The Baltimore Ravens face off against the winless Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Here are three key matchups to watch.
It’s always an interesting game for the Baltimore Ravens when the Cleveland Browns are on the schedule. They’re facing a 0-16 season and yet still aren’t a team the Ravens can overlook. It’s a divisional game and they always fare close, even if the final score doesn’t indicate that. This is a game the Ravens can’t afford to lose whatsoever and need to control the game from the start. They can start by winning matchups on both sides of the football.
Here are three key matchups to watch on Sunday.
3. C.J. Mosley vs. David Njoku
Much of the focus will be on rookie defensive end Myles Garrett, and rightfully so, but the Browns also have another talented first-round rookie on the other side of the ball. Tight end David Njoku has been one of Deshone Kizer’s favorite targets this season and that hasn’t changed even with Josh Gordon’s return. With the problems Jesse James and Vance McDonald gave the Ravens last week, the Browns will look to exploit that.
To say Mosley struggled in pass coverage against the Steelers was an understatement. He gave up 11 receptions for 119 yards and made McDonald and James look like perennial Pro Bowlers. Mosley was beaten consistently the entire night and clearly isn’t playing 100% right now. Have no doubt that Njoku will be targeted early and often until Mosley can stop him.
As poor as Mosley has been in pass coverage this season, he still has the special ability as a linebacker to force interceptions. He grabbed two during the first half of the season and is due for another Sunday. Kizer has been a turnover machine this season and all it takes is one errant throw to be going the other way.
The key to this matchup will be the battle in the red zone. Njoku is a giant target at 6-4, 246 pounds and will be targeted any time the Browns get within the 20-yard line, which hasn’t been very often this season. We’ll see if Mosley can bounce back from a poor performance and help get the defense back on track.