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Article Week Two Preview: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens


Staff Member
If the Ravens can keep up any semblance of their defensive performance from week one, it will be a very good season for the Ravens. The Ravens dominated the Cincinnati Bengals offense to the tune of four interceptions, one fumble, three red zone stops, and zero points allowed.

Offensively, it was a different story as the offense could not find its footing in the passing game and the running game faced loaded fronts. Joe Flacco showed his rust, as he had no training camp or preseason experience under his belt. Fortunately for the Ravens, the Cleveland Browns are still a team that the Joe Flacco Ravens are 14-1 against, so this should be another game for Flacco to knock off rust ahead of a tougher schedule starting in week 4.

For the Cleveland Browns, they have to hope that the future started in week 1 when Deshone Kizer almost led the team to victory against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. For fans of the much-maligned franchise, could this be a look at a future where the Browns actually win and make the playoffs again? Probably not, but it can be fun to dream, right?

Without further ado, let us take a look at the three keys to the game.

The Ravens Running Game vs the Browns Front Seven: I remember a few years ago when Ray Rice ran all over the Browns for over 200 yards. Since then, the Browns have progressively tried to make every effort possible to shore up that run defense and in recent years have made great strides by drafting Emmanuel Ogbah, Danny Shelton, Joe Schobert, and trading for Jamie Collins.

Terrence West and Buck Allen both ran with purpose, desire, and heart against the Bengals strong front seven. While neither looked exceptionally special or showed off any eye popping plays, they both provided a much needed boost to a running game that was widely viewed as the worst in the NFL last year. Will they be able to repeat their performance of 150 yards on Sunday? It will be incredibly tough to do against a Browns’ front that allowed only 43 yards on 11 carries to the Steelers running backs. Oh, and did we mention that 15 of those 43 yards came on the final drive of the game for Pittsburgh?

While the Ravens would probably love to have another strong effort from the running game to relieve pressure from Joe Flacco as he continues back into live action, that will probably not be the case on Sunday.

Joe Flacco vs the Browns Secondary: I am not actually terribly concerned about Browns secondary. On paper, they should not provide a tougher test than the Bengals secondary. In fact, the Browns might be a little big easier to deal with than the Bengals in regards to the secondary.

No, I am more interested in how Joe Flacco responds in his second live game since coming back from his back injury. Will we continue to see Joe Flacco fail to step into throws? Will we see a conservative Flacco that fails to attack the Browns deep? Will we still see ill placed passes due to a presumed lack of chemistry? These problems plagued Flacco actively in week one, but should improve as the season wears on and Flacco gets more and more comfortable being back in action after his injury.

As Ravens fans, we can only hope that the comfort returns to Flacco this Sunday and not later because this game may be closer than comfort will allow if not.

The Ravens Front Seven vs the Browns Offensive Line: This is the single match up that has me the most excited. It is going to be strength vs strength, iron vs iron as these two impressive units face off on Sunday.

The Ravens might as well have put up a sign that claimed the Bengals backfield as their own territory because the Ravens absolutely lived there. Despite “only” sacking Andy Dalton five times, the Ravens hit the quarterback numerous more times and generated pressure on nearly every single drop back. In addition to the massive effort made against the pass, the Ravens had seven tackles for loss on 21 run plays for the Bengals.

Unfortunately, this should have been semi expected against a weakened Bengals offensive line and the test will be more difficult against a vastly revamped Browns offensive line. With the signings of JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler, the Browns offensive line suddenly looks good; almost Dallas Cowboys good. With a future Hall of Fame talent in Joe Thomas and legitimate All-Pro talents in Joel Bitonio and Zeitler, the Ravens front will have its hands full. How could this be, you may ask, when the Browns allowed seven sacks? Do try to remember and consider that Kizer is a rookie and held the ball longer than a veteran would and took many sacks that were his own doing. If the quarterback behind this new line were Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, we might have just seen a sack or two.

Do not expect a repeat performance of week one where the Ravens set up shop in the Bengals backfield. In fact, I would not be surprised to see less than four sacks in this game, mostly due to the fact that Kizer is still a rookie.

Final Score Prediction

As weak of a team as the Browns still are, the Browns still made the game against the Steelers a closer game than anticipated and I could very well see the same happening when the Browns and Ravens square off in Baltimore.

Cleveland Browns: 6, Baltimore Ravens: 17

Lost_In_Translation: Who are you taking?(In italics)

I see this game as a W. Not an easy one but the Browns still are an inferior team to the Bengals in my opinion when comparing rosters. Using your points, I will add some input.

The Ravens Running Game vs. The Browns Front Seven:

The Cleveland Browns are without their potential marquee defensive player in Myles Garrett. Otherwise, their front seven is not bad, but it is inferior to the Bengals. The Browns do not have the elite talent of Atkins, and do not have a player that’s on Dunlap’s level as a player. They’re not horrible, but personnel wise I think we hold the advantage. Sure, they did well against the Steelers, but some of that had to have been from Bell holding out, and not getting up to speed for the season yet, as this is something that is possible when a player holds out. I feel like the Steelers will get back to being able to run the ball effectively very soon, if not immediately. I think Terrence West thus far has been playing like a starting caliber running back recently, and while Buck Allen played well last week, he was ultimately overused. I would much rather ground and pound with West and eat up a lot of clock. The running game will thrive if Stanley can return to form, and Jensen can cut down on the drive killing penalties. Overall, I think while the running game will not be as effective as it was last week, the running game will have some success against the Browns’ inferior defense(in comparison to the Bengals).

Joe Flacco vs. The Browns Secondary:

Once again, I feel as if we hold the edge here. Again, the Browns don’t have a terrible secondary, but it’s not amazing either. Like the rest of their defense I feel as if it’s very middle of the road. With regards to the passing game as a whole, I feel as if our trio of Maclin, Wallace, and Perriman can do very well against the three. Of course, this section isn’t the passing game, but holds an emphasis on Joe Flacco. I believe that we continue to ease Flacco in to let him get acclimated. However, I would not be surprised if Marty decides to call a shot or two down the field to see how he does. But, overall I think what we saw last week will be similar to what we see this week. A lot of short passes where we clearly run the ball more than we pass. Which is fine, let Flacco build chemistry with Maclin, Maxx, and Boyle. Overall, I feel we hold an edge, and like last week Flacco will do enough for us to not lose the game. Hopefully he’s more accurate on short passes and he does not throw behind his receivers again.

The Ravens’ Front Seven vs. The Browns’.

Although I feel as if we hold the advantage here(good offense tends to lose to good defensive play), the Browns do not have a pushover offensive line. Joe Thomas is a future hall of famer, Bitonio and Zeitler are both borderline elite, and JC Tretter(despite struggling last week) has been an above average center for of his career. We have yet to see how Coleman is going to turn out. I feel as if the Browns will be able to do decently vs the run, better than the Bengals did despite the Bengals having better running back. Hopefully our defense holds up better against the run than we did last week. However, the pass game is another story. Recall the Browns giving up five sacks last week. Some may see this as the Browns’ offensive line being overrated: I don’t see that as the case. One of Kizer’s major flaws when I was scouting him was that he holds onto the ball for too long. Possibly more so than your typical rookie quarterback(which is saying something). I do not believe that Kizer is going completely correct this problem in one week, even if he does slightly improve. I don’t expect a dominant performance from our front seven like last week, but I do expect us to potentially get into the rookie’s head. Despite a few outliers(Dak Prescott last year, RG3 and Kirk Cousins in 2012), Dean Pees tends to game-plan well for rookie quarterbacks. I expect nothing different here. While the Browns’ offensive line holds up, I fully expect us to take advantage of Kizer holding the ball for an extensive period of time.

Overall: I expect this to a W. Not an easy win, but a win nonetheless. I think the Browns are not too far away from turning it around, and they play us hard. But ultimately a game similar to our home game against them last year would not surprise me. I think our defense takes advantage of a rookie quarterback, and the game remains closer than the score. Eventually, I think our front 7 is going to get into Kizer’s head, and that Flacco has one or two really good drives towards the end of the game when we’ve exhausted their defense. I don’t expect as many 3 and outs as last week. At home, I think it’s a win.

Final Score: 24-10, W. We get a few last minute scores to make the game look worse than it actually was. This game will be a lot closer than the score indicates.


Ravens Ring of Honor
The Browns OLine is good but there WR that they couldn't beat the Steelers secondary and there secondary stinks and it led to that OLine giving up I believe 8 sacks. The Ravens front 7 and secondary are both better than the Steelers so I'm not afraid of there OLine.

I'm giving the same score and prediction as week 1. 20-7 Ravens with the Browns only TD coming late.


Staff Member
Here's a fun stat about last week:

With Danny woodhead in the lineup we were passing 58% of the time and running 42% of the time which is on pace for the last 2 years

Once Danny Woodhead left, we ran 77% of the time...

This will be an outlier for the rest of the season but if we get a lead early against the browns then this trend may continue for at least one more week