Matchups

Cleveland (5-4) at Baltimore (4-5)

Cleveland Browns Defense
28th Ranked against the Run
31st Ranked against the Pass
Cleveland Browns Offense
18th Ranked in Rushing
10th Ranked in Passing

Baltimore Ravens Defense
2nd Ranked against the Run
12th Ranked against the Pass
Baltimore Ravens Offense
19th Ranked in Rushing
21st Ranked in Passing

You may look at the defensive stats and assume that Cleveland is just going to lay down and live up to their ranking by giving up 29 points as their previous opponents have averaged over nine games. But things are not always as they seem when viewed on paper, and the Browns rivalry against the Ravens is a very different animal. The Ravens after all used to be the Browns before they abandoned the Ohio valley for the Baltimore beltway. And on the other side of the ledger, two of the brightest stars on the Browns roster (quarterback Derek Anderson and running back Jamal Lewis) are outcasts from the Ravens squad.

Over the first three games of the season Cleveland allowed their opponents to score 105 points – thats an average of 35 points a game. Since then the Browns have allowed their opponents 29 points a game. But when Cleveland met Baltimore in Week 4, the Ravens scored a total of just 13 points.

The Ravens ought to be worried about this Sunday’s contest against Cleveland. The last time they faced “a high powered passing team with a lousy defense” (the Cincinnati Bengals just last week) they turned the football over six times and scored only 7 points, the same amount of offense they had in their humiliating defeat at the hands of the Steelers the previous week. And while Pittsburgh did shut down the Browns passing game last week, they did it with the NFL’s top rated pass defense. Baltimore doesn’t have that. In fact they don’t even have a decent quarterback any more. Look for the Browns to correct their mistakes and claw their way back to a 6-4 record.

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