CLEVELAND, OH — It’s been a long week in Baltimore. Yes, the Ravens’ loss in Pittsburgh last week did not hurt Baltimore’s playoff standings, but no one wants to fall victim of a season sweep to a division rival. The Ravens scored 38 points at Heinz Field in primetime, and it still wasn’t enough.
From watching the press conferences this week, it’s easy to tell that the coaches and players are upset. They’re upset that they blew an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter. They’re upset that the defense allowed over 500 passing yards to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ passing attack, particularly the 213 yards in receiving (11 receptions) by Antonio Brown. Marlon Humphrey impressed in his first start since Jimmy Smith‘s season-ending injury. The struggles by Tony Jefferson and Brandon Carr, however, are concerning.
This week, the Ravens will again hit the road to face another division rival; the winless Cleveland Browns. This marks the last road trip for the Ravens this season, who own a 3-4 record away from Baltimore this season. Interestingly enough, Sunday will be the last time the Browns play at home this season.
The Browns play teams tough, but often make mistakes late in games that turn into points for opponents. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has thrown 17 interceptions this season, six of them coming in. the fourth quarter, which is more than he has thrown in any other quarter.
Last season the Browns went 0-14 before picking up their first win against the Chargers in week 16. This Browns team salivates for their first win of the season, and will play hard in their last chance to play in front of their home crowd this season. The Browns have not beaten the Ravens in four straight tries, and the Ravens have won three straight games in Cleveland. In week 2, the Ravens defeated the Browns 24-10 in Baltimore’s home opener at M&T Bank Stadium.
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, Ohio
When: Sunday, Dec. 17, 1:00 pm
Commentators: Gerry Sandusky, Stan White, Jarrett Johnson
Weather: The weather for Sunday in Cleveland looks mild, high of 39 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 36 degrees. There’s a 20% chance of precipitation. Winds will blow southeast at 10-15 mph. There’s a chance for showers in the evening.
Injury Report: Around 3:00 pm on Friday, the Ravens released their official injury report for Sunday’s game. Here’s a screenshot of the injury report, courtesy of the Ravens’ Twitter account:
Notes on the Ravens:
- The last time the Ravens faced wide receiver Josh Gordon, Lardarius Webb was a starting cornerback. A lot has changed since then, and the two starting cornerbacks the Ravens have own very little experience against Gordon, and the same can be said for the two starting safeties.
- Terrell Suggs now owns 31.5 sacks in the months November and December. That’s his highest total of any month.
- Justin Tucker has more field goal misses against Cleveland (five in 27 attempts) than any other team, but keep in mind that the Ravens face the Browns twice a year and have had a lot of scoring opportunities against them.
- Sunday marks the first time that Ronnie Stanley faces Myles Garrett, the #1 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. In eight games so far this season, Garrett tallied five sacks.
Notes on the Browns:
- Gordon, who has made a return to the NFL after a three-year absence (substance abuse), has only faced the Ravens three times in his career (twice in 2012, once in ’13). Against the Ravens, Gordon previously caught just six passes for 98 yards. Without Smith, coupled along with Carr’s struggles last week, look for the Browns to match Gordon up with Carr, but also mix in some battles with Humphrey.
- In two games since his return, Gordon recorded seven receptions (17 targets) for 154 yards and a touchdown. The Browns want to get him going, and looking at how the Ravens’ pass defense struggled last week, Cleveland will look for Gordon, Corey Coleman, and David Njoku down the field.
- Last year in Cleveland against the Ravens, running back Isaiah Crowell ran for 133 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. This season, Crowell possesses a better yards-per-carry average on the road (4.80) than at home (3.58). It’s hard to predict how involved Cleveland will allow Crowell to have, but he does have prior success against the Ravens’ defense.
- The Browns’ defense ranks 12th in the NFL in total defense (4,268 yards given up), but has given up the third-most points in the NFL (335), along with the Texans.
Up Next: The Ravens close out the 2017 season with two home games; the first against the Indianapolis Colts. This game will actually take place next Saturday, Dec. 23 at at 4:30 pm from M&T Bank Stadium.
Image Credit: SB Nation