The Ravens have their first road game of the season in Cleveland, where the Browns scored a big win over the New Orleans Saints last week.
Here are five things to watch in the matchup from FirstEnergy Stadium:
Effect Of Road EnvironmentThe Ravens were 2-6 on the road last year. They particularly struggled offensively, and averaged two turnovers per game on the road. Tight end Dennis Pitta expects an especially hostile environment considering the off-field issues surrounding the Ravens. Baltimore should be able to manage it better this year with a simplified offense, but the proof is in the pudding.
No Turnovers For Flacco
The last time quarterback Joe Flacco faced off against Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine, Flacco threw a whopping five interceptions. Pettine was the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills at the time, and fooled Flacco with disguises. Flacco will face a very strong secondary with three former top-8 draft picks: cornerback Joe Haden, cornerback Justin Gilbert and safety Donte Whitner.
Defense Forcing Mistakes
While Baltimore's offense can't turn the ball over, the defense needs to get its hands on it. The Ravens forced three turnovers against the Steelers last week. The Browns have been susceptible to that in the past, but have yet to cough up the ball this year. The Ravens must make Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer feel uncomfortable and make mistakes. That starts with getting pressure.
Ravens Secondary Situation
Could this be the week that cornerback Lardarius Webb returns? Webb had a long weekend for extra rest since the Ravens played last Thursday night. He has been practicing fully for the past three weeks. Webb has yet to play in a game – regular season or preseason – this year, so he may need to knock off some rust. Cornerback Asa Jackson is also somebody to watch as he's coming off a concussion. If the two aren't ready to go, look for safety Matt Elam to move again to nickel. Red- Zone Work
Offensively, the Ravens struggled to punch the football into the end zone last week. They settled for three chip-shot field goals by Justin Tucker. Defensively, Baltimore has done a superb job of limiting the opposition to just three points when in scoring range. If the Ravens can get both of those categories in the right direction, they have a strong chance of winning.