Ravens vs Browns, Week 5: Keys to Victory

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Oct 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken (11) catches a touchdown pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell (31) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Ravens won the game, 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

At least one wide receiver must step up in Steve Smith’s absence

It’s an obvious, but fair statement after four weeks of Ravens football.  No Ravens pass catcher has truly stood out or made an impact other than Smitty, which is hard to believe after this group of receivers was so widely praised coming into the season.

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My pick for the player with the biggest potential for a breakout is Kamar Aiken.  Aiken finally made an impact on the field last week against the Steelers after 3 quiet weeks, grabbing 5 of 7 targets for 77 yards and a touchdown. Other than Aiken and Smith, no Raven caught more than 3 passes.

Even after missing a chunk of last week’s game, Steve Smith still stands as the NFL’s 4th most targeted receiver with 47 (11.8 per game).  Aiken only has 18 (4.5), but you can bet that his looks will rise substantially.  Joe Flacco has a history of locking onto his #1 receiver, which this week is Aiken by default.

Behind Aiken, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will stand out.  I would expect a run heavy game plan this week, so there may not be a ton of targets to go around.  The only way Aiken doesn’t dominate targets this week is if Joe Haden is active and shadowing him, but Haden hasn’t been himself when healthy this season either.

Next: The running game resurgence continues

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