The Cleveland Browns play the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. Since beating them twice in 2007 on the way to a 10-6 season, the Browns have not won in eight tries against the Ravens. With Baltimore leading the series 19-7, it is hard to remember a time in which we were competitive with them. Given the recent history, it is also hard to imagine the Browns winning tomorrow night.
To make matters worse, the Browns will be without their suprise #1 receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, who was ruled out due to a hamstring injury suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. With Greg Little having trouble hanging on to the football and Josh Gordon developing slowly, the Browns will have to rely heavily on Trent Richardson. This does not bode well for the Browns, as the Ravens historically have been an excellent run defense.
On the defensive side, the Browns are pretty healthy, the most notable absence being Joe Haden, who will sit out one more game after Thursday night. Watching Sunday’s game against the Bills, the Browns were gashed repeatedly for big plays. Facing Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and Torrey Smith will not make it any easier on the defense.
The only way the Browns stand a chance to beat the Ravens is to get constant pressure on Flacco, create turnovers, hang on to the football (i.e., catch it when it hits you in the hands), play great on special teams, and most importantly get creative on offense. Breakout Josh Cribbs in the Wildcat, run misdirection plays, and overall just be unpredictable.
The Browns have to play as mistake free as possible to have a chance at winning this game. Here’s hoping that the spotlight of a nationally televised game will propel them to do just that, and put a smile on Browns players and fans everywhere.