemies since Week four. We have two teams who have gone opposite directions since they last played. The Ravens have strung together a ten-game winning streak. The Browns have been inconsistent, and drama-filled all while going 4-6. This game preview will look at what may happen this Sunday at 1 pm when the Browns and Ravens play at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland.
Events Since the Last Matchup
These two teams couldn’t be going in more opposite directions right now as they get ready for the rematch on Sunday. You have the Ravens who are riding high with their ten-game winning streak and a 12-2 record. They are currently the #1 seed in the AFC and could have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Browns have gone the other way. The team seems to be in disarray and playing uninspired football. They look like a young team with no direction and no leadership.
The Ravens have been led by possible NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, who is having one hell of a year. He is playing explosive type football and not turning the ball over. Lamar is killing teams with his feet but has seemingly been able to pick apart teams when they try and load up the box to stop the run. The Browns defense has been the only team to stop Lamar and the Ravens.
Can they do it again? There is no Myles Garrett, and Olivier Vernon is questionable. Kirksey is out for this game, but rookie Mack Wilson has been playing lights out. The Browns need to play much better in this game than they did last week against the Cardinals who carved them up.
Ravens Offense vs Browns defense
The Ravens offense has been a powerhouse on the ground. They are averaging over 200 yards per game rushing. Being led by Lamar with 1103 yards and seven touchdowns, this is what makes the Ravens offense go. Mark Ingram has been a great compliment to Lamar in being able to run this RPO style offense. Lamar is averaging 215 yards in the air, which has been highlighted by his Tight End, Mark Andrews. Andrews has been a lethal target underneath and stretching the field with 759 yards and eight touchdowns. The Browns contained the Ravens offense the first go around. How about the rematch?
The Browns defense will need to be clutch on third down, but ultimately stop Lamar and his running. They were able to keep him in check the first game, but Lamar has been running all over teams on this winning streak. The rushing defense has been a real struggle since Myles went out, but Vernon’s injury has not helped either. Joe Schobert is still the leader of this group. The linebackers need to play out of their minds to be able to contain not only the run game but also stop Andrews. It will be interesting to see what DC Steve Wilks comes up with this game and how he can stop Lamar. Edge: Ravens
The Browns Offense vs Ravens Defense
With how the Browns played in week four against the Ravens, you would have thought Cleveland would have been able to mow down teams with their weapons. That has not happened at all. Baker has struggled with consistency and is still throwing interceptions. The only bright spot on this offense has been the emergence of Pro Bowl nominee Nick Chubb.
Chubb is leading the NFL with 1408 yards and the only back in the NFL averaging over 100 yards per game. The other Pro Bowl nominee, Jarvis Landry, has been Baker’s best wide receiver with 1018 yards on 74 receptions. HC Freddie Kitchens still seems to struggle with play flow and game management of this offense. Odell Beckham Jr. has been a nonfactor most of the year, and that has been a disappointment overall.
What can the Ravens defense do this time around not to give up 40 points to the struggling Browns? The Ravens made an essential addition to their secondary before the trade deadline this year, and it has made a big difference for them. The addition of Marcus Peters has been vital in giving them a lockdown style corner. This has allowed the defensive line time to wreak havoc on the quarterbacks. It will be crucial for them to get pressure on Baker and try and make him force throws into coverage. Baker has struggled the most with pressure up the middle, but his Tackles have played very inconsistent this year. If the Ravens can stop Chubb and make Baker beat them, this could turn into a blow out very quickly. Edge: Ravens
The Head Coaches
This game has been one of the few bright spots for Freddie Kitchens in his rookie campaign season as a Head Coach. Freddie called one of the best games of the year when they beat the Ravens in week four. But since that game, Freddie has struggled mightily with play calling and in-game decisions. The Browns offense typically starts real fast with their scripted plays. Then, when those plays are over, the attack seems to sputter for most of the half. This is where Freddie needs to be more consistent and work on the game flow of the offense. The Browns have played well against divisional opponents this year, so we will see what happens in this rematch on Sunday.
Coach Harbaugh is showing himself to be in high consideration for Coach of the Year. The job he has done with this team could be one of the best he has done yet. They are focused, disciplined, and don’t turn the ball over. Freddie got the best of Harbaugh the first meeting, but Harbaugh will be looking to return the favor and try to humiliate the Browns. This rematch will be interesting to see what Harbaugh plans to throw at this young Browns team this time around. One thing is for certain; he will want this defense to stop the two-headed running monster that is Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Edge: Ravens
Final Thoughts on the Rematch
The Browns go into this game as massive underdogs, and no one in the national media is giving them a remote chance to winning. It will take a monumental effort by the defense to shut down this Ravens offense as they did in week four. This is why they play the game. These two teams are bitter division rivals in a heated rematch that will have a lot of emotions riding high. The Browns need this win to hold on to the slimmest of playoff hopes that are still there. The Ravens are firmly in the playoffs as they have clinched a spot already, but they want that #1 seed and home-field advantage.
As disappointed as I have been in watching my Browns play this year, I still go into games thinking we have a chance to win. So, with that said, I am still going to pick the Browns to win this game and pull off the upset. I’m not sure if a win will secure Freddie to be the coach next year. We will see what happens when the season is over. Pick: Browns 34- Ravens 27
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