With week one behind them, the Cleveland Browns look to go on the road to try to steal a division game against the favored Baltimore Ravens. After being outplayed and out-coached against the Miami Dolphins, the Browns need to head into this game with a clear and focused game plan.
The Ravens, coming off their opening loss to the Broncos, must be peeved heading into Sunday. Here is what Baltimore brings to the table against the Browns.
Led by their Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens could be a team that is on the decline offensively. Was Flacco really worth all that money in the off-season? This is the question that remains to be seen. Against a tough Denver Broncos team last Thursday, the Ravens offense looked pedestrian and lost at times.
The two monster stars on offense are running back Ray Rice and wide receiver Torrey Smith. Rice is an all-purpose beast that runs low to the ground and can be very difficult to tackle. The third year receiver Smith is lethal in the vertical passing game and has exceptional hands. Smith is “the man” in Baltimore now that Anquan Boldin has moved on. Browns cornerback Joe Haden will be assigned to blanket Smith.
Gone are the days of Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Danell Ellerbe, and Paul Kruger. The new look Ravens defense is still led by Terrell Suggs though. The 30-year old play making linebacker is a Browns killer. Whether it’s knocking someone out cold, forcing a turnover, or just getting in the heads of opposing players, Suggs always seems to give the Browns a headache. Haloti Ngata is the other threat to Cleveland. A true nose tackle, Ngata is another player that has a nastiness.
As always, Browns center Alex Mack will have his hands full in the middle. Former Broncos end, Elvis Dumervil could be the X-Factor on Sunday. Dumervil is still quick and has a variety of moves to hunt the quarterback.
On special teams, the Ravens are a little shaky. Punter, Sam Koch had a punt blocked last week, but did punt nine times with an average punt of 50.7 yards. Up and coming youngster, Justin Tucker is the Ravens kicker.
In 2012, Tucker missed just three field goal attempts and boomed 49 touchbacks. Return specialist and cornerback, Ladarius Webb is over-hyped and nothing special in the Ravens return game.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Cleveland Browns Correspondent for The SportsFix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportfix.net.