Baltimore Ravens: 2-1
Cleveland Browns: 2-1
Odds (Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Ravens +130; Browns -155
Last 5 Games In Series
The Ravens have won three of the past five matchups against the Browns.
Ravens lead the all-time series against the Browns 35-13
Ravens vs. No. 1 Defense
The Ravens offense had “too much drag” last week and are looking to right the ship. Unfortunately, they won’t be doing so against a bottom-feeder defense or even a middling squad. Rather, they’re contending with the No. 1 defense through three weeks and a team that’s put together the three best defensive performances this season.
The three best single-game defensive performances in the NFL this season, based on success rate:— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) September 24, 2023
1. Browns in Week 1
2. Browns in Week 3
3. Browns in Week 2
What a start to the Jim Schwartz era in Cleveland.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken spoke on the message to the team following the loss and taking ownership of last week’s performance.
“At times, we have too much drag. It starts with me. I’m in charge of it,” Monken said on Wednesday. “We have too much drag, and there are a lot of reasons why that is, but it really doesn’t make a (expletive). You have to clean it up and get better at it and take it to the field, because, like I said, we’ve ... Two weeks in a row, we’ve taken the opening drive and gone down and scored, and then it carried over [in] the Bengals [game], and then it didn’t. We had, certainly, an opportunity on that second drive, and then we just sputtered, [and] we just never got that mojo back, and we have to find a way to get that. [We] have to call it better. [We] have to execute better. That’s the way it works.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh knew the numbers when asked about where they have taken a step up from last year, and shared they simply have to execute.
“They’re the No. 1-ranked defense in the league. They’re giving up 164 yards [per game] and 10.3 points a game. That’s about as good as you can get,” Harbaugh said on Wednesday. “That’s something that we have to take into account. We’ve studied them. We know the players. We understand the scheme as best we can from being outside as an opponent. We’re just going to have to go out there and play our best football and move the ball, score points and try to win the game.”
Lamar Jackson couldn’t necessarily pinpoint where they’re excelling as he listed the corners, safeties and defensive line before saying, “those guys have been flying around on tape.”
Roquan Smith Wants to Dominate
The Ravens are on the road against Cleveland this week and inside linebacker Roquan Smith is embracing the villain role. He spoke on the atmosphere of playing a divisional rival on the road.
“You go in there as the enemy to go take over and that’s our plan to actually go take over. I think they call it the dog pound, [and] I consider myself a dog, so I’m right at home in that place,” Smith said. “So, I’m excited to get back in there. I know they’re a physical football team, but so are we. At the end of the day, it’s going to be the most physical football team that comes out of there, and whoever is the most physical football team in that game, that’s who is going to come out victorious.”
Entering the “Dawg Pound,” Smith knows he and his teammates are the villains, a role he enjoys.
“I definitely think about that, but at the end of the day, you’re considered the bad guy because you’re going into essentially another man’s house, and you’re trying to take over,” Smith said. “His wife, kids, [and] everyone is there to watch them. So, we’re going over there to beat their tails in front of their wife and kids. So, when you think about it from that perspective, any man is going to fight till the death at that point. I know if that’s me in that case, I know I would. So, I think about it from that standpoint. I’m just going in just like I prepared for any other game – play till [you hear] the whistle, play physical and hit anything that moves.”
Reaction to Roquan’s Comments
After Smith’s comments, Cleveland.com writer Mary Kay Cabot asked Browns players their reaction to what he said.
Special Teams Seeks Consistency
It’s been an up-and-down few weeks for the Ravens’ special teams unit. They allowed an 81-yard punt return touchdown against the Bengals. The Colts returned one for 32 yards. Jordan Stout’s punting has been dominant for a stretch, then a shank or glancing boot has caused issue. Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton spoke to their issues and remedy this week.
“For us – just having an opportunity to really just kind of analyze the last three weeks of our games – it’s about the little things, it’s about the little details, and that’s really what we’re chasing,” Horton said.
Horton said Stout’s done a good job and had solid punts but expressed they are seeking greater consistency from the second-year punter.
“He’s done a good job, so far, of really just kind of doing what we’ve asked him to do. And then there are some things that we can always work on, right? It just always goes back to that consistency thing that I’m talking about,” Horton said. “... But that punt at the end of the game, obviously, that’s an opportunity for us to flip the field. The drop was a little bit high, and it didn’t go where it should have went. So, again, we’re just trying to chase those little details. I think, overall, after three weeks, Jordan has done a pretty good job.”