Sat, 22 Jan 2022

Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Browns

Baltimore Ravens
28 Nov 2021, 04:25 GMT+10

Clifton Brown Basics

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium

TV: WBAL Channel 11 (Baltimore), WRC Channel 4 (Washington), NBC crew Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Kathryn Tappen (sideline)

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM) and 98 Rock (97.9 FM), Ravens crew Gerry Sandusky (play-by-play), Femi Ayanbadejo (analyst); Westwood One Sports, Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Ross Tucker (analyst)

History

The Ravens lead the all-time series, 33-11, and have a 22-4 edge under Head Coach John Harbaugh. Baltimore has a three-game winning streak in the series, including a memorable matchup last year on Monday Night Football. The Ravens completed a season sweep over the Browns with a come-from-behind 47-42 victory in Cleveland. After leaving the game with cramps, Lamar Jackson returned from the locker room in the fourth quarter and immediately threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise "Hollywood" to give Baltimore the lead. Cleveland eventually tied the game, 42-42, but Justin Tucker kicked a 55-yard game-winning field goal with two seconds to play.

Stakes

The Ravens lead the AFC North, but five of their last seven games are against divisional opponents and all of them have winning records. Rivalry games are always important in the AFC North, but especially this season, when all four teams have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs and the division title is clearly up for grabs.

Key Storylines

How will both quarterbacks bounce back?

Jackson missed last weekend's game with an illness, while Mayfield is dealing with multiple injuries and was booed at home in his last game. Jackson said he felt "great" this week and was "120 percent" certain he would play against the Browns. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins said Jackson looked even sharper than normal this week. Mayfield is playing with a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, and he has also suffered knee and foot injuries. Coming off his worst outing of the year against winless Detroit (15 for 29, 176 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions), Mayfield knows it will be difficult to win in Baltimore unless he plays better.

Will Baltimore's defense be burned by more big plays?

The Ravens have the NFL's top-ranked defense on third down and in the red zone, yet they rank 25th overall, largely because they've yielded too many big plays. Most of the damage done against Baltimore has come through the air, and the Ravens can't afford to give Mayfield easy looks by making coverage mistakes that leave receivers wide open. The Browns also have an explosive running back in Nick Chubb who's capable of making a house call, and the Ravens' run defense could be weakened if Calais Campbell (concussion) or Brandon Williams (shoulder) aren't 100 percent or don't play.

Will Baltimore's close-game magic continue?

The Ravens have been masterful at coming from behind and winning close games. They've won five times after trailing in the fourth quarter and they're 4-0 in games decided by three points or less. Many expect this AFC North battle to be another nail-biter, which could play into Baltimore's hands if the game is close in the fourth quarter.

Matchups to Watch

Browns DE Myles Garrett vs. RavensLT Alejandro Villanueva

Garrett leads the NFL with 13 sacks and Jackson has been sacked more times (28) than any quarterbacks this year except Ryan Tannehill (31) and Justin Fields (31). Keeping Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney (3.5 sacks) away from Jackson will be a huge challenge for Baltimore's offensive line, particularly in obvious passing situations. The Ravens can't afford to let Garrett make game-changing plays, but that's easier said than done.

Jackson vs. BrownsLB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Seeing Jackson twice every season hasn't helped Cleveland figure out how to contain him. He's 4-1 against the Browns as a starter, completing 67 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions, and twice he has rushed for more than 100 yards. The Browns may try to blitz Jackson more often, which seems to be the latest trend. But whatever their tactics, they need to find something that's effective. That could come in the form of rookie second-round linebacker Owusu-Koramoah, who has big-time speed and was drafted with the intent of slowing Jackson down.

Mayfield vs. Ravens pass defense

The Ravens have eight interceptions against Mayfield during his career, but he has thrown for more than 300 yards against them four times in six games. Mayfield's accuracy has suffered this season, but if the Ravens make mistakes in coverage, he's more than capable of exploiting them. Making Mayfield uncomfortable in the pocket with their pass rush will be key for the Ravens, who have only sacked him three times over their last five meetings.

MTA Light RailLink Service at M&T Bank Stadium

MTA Light Rail riders who leave before the end of the Ravens-Browns game will need to use the Supplemental Express and Local Shuttle Buses, which will depart from Lot C and take riders to both north and southbound Light Rail stops. Light Rail service will remain open for one hour after the game has concluded, and riders should make their way promptly to the Hamburg St. & Stadium Light Rail platform.

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