Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Browns

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Left: OLB Matthew Judon; Right: OT Jedrick Wills Jr.

Basics

Kickoff: 1 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium

TV: WJZ Channel 13 (Baltimore), WUSA Channel 9 (Washington, DC), CBS crew (Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn)

Radio: WBAL (1090AM/101.5 FM) & 98 Rock (97.9FM) Ravens crew (Gerry Sandusky, Femi Ayanbadejo); Compass Media Networks (Chris Carrino, Brian Baldinger), WDCN La Nueva 87.7 radio broadcast on the Ravens app: (David Andrade, Gustavo Salazar, Ximena Lugo)

Jersey color: White

Stakes

After winning back-to-back division titles, the Ravens open the 2020 season against the only AFC North team that beat them last year. Dating back to last season, the Ravens have won 12 straight regular season games, and they have won four straight season openers. Cleveland hasn't made the playoffs since 2002 and wants to erase memories of last year's disappointing 6-10 campaign. Opening the season with a victory in Baltimore would be an impressive way for new Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski to begin his tenure.

History

The Ravens lead the all-time series, 31-11, but they have split the season series with Cleveland the past two years. In their most recent meeting in Week 16 last year, the Ravens clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a 31-15 victory in Cleveland. Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes in that game – two to Mark Andrews and one to Mark Ingram II. Jackson also rushed for 103 yards on 17 carries. In Week 4 last season, the Ravens suffered a 40-25 loss to the Browns in Baltimore. Cleveland running back Nick Chubb led the way with 165 yards and three touchdowns.

Storylines to Watch

Will the Ravens run defense look improved?

Containing Cleveland's running game led by Chubb and Kareem Hunt is Baltimore's top defensive priority. Chubb ran wild in Baltimore last year, and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry rushed for 195 yards against the Ravens in the playoffs. Baltimore believes the additions of defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, and rookie linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison will dramatically improve the run defense. This will be a good opening test for Baltimore's new-look defense.

What will the atmosphere be like at M&TBank Stadium?

With no fans, it will create an atmosphere for a home opener unlike any ever seen. Ingram thinks it will be important for the Ravens to generate their own energy. If the Ravens start slowly, or in a situations where crowd noise would usually be a factor, the Ravens won't be able to rely on their fans to help turn momentum in their favor.

How will Lamar Jackson start the season?

There is always buzz surrounding the league's reigning MVP, and Jackson has been eager to return to action. He began last season with a dominant performance in Week 1, throwing five touchdown passes with a perfect quarterback rating. Jackson would love to repeat that kind of start to 2020.

Key Matchups

Browns LT Jedrick Wills vs. Ravens front seven

Wills will be tested as rookie being entrusted to protect Baker Mayfield's blindside. The Ravens are certain to throw different looks at him, which could lead to Wills being matched up against Campbell or Matthew Judon. Regardless of his assignment, Willis needs to be solid or Mayfield could have a tough day.

ILBPatrick Queen vs. Browns offense

Everyone knows Queen has the talent, but he's sure to have first-game jitters in his Ravens debut. Not only does Cleveland have a potent running attack, but it added an excellent pass-catching tight end in Austin Hooper via free agency. This game will test Queen's ability to read and react quickly, whether he's defending the run or dropping into pass coverage.

Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry vs. Ravens secondary

Beckham and Landry are both explosive receivers and Baltimore's secondary is elite. Marlon Humphrey and Beckham had great battles last year, with Humphrey getting the edge. With Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, and Tavon Young also in the Baltimore's secondary, Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale has plenty of options. However, the Ravens can never afford to let their guard down, because Beckham and Landry can both strike quickly.

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