This upcoming Sunday will be the home opener for the 2012 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. They’ll take on division rival Cleveland Browns. After an embarrassing opening night loss the Denver Broncos, the Ravens need to take care of the Browns at home if they hope to make it back to the playoffs for a sixth straight year.
Being 0-2 wouldn’t exactly mean that the whole season is lost, but with some tough games looming, it would be in the Ravens’ best interest to even up at home against a team that is beneath them. Following this game are home contests against the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers. There are road games against the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers all before the Ravens’ Week 8 bye.
It’s imperative that the Ravens are at least 4-3 at the bye week. 5-2 would be nice, but considering the situation, the most practical thing to root for is the split the two homes and take two out of the three on the road.
As far as this upcoming game against the Browns, this is how I see it. With a packed house at M&T Bank stadium, the Ravens will get off to a hot start. I’m definitely seeing at least two big Ray Rice runs, with probably 125-150 yards rushing total. The defense will cause a couple of turnovers, and the Ravens will jump out to a big lead.
But the Browns always put up a fight in Baltimore. The Ravens will take their foot of the gas pedal, and the Browns slowly but surely will start coming back. It’s become too predictable at this point — the Ravens will have to sweat out the final couple of minutes. I’d gladly be wrong and have them win 45-10 or something like that, but I don’t think it will be that easy.
Ravens 24 — Browns 19
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