The Baltimore Ravens are hitting the road this Sunday and traveling to Cleveland to take on their AFC North division rival, the Browns. There will be a lot of things to look for in the game but I have narrowed the list down a bit to the key matchups to watch for.
- Joe Flacco/Cam Cameron vs the road – It is unfortunate that every week that places the Ravens on the road, I have to refer to this as one of the key matchups to watch for, but hey, it is! Baltimore's struggles on the road are public knowledge, especially those of quarter back Joe Flacco. He has only averaged 188.67 passing yards per game on the road, as opposed to 317.75 passing yards per game at home this season. Cam Cameron seems to forget how to call a game offensively on the road as he becomes very predictable and a bit one sided towards the pass.
- Ray Rice vs Joe Flacco – Rice vs Flacco??? If you have listened or read about the Ravens as much as I do, you will have seen or heard that when Flacco is running the no-huddle offense, most times when he calls an audible he will divert from the run and go with the pass, thus Flacco seems to be the biggest reason Rice is not getting the football as much as he and Ravens fans would like to see. I will certainly be watching for how many touches Rice receives and how well of a job Flacco does on calling audibles.
- Ravens Rush defense vs Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns rookie runningback Trent Richardson has really solidified himself as a legitimate NFL runningback averaging 84.88 total yards per game and is coming off a 122 rushing yard performance last week against the San Diego Chargers, also at home. This game should be a good sign as to how much the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs return to the Ravens defense will have against the run as that has been a season long issue for them.
- Baltimore Ravens vs Baltimore Ravens – No that is not a typo, I am watching for how well this team has "self-scouted" over the bye week and see what kinds of adjustments they have made, on both sides of the ball. I know they are still going to try and run the no-huddle offense, both Flacco and Cameron have been adamant about that, but will they make the communication adjustments needed, will they run the ball out of the shotgun so they are no so predictable? We will find out tomorrow afternoon.
Baltimore will be looking to remain atop the AFC North and get back to .500 on the road for the season, but they are facing a Cleveland team that has won two of its last three and has looked pretty good lately and showing signs of a team that is starting to figure it out. This game is going to be a typical hard fought, hard nose AFC North inter-division game and will likely be settled in the fourth quarter and finish a one or one and a half possession game. Let's hope we see a much more unpredictable Ravens offense this week and a healthier Ravens defense.
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