Even though these organizations will forever be linked by history (we will spare the Cleveland fans from hearing that story) the current state of the franchises could not be more different.
Baltimore is currently in the hunt for control of the AFC north while the Browns are praying that they can get one win and keep their heads above the rising waters.
Here is my preview and prediction for this week in Baltimore:
The Browns went into last week looking to build off their successes and prove to the football world that they were not as bad as everyone said they were. Unfortunately for the Browns, they proved to be worse.
Cleveland seemed outplayed in week two by a Chiefs team that, on paper, looked pretty evenly matched. Cleveland’s defense proved to be the strong point of the team as they held close but eventually broke down in the 16-14 loss.
Heading to Baltimore, Cleveland needs to be focused on a few key things. The first of which would have to be the running game.
Browns starting running back, Jerome Harrison, has taken a lot of heat over the course of the early season but for good reason. Harrison has struggled at times to get into the open field but not all of the blame can be put on his shoulders. The Browns offensive line has to improve considerably in order for the Browns rushers to be effective.
Before long, I expect to see Harrison getting on the linemen’s cases because their poor play could ultimately cost him his starting position.
The second thing the Browns need to focus on this week is the receiving corps and finding ways to get their receivers into the open field. Wallace and Delhomme both received a lot of flack for the Browns’ poor passing attack in weeks one and two but the fact of the matter is that they cannot complete passes when they have nobody to throw to.
Browns wide receivers will ultimately decide how the running game is managed as well because a successful passing attack would force the Ravens out of the box and give Cleveland opportunities to run.
The final thing that needs to be key for the Browns this week is special teams and field position. The Browns have one of the best return men in the game of football in Josh Cribbs but yet still have had terrible field position to start their drives over the first two games.
The Coaches need to focus on utilizing Cribbs better as well as making sure they have the right players on the field that will put in 110 percent of the effort needed to make sure he has quality blocking.
Surprisingly, I do not have much to say about the defense heading into this week. Cleveland’s defense has played impressively well throughout the first two games but have also not gone up against a quality offensive attack. Week three should show everyone where the Browns’ defense really stands in the grand scheme of things.
In the past two weeks against Tampa and Kansas City I have picked the Browns to come out victorious. I honestly believed that Cleveland was the better team throughout those two match-ups but in week three I feel the situation is much different. The Ravens are a top 5 team with great players in position on the field. Cleveland will have a hard time keeping up with their wide receivers as well as containing Ray Rice in the backfield. The Browns could not handle Tampa Bay on the road which gives me no reason to think that they can handle the Ravens this week. I think this game could stay close but it definitely has the potential for a blowout. It may take nothing short of a miracle for the Browns to pull one out this week. I am taking the Ravens:
Cleveland Browns 14
Baltimore Ravens 31
If you enjoyed this article, check out my stance on the state of the Cleveland Browns Franchise in: