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Everything You Need to Know: Ravens at Browns

100618_GamePreview

Basics

Kickoff: 1 p.m., FirstEnergy Stadium
TV: Channel 13, WJZ (Baltimore) CBS crew (Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, John Schriffen)
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM) & 98 Rock (98.7 FM)
Ravens jersey color: White

Stakes

The Ravens (3-1) have not started 4-1 since 2012. That was the last time they won the AFC North, on their way to winning Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens have already lost at Cincinnati and have won at Pittsburgh, making Sunday their final divisional road game.. A victory would set the Ravens up nicely to make a run at the division title, with three AFC North home games remaining.

History

This has been a one-sided matchup with the Ravens winning the last five meetings and seven of the last eight. In the last three meetings, the Browns have been held to 10 points or less. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has a 17-2 career record against the Browns. Meanwhile, seven different Browns quarterbacks have started against the Ravens since 2013 – Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer. The will be the Ravens’ first look at rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, who the Browns drafted first-overall in hopes of ending their musical chairs history at quarterback.

Key Storylines

Can the Ravens’ second-half defensive prowess continue?

Baltimore is the only NFL team that has not allowed a second-half touchdown yet this season. However, the Browns are averaging 33 points in their last two games and have scored 43 points in the second half the past two weeks, with Mayfield providing an impressive spark. Whether the Ravens can shutdown Mayfield and company in the second half may determine the game’s outcome.

Will Flacco keep dealing?

The Ravens’ quarterback is off to one of the best starts of his career, completing 110 of 171 passes (64.3 percent) for 1,252 yards, eight touchdowns, two interceptions and a 96.9 quarterback rating. Two of Flacco’s first four games were played in lousy weather, making his work more impressive. If Flacco keeps playing at this level, the Ravens will be tough to beat.

Are Alex Collins’ fumbling issues over?

The Ravens’ running back has fumbled six times in 19 games with the Ravens, including one last week in Pittsburgh that cost them a chance to break open the game. The Browns enter Week 5 leading the NFL in turnover ratio (plus-7) and their defense has already recovered six fumbles. Collins’ ability to hold onto the football will be tested.

Matchups to Watch

Ravens secondary vs. QB Baker Mayfield

Mayfield threw two picks against the Oakland Raiders in Week 4 and young quarterbacks are often prone to mistakes. The Ravens’ defense has been opportunistic, and safety Eric Weddle has an interception in four straight games against the Browns.

OT Ronnie Stanley vs. DE Myles Garrett

Baltimore’s offensive line faces another elite pass rusher in Brown defensive end Myles Garrett, who has 4 ½ sacks, just one behind league leader Demarcus Lawrence (5 ½) of the Dallas Cowboys. Garrett is an early season candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

WR John Brown vs. Browns secondary

Brown is a dangerous deep threat and Cleveland just gave up 437 yards passing against Oakland. Expect Flacco and Brown to test the Browns secondary with deep shots. Cleveland has a talented first-round rookie cornerback in Denzel Ward.

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