Ravens-Browns: Predictions

ExtremeRavens .comCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2009

Three Predictions:

1. Two Ravens runners will top 100 yards. That’s pretty bold, right? I’m leaning towards Willis McGahee and Ray Rice, obviously. Not sure that there are even enough carries in one game to get them both other 100 yards, but it only really takes one big run (and the Browns specialize in making this available).

2. It won’t be a shut-out. As much as Ravens fans and the team want it, the Browns are going to score. This Ravens defense is not there yet, especially not with Josh Cribbs helping out with field position. Not sure if the Browns will find the endzone or not (based on yesterday’s score prediction, I’m leaning towards not), but they will put something up on the scoreboard. But man, what would a shut out do for the Ravens points allowed average!

3. The Bengals will upend the Steelers. Ok, so this one isn’t Ravens, obviously. But there’s only so much to say about Ravens-Browns. Looking at the other division game this weekend, I’m loving the Bengals. Their defense is more legitimate than most think at the moment, and with the Steelers unable to run and vulnerable to the sack, there’s hope for Cincy. I also love Hines Ward saying that Pitt isn’t worried about their running game because the passing attack can handle it - for how long, Hines?

Three Questions:

1. Will the Ravens big play defense show up? The Ravens are facing a pair of back-up runners (one a rookie). Their also facing an inexperience quarterback leading a sloppy offense. The turnovers should be there for the taking - so will the Ravens take them? I expect a couple of turnovers, of course. But the bigger question is can the Ravens turn one into their signature scoring play? Fans are waiting - Ed Reed, Fabian Washington, Haloti Ngata, we’re looking at you.

2. Will the Ravens secondary improve? It better, given the opponent is far less advanced than San Diego was last week, but we all still have doubts. Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said the defense will be returning to more standard secondary arrangements, hopefully keeping everyone on the same page and (we can only hope) in the right position. It would also help if he taught his smaller corners how to defend a pass, and not just run stride for stride with a receiver. But we can only hope for so much in a week.

3. Will the Browns implode? Their play on the field has already collapsed, obviously. That’s not really the question. But the whole team seems on the verge of absolute self-destruction. If the Ravens really pound the Browns, it might just be enough to send them over the edge and on the path to being one of the truly memorable bad teams in football history. Ray Lewis has a history of leaving bad memories for opponents, we can only hope he delivers here.