BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) — Coming off a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, the Baltimore Ravens face a division battle, when the Cleveland Browns visit M&T Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Browns (1-2), also enter this game having lost in their last outing, as they dropped a 20-13 decision to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football in Week 3. The biggest story out of Cleveland has been the lack of offensive production. Prior to the season, there was a lot of talk about the weapons at quarterback Baker Mayfield and new head coach Freddie Kitchens’ disposal. Yet, so far, the Browns rank 28th in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA a measure of an offense’s efficiency.READ MORE: USPS Mail Delays Continue Across Baltimore Area; Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger Says He Working Closely With Local Postmaster To Find Solution
Mayfield has been part of the problem, as the second-year quarterback is completing just 56.9 percent of his passes, while throwing more interceptions than touchdowns so far (5 to 3). In addition, his sack percentage has gone up, from 4.9 to 9.2, which has been caused by a combination of offensive line struggles and Mayfield holding on to the ball too long. His top weapon, Odell Beckham Jr, has been solid, with 19 grabs for 288 yards and a touchdown. But, the running game, with Nick Chubb, hasn’t really gotten going, as the team is averaging under 100 yards per game on the ground.
The running game will have another tough task on its hands this week against the Ravens defense. But the passing game, according to WJZ’s Rick Ritter, could get on track for Cleveland.
“Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry not all together just yet. But, maybe this is the week they come out,” said Ritter. “The Ravens, they have given up 300-plus yards in the air two weeks in a row.”READ MORE: Officials Investigating Cause Of Fire At Vacant Home In West Baltimore
The Ravens secondary has been banged up and continues to be, with Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey both missing practice at points this week. But, while the Browns offense could find some success through the air this week, Ritter also sees this game as an opportunity for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to rebound.
“Lamar Jackson is making big-time throws in big-time situations. That is not just in the pocket, that is out of the pocket as well. He is doing it with accuracy. That is something he got away from last week, and that cost them,” said Ritter.
That might be difficult against a Browns defense that ranks eighth in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA metric. But Cleveland has yet to face a team with a threat like Jackson under center. The quarterbacks the Browns have faced so far are: Marcus Mariota, Trevor Siemian/Luke Falk and Jared Goff, who is a completely different player on the road than at home.
Jackson presents a different challenge, and if he can find the form he displayed in Weeks 1 and 2, Ritter believes the Ravens will “pull this one out.”MORE NEWS: Orioles Complete Three-Game Sweep Of Nationals With 5-4 Win
The Ravens and Browns kick off Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on CBS.