The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns have faced off twice a year every year since 2002, when the Cleveland Browns were granted their return to the NFL. On Monday night, this will be the 28th time the two teams have faced each other as the Browns and Ravens, and the last of the 2015 NFL season.
Back in week 3, when the two teams faced off for the first time this year, the Ravens were beginning their slide into mediocrity. Having already lost outside linebacker Terrell Suggs for the year with a torn Achilles, most fans were expecting the Browns to be an automatic win and a leg up on a division race that was supposed to be close. 457 yards through the air later and the Ravens would come within just 4 points of winning a game yet again. While we didn't know it was going to be a routine experience for the Ravens this season, both teams enter week 12 with some new questions marks.
The Ravens made the most news last week after losing their starting running back Justin Forsett as well as their starting quarterback Joe Flacco for the year to devastating injuries. Meanwhile the Cleveland Browns had proudly announced that Johnny Manziel would be their starter prior to their bye week only to have the young quarterback renege on some promises and see himself get benched. With the Ravens unable to start anyone on the field without the seemingly increasing risk of an injured reserve designation following shortly after and the Browns being unable to get themselves straightened out enough to win games, this matchup has all the definition of a toss up.
Both teams are entering their final free-fall as they vie for the first pick in April's upcoming NFL Draft. The winner of this game might have the immediate victory, but will likely finish with the second overall pick in the draft behind the loser.
With little else to watch for, fans can expect this game to be a more in-depth scouting attempt by both squads to see who they have for 2016. The Ravens on defense, wide receiver and offensive line in specific, while the Browns will be looking for anyone to shine.