By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens didn’t start their 2013 campaign quite the way they would have liked against the Denver Broncos last Thursday. But with the team still tied for first place with losses from the rest of the division, the Ravens know now is the time to take advantage. Though head coach John Harbaugh doesn’t quite see it that way.
“The great thing about it is – and we all know this – it’s week to week in this league, and it’s going to be that way,” Harbaugh told media on Monday. “What we need to do is take care of our business. If we take care of our business, we’re going to be in the hunt and make it interesting, and if we don’t, we’re not. All of a sudden, we find ourselves tied for first place. We also find ourselves tied for last place.”
The Ravens are tied with their Sunday match-up, the Cleveland Browns. These two teams are no strangers to each other after the former Cleveland Browns left for Baltimore over 25 years ago. Though the play on the field has not always dictated it, the fans of Cleveland consider the Ravens to be one of their bitter rivals.
The Ravens have never had much of a hard time dealing with the Browns as they hold an all time record of (21-7) against their divisional foes. Couple that with the fact that the upcoming game will be the first home game played since Baltimore won the Super Bowl and you’re dealing with an atmosphere that may be too much for the Browns to handle.
But the big story in this game has everything to do with how the Ravens respond from the beating they took from Manning and the Broncos last week. Peyton threw for a record-tying seven touchdown passes against a defense that many thought could be dominate this season. But that game showed that there is still work to be done.
“Our issue was the big plays,” stated Harbaugh. “You can’t give up a screen for a touchdown. That’s just not acceptable. You can’t leave guys wide open. You can’t miss tackles that turn into big plays. You can’t turn guys loose in the red zone. You can’t do it.”
The Ravens won’t face nearly as many dangerous weapons as they had to against Denver, but Harbaugh wants to hear none of that. The fact remains both the Browns and Ravens enter week 2 at (0-1). If Baltimore thinks they’re going to walk into M&T Bank Stadium and get handed a victory, the outcome may surprise a lot of folks. But having home-field advantage never hurt anyone.
“There’s nothing like playing at M&T Bank Stadium,” the Ravens head coach said with a smirk. “Any player or coach that plays here for the Ravens definitely feels that way. We’re really excited to be coming back home to our fans. We just feel a need to play the way they expect us to play. That’s our challenge, and we need to do that.”
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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.