Pressure Rookie Quarterback
After having a tough time against Josh McCown the last few matchups with Cleveland, the Ravens will face a new quarterback this time. Rookie Cody Kessler will get the start for the Browns as they're trying to find out if he could be the team's long-term answer at the position. Kessler has yet to win a game since taking the starting job, but he has been efficient at the position. He's thrown just one interception compared to five touchdowns, and he's completing 67.5 percent of his passes. The Ravens have a good history against rookie signal callers, and they will want to crank up the pass rush to make Kessler uncomfortable. This will be Kessler's first time playtime in a primetime environment, and the veteran Ravens defense hopes to force him into a few mistakes.
Stop Big-Play Receivers
The Ravens know the Browns are capable of putting up points in a hurry, as illustrated by Cleveland jumping out to a 20-0 lead in Week 2. Rookie receiver Corey Coleman was a big reason for that early scoring barrage, as he finished the game with five catches for 104 yards and two scores. Coleman won't catch anyone by surprise this week, and the Ravens are also well aware of Cleveland's other big-play receiver Terrelle Pryor. The converted quarterback leads the Browns with 579 receiving yards and four touchdowns, and cornerback Jimmy Smith will likely shoulder most of the responsibility in stopping him. Ravens rookie cornerback Tavon Young is likely to draw the assignment of defending Coleman much of the game, which is a change from having Shareece Wright on him in the earlier meeting.
Offense Needs To Get In Rhythm
The struggles of the offense have been a story all season, but this week is an opportunity for the group to get on track. Cleveland has the NFL's 31st-ranked defense (allowing 421.7 yards per game) and the Ravens have the 27th-ranked offense (325.1 yards per game), so something has to give. Head Coach John Harbaugh said this week that "we're making progress in many areas," and the Ravens hope they can show that development in a tangible way. The good news is that the offensive line may play its second game back at full strength (as long as right guard Marshal Yanda is active), which could open holes on the ground and give Flacco more time tin the passing game. This week could also be a good chance to get the running game going, as the Brown give up an average of 146.4 yards per game on the ground.
Will Ravens Test Haden?
Browns cornerback Joe Haden is always a tough player to beat, and he showed that by coming up with a pair of interceptions earlier in the season. Haden has picked off Flacco four times in his career, more than any other quarterback. Flacco regularly says that he's not too concerned with which defender is on a particular receiver, and it will be interesting to see if he throws away from Haden's direction.
How Ravens Handle Primetime Atmosphere
This game will be the first time the Ravens step under the lights for a primetime matchup. Playing at night in front of a national TV audience can bring some added pressure, and the young players have to appropriately handle that situation. "It is going to be electric," veteran safety Eric Weddle said. "We have to control ourselves, control our emotions and go out and play a great game, great team ball, rely on each other and go get a win."