Baltimore Ravens: 5 Keys To Victory Vs Cleveland Browns
5 Things Needs For A Win Against Cleveland Browns
This Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens will have their much awaited and long overdue home opener against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens had to open the season against the Denver Broncos because of a scheduling conflict with a certain baseball team that I’ll leave nameless. Is it really that hard to reschedule one game in a 162 game season?
All of that aside, the Ravens took on the chin from a team that was itching for revenge for eight months. The Ravens will look to even up again at home this week against a Browns team that’s always pretty scrappy. They have won the last 10 meetings against the Browns, but a lot of them weren’t easy. For whatever reason, the Browns usually seem to play better in Baltimore. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the scores from the past three games in Baltimore: 24-17, 20-14 and 23-16. Now take a look at the last three games between these teams in Cleveland: 20-10, 24-10 and 25-15. What could explain this trend? My only guess is that there's less pressure on the Browns to win in Baltimore, as opposed to in their own stadium, where they let down their poor, sad eyed, puppy dog faced fans a lot.
Ravens fans will hope for a blowout here, but I’d expect yet another one possession game, as has been the case the past three years. The following are the five things that the Ravens must do in this game to ensure their first victory of 2013.
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Stop Trent Richardson
This is probably the most important thing the Ravens need to do. If Trent Richardson has a big day, the Ravens will be in some serious trouble. The Ravens' defense needs to go all in on stopping Richardson. Let Brandon Weeden and the passing game (with no Josh Gordon) try to beat you.
Double Up Jordan Cameron
The Ravens caught a break with the two game Josh Gordon suspension, and they should take full advantage. Jordan Cameron was targeted a game-high 13 teams in last week's loss to the Miami Dolphins, so, naturally, there needs to be a lot of focus on neutralizing this guy. They should double up on him and take their chances playing man coverage on Greg “Hands of Stone” Little.
Get The Running Game Going
The Ravens typically run well against the Browns, and that will need to continue on Sunday. Joe Flacco threw for 62 times against the Broncos last Thursday, granted the Ravens were down in the second half. I would hope that Flacco was about half as many pass attempts this game. The Ravens were 5-1 last year when Ray Rice had 20 or more carries, one of those being the road game in Cleveland. They could also give Rice 15 carries, and a few more to Bernard Pierce. Either way, a big rushing game from the Ravens will help their chances.
Improved Performance Of Certain Skill Position Players
Torrey Smith will probably have Browns' top corner Joe Haden draped all over him during the entire game, so other guys will have to step up. I’m talking to you, Ed Dickson, Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley.
Win The Turnover Battle
I can’t help it, I’m being cliché here, but you can honestly say that winning the turnover battle in a game would be a key to victory. It’s true, and everyone knows it. If the Ravens are up 24-13 with eight minutes left in the game, obviously you don’t want to give the Browns the ball in the red zone with a chance to make it a one score game. I guess I have to say now it's whoever scores the most points that has a good chance of winning this game.