Baltimore Ravens Week 13: 5 Keys to Ravens Victory over Rival Browns
The Ravens will look to nab their seventh consecutive win over the Browns—four straight in Cleveland. While Baltimore is currently atop the AFC North, they're looking to achieve something greater this season, something they have not done since 2006 and something four-year starting quarterback Joe Flacco has never experienced—a home playoff game.
The Ravens need to focus on these five keys in order to avoid another slip-up on the road and come away with a strong divisional win on Sunday.
5. Improved Special Teams
In order to come home with a win this weekend, the Ravens must improve their special teams play.
Yes, you win as a team and lose as a team, but the Ravens fumbled two kickoffs and missed two field goal attempts in Seattle. This absolutely awful special teams performance ultimately led to their demise and a Seahawks' win.
Baltimore's special teams must play with discipline, limit their mistakes and contain the Browns' dangerous return specialist Josh Cribbs. Anyone remember Week 11 in the 2007 season?
Well, Cribbs racked up 245 kick-return yards and 61 punt-return yards which lead to a Browns' win in overtime.
4. Open Up the Playbook
The Browns are currently ranked first in the NFL in team defense for pass yards against. Staggering? Yes, but it's because they are 29th overall in rush yards against.
Teams are choosing to run the ball over passing the ball against Cleveland. While running the ball is important, the Ravens need to open up the playbook and throw the ball down the field to the explosive wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Baltimore needs to test the questionable Browns secondary by finding Anquan Boldin over the middle of the field while mixing in the young tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.
3. Get to Colt McCoy
One word: Pressure. The Baltimore Ravens have the personnel to deliver every quarterback's nightmare—an intense pass rush.
The bottom line is the Ravens need to throw the kitchen sink at Colt McCoy and either bring him down for the sack or force him to make rushed throws. This charge must be led by Terrell Suggs, who has 12 career sacks against the Browns which includes three multi-sack games.
By creating havoc in the backfield, this will allow Baltimore's secondary to make plays, especially none other than Mr. Ed Reed himself. Reed has 10 career interceptions for 356 return yards and three TDs against the Browns.
Summary: get pressure on Colt McCoy
2. Establish the Run
As mentioned, the Browns are currently 29th overall in the NFL in rush yards against with 138.6 yards per game. This statistic has to stand out to Baltimore's offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
So Cam if you're reading, this means get the ball to Ray Rice. In all three of the Ravens' losses this season, Rice has had 13 or less carries for less than 50 yards. When you have a playmaker like Rice, you need to get the ball in his hands and let him do just that, make plays.
Of course, the offensive line needs to step up their play as well and open up holes for Rice and reduce the number of mental mistakes that have led to detrimental penalties.
1. Impose Their Will
I don't know if the city of Baltimore can handle yet another loss on the road to an inferior football team, especially in their division.
The Ravens need to come out on Sunday fired up, intense and under control and take care of business. They absolutely cannot let the Browns hang around in this game. I'm sure by now head coach John Harbaugh knows his team has blundered on the road to less-than-mediocre football teams this season.
All eyes will be on the Ravens this weekend as Baltimore travels to Cleveland for a tough divisional battle. If the Ravens can hit on these five keys on Sunday, and "Play Like A Raven," they're sure to come away with another mark in the "Win" column.
Prediction: Ravens 30, Browns 10