BROWNS (0-1) VS. RAVENS (1-0)


USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - WEEK 2 MATCH UP - Kizer well co Myles Gar­rett, Za’Dar­ius Smith Wood­head Buck Allen Isa­iah CroJoe FlacDanny Ter­rance West Player to watch: West. Num­ber crunch­ing: 11. Jabrill Pep­pers.

An­nounc­ers: An­drew Cat­alon, James Lofton, Steve Tasker

About the Browns: They feel good about their young core and their chances of es­cap­ing the AFC North cel­lar. Rookie QB

per­formed pretty well in a close sea­sonopen­ing loss to Pitts­burgh and should im­prove with ex­pe­ri­ence, but he faces a tall task in his first road game. DE the No. 1 over­all pick in the 2017 draft, is out in­def­i­nitely be­cause of a high an­kle sprain, and though the Browns are bet­ter on de­fense they miss the pass rush Gar­rett could bring. The Browns strug­gled to run the ball against the Steel­ers, but they still be­lieve RB

will find a groove run­ning be­hind a highly paid of­fen­sive line. The Browns will find it tough to run on the Ravens, how­ever, and want to keep Kizer out of must-pass sit­u­a­tions, where the Ravens can bring their trade­mark pres­sure from all an­gles.

About the Ravens: A ruth­less Ravens de­fense started the sea­son by record­ing five sacks in a shutout at Cincin­nati, and it looks ca­pa­ble of con­tin­u­ing to carry the load while the of­fense works out the kinks. QB

op­er­ated a con­ser­va­tive of­fense and shook off some rust af­ter miss­ing nearly six weeks be­cause of a back in­jury, and, per­haps most im­por­tant, the Ravens were able to run the ball ef­fec­tively to put the game away. No team dealt with more pre­sea­son in­juries than the Ravens did, and in the first quar­ter last week OLB and RB

were carted off. and are the only healthy backs, but both per­formed well. The Ravens will have their pass rush primed for a big day. Bal­ti­more QB Joe Flacco fig­ures to lead a con­ser­va­tive of­fense against Cleve­land. Cole­man is com­ing on quickly af­ter an in­juryrid­dled rookie sea­son, and his big­gest game last year came against the Ravens. He’s re­ally the Browns’ only deep threat, and he’ll keep Smith and the rest of the Ravens on alert. Kizer got his tight ends in­volved against Pitts­burgh and will fo­cus on get­ting the ball out quickly to avoid the Ravens’ rush.


Cut by the Browns just a sea­son af­ter the team drafted him in the third round, West caught on with his home­town team last year af­ter ini­tially be­ing an emer­gency pickup. Now he’s not just one of the last backs stand­ing, he’s a more pa­tient and con­fi­dent run­ner than he was early in his ca­reer. The Browns were solid against the run in the opener, how­ever.

The Ravens won their opener de­spite be­ing pe­nal­ized 11 times for 85 yards. They’ll have to clean that up to be able to win the kind of close, low-scor­ing games they of­ten play.


1. Keep it sim­ple: Flacco had no pre­sea­son, so the Ravens helped him at Cincin­nati by forc­ing turnovers and es­tab­lish­ing the run. Look for a sim­i­lar, con­ser­va­tive plan of at­tack.

2. Stay clean: The Browns gave up a blocked punt for a touch­down to open last week’s game and didn’t get much in the re­turn game from dy­namic rookie Field po­si­tion will mat­ter in what should be a low-scor­ing game, and spe­cial-teams play could de­cide it.

3. Bring the house: Kizer was sacked seven times in the sea­son opener. He’s see­ing and pro­cess­ing a lot of things for the first time, and the Ravens will mix up their de­fen­sive looks and bring mul­ti­ple blitzers.

4. Find a way: It’s never easy to run the ball against the Ravens, but the Browns have to help Kizer by keep­ing the de­fense guess­ing and avoid­ing third-and-long sit­u­a­tions.

Zac Jack­son


DeShone Matchup to watch: Browns WR Corey Cole­man vs. Ravens CB Jimmy Smith.

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