Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns: Keys for MNF
Can the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns? Here are a couple big keys for the game:
1. Baltimore Ravens must get off to a fast start:
The Baltimore Ravens must get off to a fast start in this game. For all the talk about how the Ravens struggle to play from behind, the same can be said about Cleveland. They lost to the Ravens in the season opener 38-6. The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Browns 38-7, while the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Browns 16-6. In all three of the Browns’ losses, the game started badly for them and got out of hand.
The Browns are a ground and pound team with a great pass rush. They have the same issues when it comes to falling behind that have plagued Lamar Jackson‘s Ravens. Confidence is also a huge issue here. Look, the Ravens last Monday Night Football performance was a trainwreck against the Kansas City Chiefs. Sunday Night Football didn’t go too well either, as the Ravens fell to the New England Patriots.
The one thing you don’t want to see is the Ravens to tighten up in the big moment. The one signature of John Harbaugh’s losses has become a failure to adjust after a rocky start. The best way to win this game is to push that problem away immediately. A strong start can send a statement to the Browns. Starting the game on the right foot is however more about the psyche of the purple and black.
The Ravens also need to carry the momentum they gained against the Cowboys over to this week. Baltimore football got back to basics. Jackson did his thing and the run game rolled through their opponent. This game is crucial because winning out is almost a necessity at this point. If the Ravens need to go on that kind of a roll, successes must not evaporate between games.
The Cleveland Browns have a better defensive front than the Baltimore Ravens have an offensive line. Jackson needs the offensive line to do as well as they can, but he should know that he has to account for some of the pass rushers. The Browns have plenty of pass rush. Myles Garrett is a potential Defensive Player of the Year. He has 10.5 sacks this season while Olivier Vernon has five. The Browns have one of the best defensive lines at getting to the quarterback.
It’s unrealistic to think that the offensive line won’t be problematic. You could convince me that Orlando Brown Jr. and Bradley Bozeman could hold down the left side. You would be harder pressed to make me believe that the rest of the offensive line will be rock solid. Jackson’s elusiveness and awareness are going to be of the most paramount importance on Monday night.
Jackson’s legs are always a potential difference-maker for the Ravens. They need to be on full display in this game. Jackson always wants to prove that he is a pocket passer. This however is a game that is good for Baltimore not to have a stationary mid-line passer. Maybe the offensive line will surprise us. We’ll see. The key is that if Jackson doesn’t have to improvise and do a little escape magic in this game it would be a complete surprise.
The Bottom Line:
The bottom line is that the Ravens have to carry over some momentum from last Tuesday. They need to keep the ground game going, and start the game strongly. Jackson has to be a difference-maker, on a night where the offensive line is outmatched.
This is a huge game for the Ravens. They have to be able to show up and get the job done. They cannot flirt with disaster. They need to get it going right away.