Ravens View Browns As Tough Rivals


Every year, fans take the schedule and write "Ws" or "Ls" on games, trying to predict how their team will do.

During the Head Coach John Harbaugh era, the Ravens have a 13-1 record against the Browns. So, on the surface, Baltimore seems primed for a "W" marking.

On Wednesday, the Cleveland media put that notion to the test. They asked quarterback Joe Flacco whether he can count a Browns matchup as a win. Flacco laughed.

"I wish you could do that, but that is not how it works, man," Flacco said. "These games are some of the toughest games that I've played in."

Coming off a Ravens-Steelers Thursday Night Football thriller, a Sunday 1 p.m. matchup against the Browns, who have long been the AFC North division's cellar dwellers, doesn't have the same intrigue.

But don't tell the Browns that. And don't bring that noise around the Ravens either.

"They're just like Pittsburgh Steelers or Cincinnati games. It's a rival," cornerback Lardarius Webb said.

Veteran linebacker Daryl Smith called games against the Browns "dogfights." Fullback Kyle Juszczyk said they're "slugfests."

"You look at our last five or six games with them," Juszczyk said. "Luckily, we came out on top in the majority of those, but people tend to forget how close they were."

Five of the past seven games have been decided by eight points or less, which equates to one possession.

Last year, the Ravens escaped Cleveland with a 23-21 win in Week 3. Baltimore scrapped for a 20-10 victory at home in the final week of the season to secure a trip to the playoffs. The Ravens were trailing by a touchdown heading into the fourth quarter before a 53-yard catch by receiver Torrey Smith set up the Ravens' go-ahead score.

"It's always a tight, hard-fought game, and we have a lot of respect for them," Harbaugh said. "That's a very good football team. It's two teams fighting for their lives right now, and that's how we're approaching the game."

Both teams enter at the bottom of the AFC North at 1-3. The Browns, much like the Ravens, could have a much better record.

They lost to the Raiders by seven points, then fell in San Diego last week after jumping offsides on a field goal miss. Given a second chance, Chargers kicker Josh Lambo knocked a 34-yard kick through the uprights to send the Browns home a loser.

After a crushing loss, Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine is trying to pump his team up this week by making sure they know about the history of the Ravens-Browns rivalry. As a former Ravens assistant coach from 2002-2008, he knows the rivalry well.

"Yes, it means a lot, I know, just because of the circumstances, the birth of the Ravens coming from Cleveland," Pettine said. "It's hard for me to call it a rivalry sitting in this seat, just because it has been so one-sided. But it's our goal to get that changed."

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