Week 2 Game Preview: Browns vs. Ravens

Browns-vs-Ravens-preview

After suffering rough losses in week 1, both the Cleveland Browns and the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will have the opportunity to bounce back with their first win of the season this week, as the two NFC North squads face off in Baltimore on Sunday.

Most NFL fans and bettors probably expected the Browns to start 0-1, and they may have assumed the Ravens would fall to the Broncos in week 1 as well, but the way in which Baltimore fell definitely left many shocked and stunned.

There’s no need to sugar coat it: The Ravens simply got stomped last Thursday in the season opener – losing 49-27 – but the offense certainly wasn’t the issue, and against the Browns, the defense may not be as much of an issue either. Cleveland only mustered 291 yards of total offense against the Dolphins last week, which is good news for Baltimore, which got torched for more than 500 – 445 of which came through the air.

With Ray Lewis and Ed Reed gone, we expected this 2013 Ravens defense to endure their share of struggles, but hopefully for their sake, week 1 will be the worst of it.

Meanwhile, the Browns looked surprisingly sharp on defense against the Phins, but as usual, turnovers were their Achillies heel, as they gave the ball away three times. And unfortunately for Cleveland, playing at the rowdy M&T Bank Stadium will probably not make ball security any easier this week.

However, perhaps the biggest area of concern for the Browns coming into week two is their recent history against the Ravens. Cleveland hasn’t beaten Baltimore since 2007, losing the last 10 consecutive meetings since.

Some bettors were certainly surprised by how poorly the Ravens played last week, but we can reasonably expect them to step up their game against their old NFC North punching bag. Joe Flacco should have plenty of success through the air and the defense should improve, after likely getting chewed out by coach John Harbaugh following the loss in week one.

Look for the Ravens to find some offensive rhythm and hold the Browns’ attack at bay, as they cover the -6 spread in their first victory of the season.

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