BROWNS (0-1) VS. RAVENS (1-0)
SUNDAY, 1 P.M. ET, M&T BANK STADIUM, BALTIMORE uTV: CBS, DIRECTV 707
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.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
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.
KEYS TO THE GAME
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.
DeShone Matchup to watch: Browns WR Corey Coleman vs. Ravens CB Jimmy Smith.