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Ravens cannot afford a loss this Sunday to Cleveland

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Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Robert Griffin III has been placed on IR. The statement that made me excited to know the Baltimore Ravens won’t be facing off against the comeback-tour RGIII. Problem is, the Browns back-up dropped over 650 yards in two games against Baltimore last season.

Josh McCown has been in the league since 2002, playing for nine different NFL teams. He’s consistently provided adequate back-up quarterback play, and the Ravens felt the brunt of it twice last season. If not for walk-off kick-six the Ravens would have been 0-2 against McCown and company.

Josh McCown vs. Ravens: 57/89 | 64% COMP | 669 YDS | 3 TD | 0 INT | 1 RUSH TD

The numbers posted are something you expect from Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, yet this is a statline from Josh McCown passing to Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge.

Clearly this Sunday has the feel of a ‘trap-game’. On the road, against a far weaker opponent, with a back-up quarterback. This is the type of game that players go in relaxed, and it’s not good. The Cardinals week one proves exactly why you don’t get in the wrong frame of mind. The Patriots did not have their starting quarterback, tight end, guard, tackle or defensive-end, and yet closed the deal against Arizona. The Ravens can’t afford to play down to their opponent.

Next week the AFC North plays each other, Steelers vs. Bengals and Ravens vs. Browns. The Ravens have a chance to sit at first or second in the division, 2-0. The Steelers and Bengals will provide a 2-0 & 1-1 squad, meaning Baltimore needs to be a leg up on one of the others, and they can’t let Josh McCown ruin their chances.