Since Cleveland was given an NFL team once again in 1999 as the original Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1996 to become the Ravens, the Ravens have pretty much owned this series. The Ravens lead this series 25-9.
Much of the Ravens dominance over the Browns however has occurred in the previous eight seasons under head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco. Since 2008, the Ravens are 14-2 against the Browns (7-1 at home and 7-1 on the road) and in week 2, the Ravens need that dominance to continue.
Maybe this is a coincidence, maybe it isn’t. But when the Ravens play the Browns every year, it is more than just a division rival. This game between these two teams has serious playoff implications for the Ravens historically.
Since 2000, when the Ravens sweep the Browns, the Ravens have made the playoffs nine straight times (2000, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014).
However, since 2000, when the Ravens lose at least one game against the Browns, the Ravens missed the playoffs six out of seven times (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2013 and 2015). The only time the Ravens have ever made the playoffs while losing to the Browns during the season was in 2001 when the Ravens got swept.
Losing to the Browns during the season has proven costly for the Ravens in a big way as the team missed the playoffs in 2004 and in 2013 in a ‘win and you are in’ situation finishing 9-7 and 8-8 respectively. If the Ravens had swept the Browns in 2004 and in 2013, the team would have mathematically clinched a playoff spot in both seasons.
If there is anyone on the Ravens roster who is underestimating the Browns, this information should be more than enough for the Ravens not to take the Browns lightly.