Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns week 1 Ebony Bird round table
The game we’ve all been waiting seven months for is finally here and I almost don’t believe it. With COVID-19 shutting the whole nation down the 2020 NFL season starting on time seemed like a pipe dream but the NFL made it happen. Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
The Ravens kick off the season with a big-time divisional matchup as the Cleveland Browns roll into M&T Bank and I expect it to be an all-out brawl. The Browns utterly embarrassed the Ravens in week four of last season when they dropped a forty burger on them at home but this is a different Ravens team, especially on defense. The Ravens didn’t have Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, or Patrick Queen in that matchup which is a significant difference.
With the overhaul on defense, the Ravens are well suited to match up with this loaded Browns offense. In that week four matchup Marlon Humphrey shadowed Odell Beckham Jr. and held him to 2 receptions for 20 yards which really put him on the map. With Marcus Peters now in the fold, I’m not sure if Humphrey is going to shadow OBJ again but at least we know he can do it if need be. The defense will be without Earl Thomas III but he didn’t do much against their run game last time so I don’t think the loss is very significant.
On the offensive side of the ball, it looks like the Ravens will have a chance to attack Cleveland’s defense through the air as starting cornerbacks Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson have both been ruled out. That leaves Denzel Ward as the biggest challenge to the Ravens passing attack but he can’t do it all on his own. With Ward presumably following Marquise Brown around all game I expect a big game from Miles Boykin.
Prediction: With Browns second-round pick Grant Delpit out for the season with an Achilles injury I don’t think there’s a player on the roster that can match with Mark Andrews and that’s why I’m predicting a 100+ yard receiving game from him. Andrews is Lamar Jackson’s security blanket and go-to target so his success is integral to how this game goes. If no one on the Browns defense can slow down Andrews and the offense finds its groove, game over.
Score Prediction: 27-17, Ravens