Key matchup, what’s at stake in Sun­day’s Ravens-Browns game

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - RAVENS -

Key matchup

Browns WR Odell Beck­ham Jr. ver­sus Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey: It will be in­ter­est­ing to see if th­ese two get into another fight. Humphrey, who made the Pro Bowl for the first time, held Beck­ham to two catches for 20 yards when the teams met in a the Browns’ 40-25 vic­tory in Week 4. Humphrey shad­owed Beck­ham all over the field. Humphrey was ag­gres­sive, played press cov­er­age and kept his hands on Beck­ham. Humphrey leads the Ravens in tack­les with 58. He’s knocked down 13 passes and in­ter­cepted two. He is the Ravens’ top de­fender, the cor­ner­back they use to take out the other team’s top re­ceiver. Ding, Ding. Round 2 is about to be­gin.

What’s at stake

The Ravens want to se­cure home-field ad­van­tage and they don’t want to de­pend on any other teams. So, if they beat Cleve­land, the Ravens are the No. 1 seed. They don’t want to have to play in Foxbor­ough, Mas­sachusetts, home of the Pa­tri­ots. The Ravens are also rid­ing a 10-game win­ning streak and want to avenge an ear­lier loss to the Browns, their last set­back be­fore go­ing on their roll.

Un­der the radar

It’s dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand the mind­set of the Browns. They are ex­pected to play the Ravens tough, but for how long, es­pe­cially if they get be­hind early? There have been ru­mors about first-year coach Fred­die Kitchens be­ing fired at the end of the sea­son, even though there hasn’t been any word from top team of­fi­cials. When a coach’s job is on the line, his play­ers some­times play hard be­cause they like him and want to keep him around, or they sim­ply go through the mo­tions be­cause they know he is go­ing to be fired. The Browns’ chem­istry has been poor lately, with both start­ing re­ceivers, Beck­ham and Jarvis Landry, de­mand­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties in the pass­ing game.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

The Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey breaks up a pass in­tended for the Browns’ Odell Beck­ham Jr. in Week 4.

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