Round two of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens takes place this Sunday at First Energy Stadium. The first match-up was a boring game that relied on defense. Through seven games, the Ravens enter the contest with a mediocre 3-4 record. Here is what it will take for the Browns to grab their fourth win of the season.
Dawg Bone #1
Discipline, Discipline, Discipline
It’s getting ridiculous how many times the Browns have shot themselves in the foot. The game is hard enough to win vs. their opponents alone. Stopping making mental errors that make everything ten times harder. At the halfway point in the season, the excuse of being the second youngest team in the NFL is getting old. In the first game, defensive tackle Phil Taylor was flagged for a personal foul after the play and the Browns were penalized for 15 yards. That play happened after the Browns got a third down stop. While the referees and some of their calls were somewhat questionable, false starts and holding penalties late in the game are inexcusable. While penalties and mistakes are apart of the game, good teams do not make them at the wrong times in the game.
Dawg Bone #2
Time of Possession Battle
In the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Browns had the ball for just 23 minutes and 55 seconds. And, while the Browns defense played stellar in the second half, they need to get off the field. Three out their five losses, the Browns have lost the time of possession battle. The Ravens running game (74 yards/game – 28th in NFL) is atrocious and worse than the Browns. In a way, they are one dimensional on offense. To say the Ravens are balanced on offense is false. In the first game, the Ravens won the time of possession by one minute. Baltimore’s third down conversion ratio is 37% compared the Browns’ 34%.
Dawg Bone #3
Always Be Closing
Coming into this game, the Ravens have beat the Browns 11 straight times. Cleveland is due to get over the hump. If the orange-and-brown can keep this game close, this could be a slobber-knocker football contest. A divisional game at home, this game should be hard hitting, cold weather football. The Browns must figure out how to close out these Ravens. An AFC North hard fought divisional victory would do wonders for the psyche of this team heading into the bye week. Under the circumstances of all that has happened to the team, any Browns’ diehard would take a 4-5 record through nine weeks into the season.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Have a question or comment for the “ASK Ryan” column on Fridays send them to Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org