Back in 1990, a 42-1 underdog named Buster Douglas shocked everyone, including himself, when he defeated Mike Tyson in Tokyo. It was the first time I ever watched a Tyson fight and I thought to myself, this is the best of the best in boxing? Boxing fans knew Tyson was better than he was that night and would bounce back. Fast forward to the Ravens embarrassing loss to the Broncos last week.
If you were a non-Ravens fan who tuned into to watch the champs, you might have thought you were going to see the best the NFL had to offer. After watching the game, you and most Ravens fans would swear on a stack of purple Bibles this was not the same team that defeated the 49ers just seven months prior. Which brings us to the Ravens, Browns match up tomorrow afternoon in Baltimore.
Not since Tyson was embarrassed 23 years ago has a champion wanted more to get back into the ring and show they still had “it.” The Baltimore Ravens have something to prove to the world, the fans and themselves – their last fight was an anomaly and they too can still knock out their opponent. History says they will do just that.
Since 1999, the year the Browns returned to the NFL, the Ravens are 21-7 versus Cleveland, outscoring them 630 to 394. But that is just the beginning. The Ravens are 11-3 at home against the Brownies and out of the nine times they have faced them in September, the Ravens have only lost twice, both times in Cleveland. Perhaps the most astounding statistics involve the Harbaugh/Flacco era, 2008-2012. The Ravens have never lost to Cleveland, and average just over 25 points versus the Browns’ mere dozen per game.
Should fans expect a Ravens blowout win by our Birds like their 44-7 mauling of the Browns in 2000? Probably not. I expect this game to be much closer. While stats make a convincing argument, they won’t take the field tomorrow – an improved Browns defense and overhauled Ravens receiving corps will.
But just like Mike Tyson bounced back after his “road loss,” I predict our Ravens will come home and do the same.
Ravens win 19-17.