By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens will match up against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Here’s the scouting report.
Cleveland Browns’ record: 2-6-0 (4th in the AFC North)
When the Ravens travel to Cleveland to battle the Browns, they’re focus will be on stopping Trent Richardson. The Browns running back has five touchdowns on the season, and will be a huge test against a run defense that has struggled this season. Look for the Browns to run the ball early and often in order to control the tempo of the football game. Over the past few weeks, the Ravens have lost the Time of Possession battle by a huge margin. Richardson, who ran for a season high 122 yards against the Chargers, will look to keep pressure away from quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Weeden has improved every week since being drafted to Cleveland this year. Prior to the game against San Diego, Weeden threw two touchdowns in three straight games. With a pass defense that has had its share of problems, it’ll be important for the defensive front to get pressure on the quarterback to keep him rattled. The return of Terrell Suggs should help in that regard.
When these two teams last met in Week Four, the Ravens were able to move the ball down the field with success against the Browns defense. Flacco threw for 356 yards in that game to go along with his two touchdowns (rushing and passing). This week may be a little different as CB Joe Haden will start for the defense this week. The Browns are a much better defensive unit with him in the lineup. In fact, the Browns are 2-1 since Haden returned to action. The Ravens have struggled on the road offensively. It’ll be imperative for Flacco to do a better job protecting the football. If the offensive line can give him time in the pocket, Flacco could have a big game. Something he hasn’t been able to accomplish on the road.
The Ravens have received a lot of criticism for not running the ball with Ray Rice. That could very well change on Sunday. Entering this week, Cleveland ranks 24th in run defense. Ray Rice has never had problems running the ball against Cleveland. This game should be no different. The Browns will do their best to contain Rice by having 8 men in the box. If they can stop him, it’ll put the game in the hands of Flacco. But if they can’t, look for Rice to have a big game.
Look for the coaching staff to put together the same gameplan as the Cowboys had last month. Run the football until the Ravens stop it. If they can stop the run, they’ll have a rough time winning this game. If they can’t stop the run, it could be upset city in Cleveland.
Pat Shurmur hasn’t had much success against Baltimore. No coach for Cleveland had in recent memory. The Ravens have won 9 straight against the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore leads to All-time record against Cleveland 20-7.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Ravens news, see CBS Sports Baltimore.
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.