Game Preview: Ravens entertain Browns in home opener

BALTIMORE — After a rough training camp, the Baltimore Ravens shocked the world by shutting out the Cincinnati Bengals on the road to open up the 2017 season. The defense dominated, producing five turnovers and five sacks. The offense did not explode, but did just enough to win. The coaching staff committed to the run game, and it worked. With Joe Flacco still settling into the season, the coaching staff could use the same recipe they did last week: run-heavy, clock management-focused.

Coming up on Sunday, the Ravens contend in their first home contest of 2017 against another division foe – the Cleveland Browns. The Browns lost 21-18 to the Steelers last week, but impressed. This team will not compete for a playoff spot this season, but they will not represent the laughing stock of the NFL. In 2015, the Browns beat the Ravens in Baltimore. To avoid the “trap game,” the Ravens need another dominant performance on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Details:

Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland

When: Sunday, Sept. 17, 1:00 pm

Network & Commentators: CBS, Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Steve Tasker

Game coverage: Ravens fans can catch the game on their local CBS station. Fans out of market can watch on NFL Sunday Ticket. Gerry Sandusky has the call on WBAL 1090, 98 Rock, and gameday audio will also stream on the Baltimore Ravens website.

Weather: According to The Weather Channel, partly cloudy skies enter Baltimore on Sunday, with a high of 82 degrees (F) and a low of 68 degrees (F). There’s a 20% chance of rain, and winds will blow east at six miles-per-hour.

Woodhead to IR: Following the re-aggravation of his left hamstring injury, the Ravens placed running back Danny Woodhead on injured reserve (IR) on Thursday. The injury is expected to take 4-8 recovery weeks, but placing Woodhead on IR means he will miss at least eight games. The earliest Woodhead can return? Baltimore’s week 11 matchup against the Packers on Nov. 19. That game occurs in Green Bay and follows Baltimore’s week 10 bye.

Since Woodhead will miss a significant chunk of the season, look for the Ravens to give a heavy workload to both Terrance West and Buck Allen. The Ravens can also turn to Michael Campanero (questionable, ankle) on some sweeps out of the backfield. Baltimore will also demand some pass-blocking assistance, giving players like Nick Boyle and Patrick Ricard opportunities.

Injury Report: The Ravens released their week 2 injury report on Friday. Campanero and linebacker Tim Williams (illness) got listed as questionable. LB Za’Darius Smith (knee), CB Jaylen Hill (thigh) and CB Sheldon Price (concussion) have all been ruled out.

Dominance vs. Browns: Since John Harbaugh became the head coach of the Ravens in 2008, Baltimore enjoys a 16-2 record against the Browns. Flacco started all but one of those 18 games, making his record against Cleveland 15-2.

Flacco’s career stats vs. Browns: 24 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 90.1 rating.

New kicks for introductions: This week, the Ravens announced that on Sunday they will debut a new entrance-way for the players to run out of. The same tunnels will be used, but the entrance-way and effects received some enhancements. The promo video below provides a preview of the new set.

Scouting Cleveland:

  • Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer flashed in his debut against the Steelers last weekend. The 21-year-old out of Notre Dame threw for 222 yards on 20 completions, a touchdown, and an interception. However, the Pittsburgh defense terrorized Kizer, sacking him seven times.
  • Last week, the Steelers limited Cleveland to 57 rushing yards. Corey Coleman, who had a eight-catch, 104-yard, two touchdown performance in week two against the Ravens last season, led the Browns in receiving with 53 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
  • Defensive end Myles Garrett, the #1 pick in the 2017 draft, will miss another week with a high ankle sprain. Following this game, the Browns will re-evaluate Garrett to see if the ankle looks good to go. In Garrett’s absence, defensive end Carl Nassib recorded the Browns’ first sack of the season.
  • Safety Derrick Kindred picked off Ben Roethlisberger last week, returning the ball 30 yards.

Image Credit: Newsday

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