Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns: 5 Things To Look For
On Sunday, The Baltimore Ravens (1-1) will head into FirstEnergy Stadium for an AFC North matchup against the Cleveland Browns (1-1). Here are five important things to look for as both teams try to avoid going 1-2.
Secondary: This seems to be the number one concern every week for the Baltimore Ravens while Lardarius Webb nurses himself back to health. At the cornerback spot, after Webb and Smith, the unit is very thin and guys with less experience are being asked to step up in a huge way.
Matt Elam saw some time as a nickel corner last week against the Steelers and has had some success. Elam is a good fit inside because of his size and tackling abilities which allows the Ravens to remove a linebacker for an extra defensive back in passing situations. Expect to see more of this moving forward while Jeromy Miles rotates in at safety where he played 50 of 60 snaps against Pittsburgh.
With a banged up Jordan Cameron and suspended Josh Gordon I expect the Baltimore Ravens secondary to have its best showing of the young season on Sunday.
Daryl Smith, Cj Mosley and the rest of the front seven need to take advantage of his lack of experience and give West a proper welcome to the AFC North
Ravens D-line: Earlier this week the team announced that rookie defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan would miss this week’s match up against the Browns. It is unclear how long Jernigan will be out but with an already injured unit the loss could prove to be monumental for the defense.
It will be interesting to see how the unit holds up late in the game with a shortened rotation against a young and fresh running back in Terrance West. Brandon Williams has been a rock thus far and will need to continue to dominant the middle of the line in order for this team to be successful against the run.
Terrance West: With Jordan Cameron’s status for Sunday still up in the air and an already depleted receiving corps, expect the Browns to lean heavily on rookie running back Terrance West.
After leading Towson University to a National Championship his senior season, the Baltimore native has seized his opportunity after Ben Tate went out with an injury. So far he looks like the real deal and will definitely be hungry to prove he belongs when he goes against his hometown team.
Daryl Smith, Cj Mosley and the rest of the front seven need to take advantage of his lack of experience and give West a proper welcome to the AFC North.
Torrey Smith: When Smith addressed the media earlier in the week, he did not seemed concerned with his lack of touches.
“I’m playing my part, and I know the ball is going to come more than it has been,” said Smith. “So, I’m not frustrated at all.”
While Torrey claims he is not frustrated by his low number of targets, his mood could change if the Baltimore Ravens and Flacco don’t get him more involved, as this is a contract year for the fourth year receiver. Coming into the season there were many expectations for him to stand out as the number one receiver but so far most of the spotlight has been on newcomer Steve Smith.
With most of the offense producing through short and intermediate routes, expect defenses to start game planning around that area which should open up some shots for Torrey.
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Momentum: After the Ray Rice fallout and the darkest week in franchise history, the team pulled together as a unit and made a statement that when the pads come on, you are still going against the Baltimore Ravens.
When they go on the road this week against Cleveland, they will play against what could be the most hostile environment they face all year. The Browns hate the Ravens and the fans will make sure that is known during game time.
It will be interesting to see how they respond if things start going wrong and the crowd becomes a huge factor. Will Flacco step up, keep his cool and fire back or will they fold like they have done at times in the past.
Nov 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) runs the ball against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
No one wants the attention the Baltimore Ravens have received from the Ray Rice fiasco, but sometimes these things can bring a team together and be the difference between good and great. The Ravens of all teams should know what momentum can do to a football team and it will be huge if they can feed off of this and keep it rolling.