Browns Contest This Sunday Is A “Turning Point Game” For The Ravens

Featured, Sports and Bets — September 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm by

by Babes

It’s tough calling a Week 3 game in the NFL a turning point game, but that’s exactly what this week’s game is for the Baltimore Ravens.  This contest is their first road test of the season, and it’s a divisional one at that.  The Ravens sit at 1-1, as do the Cleveland Browns, who the Ravens are visiting on Sunday afternoon.  Given that the Ravens won a whooping two games on the road last season, a win this weekend would go a long way in securing the Ravens a favorable position within the division. It could also do wonders for overall team confidence and outlook.

Make no mistake, priority number one going into Cleveland establishing the run early.  Getting Bernard Pierce going early is imperative ( and not just because I’m starting him in three fantasy leagues) to Baltimore’s success.  Cleveland has not stopped anybody from running the ball yet this year. Leveon Bell went for 109 week one, and the Saints collectively went for over 160 last week on the ground.  Establishing the run early will temper the crowd noise and slow down the Browns’ pass rushers.  My thinking is if we can control the time of possession, and keep the Browns less than potent offense off the field, then Brian Hoyer will try to force things which will lead to mistakes and turnovers.

222 rb pierce

The only way the Browns get a victory Sunday is if they force us into mistakes.  If the Ravens can manage to keep the turnovers to an absolute minimum, we should bring home the win.

The Ravens will need to pick their spots as far as attacking in the passing game.  Joe Haden is one of the best corners in the game, and should see a lot of Torrey Smith.  That means the Ravens need to pick on the rookie corner, Justin Gilbert.  For one, Gilbert is slightly hampered by an injury, and second, he has shown to be susceptible to drawing penalties by being overly aggressive.  If Steve Smith draws Gilbert, he needs to take him to school.

222 r b steve

Joe Flacco has to attack the center of the field with the backs and tight ends, especially off play-action, to take advantage of Karlos Dansby’s lack of coverage ability.  Dansby is getting up there in age, as is Browns strong safety Donte Whitner, so the Ravens need to put pressure on those guys in coverage.  Once again it all starts with the running game, and success early will bring Whitner down in the box on early downs, which will open up the opportunity for Joe to take those moon shots with Torrey or Jacoby.

I’m not worried about our defense going into Sunday.  They need to be prepared for Johnny Manziel making an appearance, and I’m sure they will be.  Stopping the run needs to be priority number one.  The combo of Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell has been very effective for Cleveland on the ground thus far this season.  We have to sell out to stop the run, and make Hoyer beat us through the air.

222 r b hoyer

Another key to this game defensively is taking away the short play action game.  The bootlegs on early downs are a staple of the Kyle Shanahan offense, as Gary Kubiak should know all to well, and safeties Matt Elam and Darian Stewart need to be all over them.  Making the Browns one dimensional will force Brian Hoyer to do something he doesn’t have the ability to do against our defense, and that’s beat us throwing downfield.  But if Cleveland does have some success on the ground, and Hoyer is able to roll out off play-action and make easy throws to crossing receivers, the Browns will have a great chance of winning.

I’m predicting a 24-13 Ravens victory Sunday.  The defense will force two turnovers, and Bernard Pierce will go over 100 yards with a touchdown.  Let’s make it happen fellas.

 

 

 

 

 

cover pic:  sportsnarrative

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