Thursday – 9/27/12
Happy Thursday folks. Less than two work days until the ever so far away weekend. This week I’m going to do a different layout on my preview and review and see how everyone likes it compared to my previous layout. Enjoy folks because it should be a fun game for Ravens fans tonight.
This week Thursday Night Football will be hosting an AFC North divisional battle between the struggling Cleveland Browns and the division leading Baltimore Ravens. Luckily for us football fans we will get the first taste of our regular officials as the referee lockout was ended last night. That being said, we shouldn’t see the game end with an interception by Ed Reed and somehow the Browns score a touchdown on the play. The Ravens lead the all-time series between the Browns, 15-7, and it is sure looking like the Ravens will be making that 16-7 Thursday night.
The Ravens are coming off a very emotional game from Sunday night’s victory over the Patriots in which the hero of the game, Torrey Smith, suffered a major tragedy in the loss of his brother just hours before the game. The Ravens will be looking to build on their offensive success after collecting 503 total yards the previous game. Also Ray Rice will be looking to put his stamp on the game and show rookie Trent Richardson that the Ravens have the best running back in the division.
Cleveland sits at the bottom of the AFC North standings at 0-3 and also joins the Saints as the only winless teams in the NFL through week 3. Rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson have been showing improvements week by week and if the Browns want to come out victorious Thursday Night, they are going to need to pick up more than the 296 yards per game they have been averaging through the first three weeks. Luckily for the Browns, the Ravens have been given up an unusually high 401 yards per game.
What the Ravens need to do to win the game
The Ravens really need to stick to their game plan of what they have been doing all year. Baltimore has displayed a very potent passing attack thus far and the Browns are a man down in their secondary, and that man just happens to be shut down corner Joe Haden. If one of the best corners in the league is out, why not attack that team’s secondary. The Browns have given up 6 passing touchdowns in the two games without Haden, and Joe Flacco just happens to be 5th in the league in TD passes and second in yards.
Baltimore has been giving up 111 rushing yards a game and they are going to need to tighten up on defense when Trent Richardson comes to town tonight. The fourth overall pick in last year’s draft has shown flashes in his first three NFL games and Baltimore needs to keep him in check in order to claim victory.
Ed Reed and the Ravens’ defense have been giving up 290 passing yards a game but I have a feeling this week will be a little different. Baltimore has faced Andy Dalton, Mike Vick, and Tom Brady during those game and all of those OBs rank in the top ten is passing yards a game. This week they get to face rookie Brandon Weeden who ranks 23rd in passing yards and leads the league in interceptions. If the Ravens keep Weeden in the bottom of the passing ranks for a fourth week in a row, Baltimore will keep rolling to a 3-1 record.
What the Browns need to do to win the game
The Browns know they are in for a tough game against the Ravens. Down their top defensive player and led on offense by two rookies, they are going to need to pull some tricks out of their sleeves to have a chance in this one. Look for the Browns to finally pull out some wildcat looks with Josh Cribbs and see if they can catch the Baltimore defense off guard. If Cleveland can confuse the Ravens defense and get some cheap points, they might be able to pull out a victory.
The Browns are also going to need to get Weeden and Richardson rolling early to go along with some wildcat trickery. Richardson would love to prove to the world that he is well worth his draft status of being the 4th overall pick and what better way to prove that then on national television. Weeden is also looking to prove that he is not a first round bust and plans to show, along with Richardson, that the Browns are better than their 0-3 record suggests. If the Browns want a win, they are going to need big games from their rooks.
Thursday’s match-up to keep an eye on is between a seasoned veteran and a 28 year-old rookie. Ed Reed vs Brandon Weeden should be an interesting competition. If the Browns want to win, Weeden is going to need to keep looking off Reed in coverage. Reed is the league’s best ball hawk and Weeden leads the league in interceptions. If Reed keeps Weeden atop the interceptions list, look for the Ravens to win easy. If Weeden can keep the ball out of the Ball Hawk’s hands, the Browns could sneak back to Cleveland with a win.
If you are a Ravens fan, and I’m sure most of you all are, you should thoroughly enjoy tonight’s game. The Ravens and Browns game carries a 13 point spread, but I see this one getting out of hand.
I see Baltimore really hitting on all cylinders to stay atop the division with a 34-7 victory over the Browns.