The Ravens come into a Week 2 matchup against their second AFC North opponent in as many weeks. Some suspect an upset, some call this a trap-game, but nonetheless, this Ravens team knows every win is valuable in the National Football League.
The offense relied heavily upon the defense to win against the Cincinnati Bengals, but look to put up points against their Week 2 opponent, the Cleveland Browns. There are many ways to win, but narrowing it down to three keys to find the best ways to win.
Incorporate the passing attack
Last week, Baltimore won the game by halftime. Rather than give game film of the Ravens passing attack, Marty Mornhinweg and Greg Roman ran the clock down, starting in the third quarter. Now, Joe Flacco has practiced two full weeks with his starting offense, establishing chemistry with his full disposal of receivers. With Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman as the trio, Joe needs to keep the Browns worried about all three. With the Browns linebacker unit strong across all sides, tight ends may be used to pull coverage away, or continue protecting Flacco as they were utilized last week. When they use max protection, receivers need to get open and Joe must deliver. It’s important to not become one-dimensional either way, keep the Browns guessing on pass, run or play-action to create scoring drives.
Keep penalties low
Ryan Jensen’s first starting game as the Ravens center was a trial by fire. All-Pro Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson (before the injury) are talented players, capable of ruining an offenses day. Jensen performed admirably, but penalties can be drive-killers. This week, he’s no longer against one of the best interior linemen in the NFL. Hopefully with the lesser competition, he’s capable of battling in the trenches without the yellow flags being thrown. Other players also received penalties, and hopefully the line can take care of business.
Continue running the football
Last week was every Ravens fans dream. The offense pounded the rock 42(!) times. This week may look differently, as 42 run plays is only saved for big leads, but they need to not shy away from the ground game. I suspect a low-scoring affair, with both defenses stonewalling the opposition and fighting for field position, but this doesn’t mean we abandon the balanced calls. Continue running, continue grinding, and let’s push the Browns team to exhaustion. By the fourth quarter, gaps start to open up as linebackers and defensive fronts wear out.