The Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns today as they open the home portion of their schedule after playing the first two games of 2010 on the road, much less against tough teams. The Ravens could and probably should be 2-0 at this point, but four interceptions usually points to a loss and it did despite the Ravens still not surrendering a touchdown so far this season.
There's a decent chance that the Ravens streak of not giving up a six-pointer will continue past this weekend as the Browns are not exactly an offensive powerhouse and have not scored in the second half so far in 2010. This bodes well for a Ravens defense which has been nothing short of stellar despite concerns about an injured secondary, yet has performed at a high level as they have year after year.
The Ravens offense has been a much different story, however.
Expected to be one of the better offenses in the league after picking up WR's Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth in the off season, they have only scored 10 points in each of their two games so far. Stallworth is on the sidelines with a broken foot and while Boldin has performed great so far, it is the play of the third year QB Joe Flacco that has failed to impress in the first two games.
The Browns could be just what the doctor ordered to solve the woes of the Ravens offense. Expect the run game to get untracked and that will just make the chances of the air attack that most Ravens fans expected to open up. The combination of the Ravens offense opening up for the first time this season as well as the continuing defensive success puts the Ravens in a great position to return to the type of team that most expected to contend not only for the AFC North but for the Super Bowl as well.
The Browns offense should not be able to run against the Ravens and their passing attack should be limited by the Ravens pass pressure and their own struggles. Defensively, the Browns have not looked so bad and have held their first two opponents to under 20 points, although in fairness to those opponents, neither of those teams had offensive reputations preceding them.
Therefore, once this game has ended, the Ravens should be back on track at 2-1 and preparing to go to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in a key battle for the top of the division. The Browns should be all set in their comfortable position as the division's cellar-dweller and leave Baltimore with their collective tails between their legs. While beating the Browns is in no way comparable to beating the better teams in the league, the Ravens need to beat up on the weaker teams if they want to compete for the post season. That should not be a problem today as the Ravens roll over Cleveland and the Browns just, well, roll over.