By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens have just finished up their bye week for the 2013 season and return to work in preparation for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. After losing to the Steelers nearly two weeks ago, the Ravens need to win against this division opponent in order to keep pace with the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals.
Browns on Offense
After the Browns traded away Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this year, many expected the Browns to take a dive in production. But Cleveland has played well this season despite only holding a 3-5 record. A big reason for their mediocre record rests with their quarterback play. They’ve had some serious bad luck at this position. Brandon Weeden has been a disaster. Brian Hoyer appeared to be their diamond in the rough until he suffered a season-ending injury. Now they’ve turned to journeyman QB Jason Campbell who performed well in a losing effort against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.
Campbell doesn’t have the skill set of a Peyton Manning but he does possess experience that could make him a factor against Baltimore. With skilled players at his disposal such as Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, he may be able to get some opportunities against a defense that has been susceptible to giving up big plays. If the Ravens can get the Browns off rhythm in the passing game, the Browns could be in trouble as they’ve struggled running the football with former Ravens RB Willis McGahee.
Browns on Defense
The Browns possess perhaps one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL. Their front seven can impose their will on any offensive line. That doesn’t bode well for a Ravens team that has done nothing but struggle at the line of scrimmage. Against the Browns in Week 2, Baltimore was barely able to get anything going against this stout unit. They squeaked out a 14-6 win against the Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. But heading out on the road could prove to be challenging for a Baltimore team that has only won one regular season game on the road in nearly a year.
Expect Cleveland to test the Ravens offensive line with stunts and delayed blitzes in order to disrupt timing and take advantage of mental mistakes. If the Ravens can’t protect Joe Flacco, this could be a dog fight.
Rob Chudzinski is in his first season as head coach for the Cleveland Browns. He didn’t fare so well in his first meeting against the Ravens. He’ll look to break the Browns 11-game losing streak against the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday. The Ravens hold the all-time record (22-7) 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.