So it's the Browns versus that hated franchise who used to be the Browns until they were taken from Cleveland by one of the most hated individuals in Cleveland.
This is a matchup that I look forward to twice every year because I don't see a successful Ravens football franchise, I see a hated franchise that was the old Browns and if they didn't leave, then could have still been our Browns.
Regardless, I am still happy with my current Browns, but the Ravens are one of the few professional sports teams that I just hate.
Here are are few key matchups that should be a main focus for the Browns this Sunday.
RBs Jerome Harrison and James Davis against the Ravens No. 1 ranked run defense
This matchup just looks really bad on and off paper.
With starter Jamal Lewis missing practice for the third day in a row on Friday, he is likely out for Sunday which means the Ravens will be focusing their attack on Harrison and Davis.
This matchup just makes me cringe whenever I think about it, and I don't think I will stop cringe at the thought until Sunday arrives.
The best option the Browns have are the fact that both Davis and Harrison have great hands, and as long as Brady Quinn can see when the Ravens are blitzing, then he needs to change the play to a screen pass on the other side where the blitz is not coming from.
As football experts have said in the past, "A good screen is just a good as running the ball."
The Browns need to really follow those words.
The Browns right side of the offensive line against the Ravens pass rush.
At the current rate that Quinn is getting sacked after two games, he will be sacked a total of 74 times this year, which will be a Browns team record.
That is not good and in order to protect Quinn ,the Browns will need to keep either a RB, FB, or a TE in the backfield on passing downs to help the offensive line protect their quarterback long enough for him to get the ball into the hands of the wide receivers.
With players like: Ray Lewis (did you see that hit he put on Darren Sproles last week to seal the win?), Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata to name a few, the line will be tested all game long.
Quinn must fake out S Ed Reed with his body language and eyes.
Reed is by far one of the most exciting defensive backs in the NFL, and he is such a ball-hawk, that he has a chance to get a pick-six on every play.
The strategy to playing against a premier safety like Reed lies with Quinn's ability to fake Reed out.
This will only be effective if Quinn can successfully pump fake Reed into committing to going one way, then throw the other way.
Also, Reed likes to watch the QBs eyes and Quinn will need to fake Reed out with his eyes by staring down one target, but then throwing to another.
If Quinn cannot do this effectively, then look for another horrible passing performance by the Browns.
The Browns defensive tackling versus themselves.
Over the past two weeks the Browns defense has been horrible in tackling opposing teams running backs.
With the Ravens also comes three very good runners in Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, and LeRon McClain.
Having given up over 400 yards rushing in the first two games, the Browns defense better be prepared to stop the run since every single team now thinks that they can run on this defense.
Pressure on Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco.
So far in games against the Chiefs and Chargers, the Ravens have only given up two sacks, and even though Flacco is a mature quarterback beyond his years, he is still young and the best way to rattle a young quarterback is to bring some heat.
Their focus of attack to get pressure has to be at the Ravens' rookie right tackle Michael Oher.
The Ravens wide receivers are not the greatest in the NFL at all, and Browns corners Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald have favorable matchups against them this week, especially if Flacco starts forcing passes due to pressure.
When all else fails, play the rookies.
This really isn't a matchup, but if the Browns find themselves down to the Ravens by a larger margin, then they should get their rookies some playing time.
I don't know why the Browns do not like to give their rookies more reps, but it's kind of be that way for years now and Eric Mangini looks to be doing the same as past regimes.
Final Prediction: Browns 14 Ravens 24
In conclusion, all I have to say is adjustments, adjustments, and adjustments.
Can I please see some halftime adjustments by the coaching staff?
If the Browns can play two disciplined halves of football then any underdog can beat a top tier team on any given Sunday.
(Article originally posted on Dawg Scooper)