Friday, October 31, 2008

Ravens @ Browns: Let's get ready to rumble!!!

After talking to a few people in and around the Ravens, the team appears to be taking on the role of underdog heading into Cleveland. Now to some that may seem a bit unusual since the Ravens beat the Browns pretty decisively back in September (28-10) and they are one game ahead of Romeo Crennel’s gang after 7 games. Despite that, odds makers list the Ravens as 1 ½ point underdogs.

The Ravens respect the Browns and believe that they are now the team that many thought they could be at the outset of the season after beating the world champion Giants at home and a tough Jaguars team on the road. They also competed down to the wire with a surprisingly competitive Washington Redskins.

So what has changed for the Browns since they last took on the Ravens on September 21?

Well it appears that the offensive line has settled down. Through the first 3 games the Browns allowed 7 sacks. In the last four they’ve allowed only 3 and that has enabled Derek Anderson to take some shots down field and that’s exactly what everyone expects him to do against a banged up Ravens’ secondary.

And the Ravens know it too.

In his four career games against the Ravens, Anderson has completed 56.8% of his passes for 826 yards, 5 scores and 7 interceptions. He’s also fumbled twice and he’s been sacked 10 times to go with a passer rating of 67.0.

Jamal Lewis has rushed 57 times against the Ravens in 3 games for 212 yards, averaging 3.7 yards per carry and hitting pay dirt twice.

Defensively the Browns are ranked 21st overall and 24th against the run. They defend the pass well as they are tied with the Ravens for 5th in interceptions and they are the league’s 10th best controlling the airwaves.

Not much has changed for the Browns over the past 18 months. The Ravens are very familiar with them and their Dawg Pound home crowd. Conversely, Harbaugh’s bunch has changed far more than the Browns and they planted even more seeds of change last week against the Raiders with their "Suggs Set." The Ravens are no longer a predictable offense.

That said, the Ravens will still try and control this game on the ground – and that’s predictable. It's a successful formula on the road. The Browns will try to control the game by air. That’s predictable too. It could be argued that the winner of this game will be determined by how well the Ravens throw the ball versus how well the Browns run it.

In a way this game is a bit like the Ravens game on the road versus the Steelers. It will be a slugfest. It will be a battle of wills and it will be emotional. The difference this time is that Joe Flacco has a few more snaps under his belt and the Browns, despite their improved level of play are not the Steelers and clearly Derek Anderson is not Ben Roethlisberger.

Oh and if you are the superstitious type, it is Halloween Weekend and we will soon celebrate Edgar Allen Poe’s 200th birthday. Therefore it seems pretty appropriate that the Ravens start their second journey towards 100 wins on Sunday.

When the clock strikes 0:00, the final score will be Ravens 20, Browns 17



Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 Halloween.. Ah wooooo
...This game worries me. Derek Anderson is erratic as all get out. One week he is Tom Brady the next week he is Bernie Kosar or Brian Sipe.
... The key to this game, is the 4 guys that the Ravens put out in our Secondary; and the ability to Stop Jamal Lewis. Stop Jamal and force Derek to pass, and the Ravens will pick him off; then the Ravens will win.
.. I noticed that the Ravens signed Terrence Copper, w/r this week from the Saints & Steven Hauschka, an NC STATE grad who is 6ft 4 inches tall and weighs in at 210 pounds. Some research showed that he averaged 69 yards on kickoffs in the one game that he played in. Matt Stover said , earlier in the week that its tough to kick in Cleveland. Good move OZZIE!!
... In closing, I hope your score of 20-17 is correct. Maybe I need to Drink some more Purple Kool aid?

Jeremiah said...

In this corner we have the punk body snatchers.

Ray is going to knock some sense into Jamal and make him regret going to Clowntown. He has not hit a lot of paydirt vs the Ravens. 1 of the TDs was BS. The last game Jamal took a couple of really big hits, and I know Winslow remembers getting jacked up. It is not like that was last season or 8 weeks ago. Some of the players have changed, but most of the matchups are the same. I also think Flacco's development changes the dynamic as much as any change in personel.

The browns may very well make some plays in the passing game, but most of the matchups even on pass plays will favor the Ravens. LT and DE are about even, basically the only positional battle that favors the Browns is WR vs CB.
DT vs interior Ol we should dominate, Lb vs RB and FS vs QB. TE vs SS could be a problem if Kellen is healthy and not afraid of getting another staph infection if Ray knocks him too far into the turf.
On the other side of the ball, DT Shaun Rodgers was playing well the last time the teams met, but Jason Brown shut him down. Grubbs and Yanda were also playing very well combo blocking him, and Yanda was particaurally good in that game, but it was Brown stuffing his initial charge that allowed the G pulls and combo blocks that blew the Clowns off the ball all day long. Gaither was throwing his man on top of Rodgers' legs on the short yardage stuff. OL vs DL is in our favor at every spot but C NT and I would concider that even.
Rbs vs LBs, WRs vs CBs and TE vs SS are all favorable matchups 1 on 1 for Baltimore. QB vs FS, I would take Flacco over Brodney Pool even in the first matchup. The defense does not have the luxury of confusing the rookie with coverages beacuse they have not been able to force 3rd and long. They are having to comit to 8 man fronts presnap and even a rookie can see cover 3 when that is all you play and you show it presnap.

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29
...Jermiah...Good analysis... I agree with you.. now lets go to Cleveland and Kick some butt..