By Samuel Njoku
After a rough start to the season, the Ravens have their eye on a win against an uncertain Cleveland Browns squad on Sunday. Here is the scouting report:
Cleveland Browns: (0-1-0) Tied for 1st in the AFC North
The Ravens had their hands full on Thursday when they went head to head with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. On Sunday, they’ll have to go up against Brandon Weeden. Not as difficult a challenge as their previous opponent, but the Browns are not a team to be taken for granted. For starters, they possess one of the better running backs in the NFL with Trent Richardson. The last time the young RB played Baltimore, he rushed for over 105 yards on 25 carries. He also caught the ball six more times for 31 yards. He figures to again be a focal point for an offense without many other weapons.
When the Browns don’t have the ball in his hands, it’ll be in the hands of Brandon Weeden. The starting QB for Cleveland had a rough start to the 2013 season as he threw three interceptions against the Miami Dolphins in their season opener. The Ravens will be looking for similar results when these two teams meet. Expect the Browns to try and beat the Ravens on the ground and keep the ball out of Weeden’s hands. If they become one dimensional, this game could get ugly fairly quickly.
What the Browns lack in offense, they certainly make up for on the defensive side of the ball. Though Cleveland has had their shortcomings, no one can question the effectiveness of this team on defense. The Ravens struggled to stay in rhythm on offense against a Broncos defense without two of their star players. The Browns will attempt to duplicate the performance displayed by Denver against a Ravens team searching for answers from their passing game.
Expect Cleveland to focus on stopping Ray Rice first. Last week, Rice ran for less than 40 yards against the Broncos as Flacco threw the ball 61 times. The Ravens are more effective when they have a balanced offensive attack. With Jacoby Jones sidelined for 4-6 weeks the Browns can afford to be a little more aggressive when attacking the line of scrimmage.
Expect Baltimore to attempt to wear down the Browns defense with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce and attempt to counter the Browns aggressiveness with draws and screens to keep them honest.
Rob Chudzinski will be coaching his second game as head coach for the Cleveland Browns. He’ll have his hands full against a Ravens team that the Browns haven’t had much luck against in recent memory. The Ravens hold an all time record of (21-7) against the Cleveland Browns.
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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. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.