By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens won the game against the St. Louis Rams 16-13, but they paid a heavy price with the loss of Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett due to injury. Now, they turn their attention to the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. A game that just became a lot more difficult with their best player out of action.READ MORE: First Alert Forecast: Severe Thunderstorms May Move Into The Area Monday
The Cleveland Browns (2-8) currently reside where they do most seasons, fourth in the AFC North standings. But that could change come Monday night if they play to their full potential. One of the two wins the Browns possess came against Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium.
Browns on Offense
When teams want to shake up their roster, they usually wait until their bye week to do it. The Cleveland Browns were no exception to this way of thinking. Mike Pettine announced the change at quarterback last week and the era of Johnny Manziel shines bright once again in the city of Cleveland. The Ravens were defeated with Josh McCown under center. With the way the Ravens defense has played, a veteran quarterback was destined to have success. But experience is not on the side of Johnny Manziel, and the Ravens have slowly improved their play on that side of the ball.
Expect Dean Pees to have the defense run plenty of disguised looks in the secondary along with delayed blitzes to keep Manziel thinking instead of playing loose football. The Browns offensive line is better than average. So if Baltimore fails to get to the quarterback on blitzing plays, even a player like Manziel could put up huge numbers.
Browns on Defense
The Browns spent the better part of their bye week preparing to face Joe Flacco on Monday Night Football. Instead, they’ll go up against former Texans QB Matt Schaub. Though not have nearly as great a skillset as Flacco, the Ravens believe that he can excel at the position given the opportunity.READ MORE: Van Hollen Suffered Minor Stroke In Western Maryland Over The Weekend
Expect the Ravens to pressure Schaub often to force him to make mistakes. He isn’t the best when having to move out of the pocket and so the Browns will follow a gameplan similar to the one they had against Flacco early this season. Expect the Ravens to rely heavily on Buck Allen and Terrance West to take pressure off of Schaub.
Browns Players to Watch
The Ravens secondary have done a much better job containing receivers since their bye two weeks ago. Travis Benjamin has the speed and skill to win almost any matchup. The secondary has to communicate and establish where he is at all times or he could have a tremendous game on Monday Night.
Any time a player goes against his former team, it makes for an interesting storyline. With Flacco out, the Browns will want to put as much pressure as possible on the backup QB. Paul Kruger will want nothing more than to be the man to get the job done. Baltimore has to keep that from happening if they want to pull out the victory.
Before the season, fans and pundits had this as a easy victory for the Ravens. But with the poor play of the team and the colossal losses due to injury, it would surprise no one if Cleveland swept the Ravens on Monday night.
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.MORE NEWS: Up To $16K Reward Offered For Tips About Murder Of East Baltimore Pregnant Woman And Fiancé