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Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Browns

Ravens Defense
Ravens Defense

*Basics                                *

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m., FirstEnergy Stadium

TV: ESPN and Channel 11 (Baltimore); ESPN crew (Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters)

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM/101.5 FM) and 98 Rock (97.9 FM): Ravens crew (Gerry Sandusky, Dennis Pitta); WDCN La Nueva 87.7 on the Ravens app: (David Andrade, Gustavo Salazar, Ximena Lugo Latorre)


This game has important playoff implications. The Ravens enter this game as the eighth seed in the AFC, one spot out of the postseason picture. However, a victory would greatly improve their wild card chances, and this is Baltimore's last game against a team with a winning record. The Browns are in good position as the fifth seed in the conference, but they can still win the division as they try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. A victory would pull Cleveland to within one game of the division-leading Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2).


The Ravens lead the all-time series, 32-11, including a 15-6 advantage in Cleveland. They have usually been close battles, but in Week 1 the Ravens opened the season with a convincing 38-6 victory over the Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Lamar Jackson completed 20 of 25 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Mark Andrews had two touchdown catches, Willie Snead IV had one touchdown grab, and Marquise "Hollywood" Brown had five catches for 101 yards. Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins scored two touchdowns in his NFL debut. For the Browns, quarterback Baker Mayfield (21 for 39, 189 yards, one touchdown) was intercepted by Marlon Humphrey on the game's first series and the Browns trailed 24-6 at halftime.


Which team will make the biggest statement in a huge game?

The Ravens built some momentum last week by defeating the Dallas Cowboys, but sweeping the season series against Cleveland would signal that Baltimore is ready to finish December strong. Cleveland has won four straight and is playing its best football of the season. The Browns silenced many doubters last week when they went on the road and defeated the Tennessee Titans. Winning this game would lift Cleveland's credibility as a contender even higher.

Which running attack will perform the best?

Baltimore leads the NFL in rushing (169.0 yards per game), while Cleveland is tied with Tennessee for the second best rushing attack (157.8 yards per game). Both the Ravens and Browns want to pound away with their running game. J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards have taken on larger roles in recent weeks alongside veteran starter Mark Ingram II, while Jackson is always capable of making big plays with his legs. For Cleveland, Chubb (799 yards) and Hunt (739 yards) are the league's most productive running back tandem, and both are explosive. The team that runs it best will have a huge advantage.

Which quarterback will perform the best?

Jackson and Mayfield will be linked throughout their careers as division rivals and Heisman Trophy winners who both entered the league in 2018. Jackson has already won an MVP award and has led the Ravens to two division titles. But Mayfield has taken a major step forward this season, cutting down on mistakes and coming off his best game of the season against Tennessee. Jackson looked re-energized last week against Dallas after missing a game on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. In a huge game for both teams, the outcome may be decided by which quarterback has the stronger performance.

Key Matchups

Mark Andrews vs. Browns defense

The Ravens' Pro Bowl tight end caught two touchdown passes against Cleveland in Week 1 and five touchdowns in five games against the Browns in his career. His return from the Reserve/COVID-19 list makes Baltimore's offense better. Cleveland has allowed the third-most receptions and touchdowns to tight ends this season. Jackson and Andrews have great chemistry and the Browns may struggle to disrupt it.

Myles Garrett vs.Orlando Brown Jr.

Cleveland's star defensive end had a quiet game against the Ravens in Week 1 (one tackle, no sacks), but that was before Ravens All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley suffered his season-ending ankle injury. Garrett enters the game tied for third in the league in sacks (10.5) despite missing two games. He'll be a handful for Baltimore's offensive line and left tackle Orlando Browns Jr., especially when the Ravens are in obvious passing situations.

Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt vs. Ravens run defense

This a rare occasion when the Ravens will face two backs who could be on their way to a 1,000-yard season. Chubb has hurt Baltimore in the past, and the Ravens' run defense is ranked 13th (111.6 yards per game), compared to last year when the Ravens ranked fifth (93.4). Ravens defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is having a superb year, Brandon Williams is premier run defender, but Calais Campbell is questionable (calf) and may not be 100 percent if he plays. Baltimore's entire front seven will be tested by the Browns' one-two punch at running back.

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