Week 4: Cleveland Browns At Baltimore Ravens
- QuarterbackThe Browns are fooling themselves if they think they are going to compete with the elite teams in the league. Brandon Weeden plays with effort and appears to be getting better, but he is a long way from being an effective quarterback.Joe Flacco has arrived as an elite player in the NFL. He has size and arm strength, and that allows him to hit the big play at any time. Flacco has developed excellent timing and touch and has the ability to rise to the moment.
- OffenseThe Browns thought they hit it big when they drafted Trent Richardson and he appears well on his way to becoming a star. However, the Browns just don’t have the strength at the wide receiver position to sustain a solid offensive attack.The Ravens have made a transformation from defensive juggernaut with an ordinary offense to an explosive offensive team. Running back Ray Rice is an explosive runner who takes the pressure off of Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. The key to Baltimore’s consistency is the solid offensive line.
- DefenseWhen the Browns are able to make a game of it, it’s largely due to their aggressive defense. While the Browns are not going to shut down an explosive team like the Ravens, they are tenacious and athletic. Linebacker Craig Robertson is coming off an 8-tackle effort while safety T.J. Ward is a big hitter.The Ravens still play one of the hardest hitting and most aggressive brands of defense in the league. While they are not forced to shut down opponents to win games any more, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed continue to make big plays when the game is on the line.
- Special TeamsThe Browns are dependent on their special-teams play and Phil Dawson has been one of the most consistent placekickers in the business. Return specialist Joshua Cribbs is capable of busting a big punt or kickoff return to change the momentum in the game.The Ravens are depending on placekicker Justin Tucker to hit the big kicks this year and he is off to a solid start. Sam Koch gets good height and solid placement on his punts.
The Ravens started the season with games against the Bengals, Eagles and Patriots, so they can’t afford to overlook the Browns. A solid effort by the Ravens should be enough to keep the Browns at bay. As long as the Ravens don’t lose the turnover battle by more than two, they should come away with the win.