Welcome to our live Ravens vs. Browns chat! We'll be posting live updates and analysis from The Baltimore Sun sports staff throughout today's game.
Also, Jeff Zrebiec will join us to answer your Ravens questions before today's game, and Matt Vensel will join us at halftime to talk about the action on the field.
Good afternoon all! After a nice bye week off, I'll be moderating today's Ravens chat again today. Who's ready for some football?
What about you? Any score predictions for today's game?
Good afternoon from FirstEnergy Stadium. Sun is out, which is probably the first time I can say that in my trips to Cleveland so far. A little chilly but pretty good football weather. Let's have some questions
Thanks for joining us, Jeff. I'll ask a big one that some people on Twitter were asking this week: Where do you think we can expect the most improvement for the Ravens after the bye week?
No real surprises with inactives. Aside from Kelechi Osemele, the Ravens are a pretty healthy group. A.Q. Shipley starting in his place at left guard.
I keep saying this, but at some point, I think we'll start seeing some improvement with the running game. I know what you're thinking: it can't get any worse. That's true. But I think the Ravens have simplified things a little bit. They started to get in a little more of a rhythm late in the Steelers' game.
I also think we'll see a couple of wrinkles, given that the Ravens had about two weeks to prepare for this game and do self-analysis. Nothing crazy, but whether that's trying to get Tyrod Taylor in for a couple of plays, or a couple of trick plays, or finding ways to get Torrey Smith the ball, I think we should see some of that.
Browns are different at three primary offensive positions than they were in that first meeting. Their QB now is Jason Campbell who is a little more mobile than Weeden and makes better decisions. Their starting RB is Willis McGahee who is not as dangerous as Trent Richardson. And one of the big factors is WR Josh Gordon is playing today after he missed the first meeting due to suspension. He's a game breaker so he'll challenge the Ravens' secondary.
I think it will be interesting to see how the Ravens react. They got a nice little break with Bengals losing on Thursday night. With two weeks off, more time to prepare and get healthier, the Ravens should play well. The whole must-win is probably overused. But if they aren't able to win this game, obviously, it's fair to question whether they are a playoff team.
I think Flacco will be fine today assuming they protect him. He doesn't need to throw for 300 yards. He needs to manage the game, not turn the ball over, convert on third downs and get his team into the red zone. He always seems to be able to do that against Cleveland. He has 13 TD passes and 5 INTs in 11 games against them. If he's able to continue that trend, Ravens should be fine.
I think the Browns are an improving team with a couple of really good skill players on offense (Jordan Cameron, Josh Gordon) and a pretty solid defense all-around. Sure, the running game has a chance. The Browns are tough against the run but it's not like they are dominant against it. It will be interesting to see how Shipley and Gradkowski hold up inside. They are undersized as it is and Browns are pretty big inside.
I don't foresee a major impact for Cody. He's essentially a rotational defensive lineman at this point. But the Ravens have struggled to stop runs inside. And Cody is a big body so he could help a little bit there.
Any more questions for Jeff Zrebiec before we let him get back to the action in Cleveland?
Hope everyone enjoys the game. Kickoff is 14 minutes away. Talk to you next week.
I predicted 16-13 Ravens.
Under 15 minutes until kickoff. Any last minute predictions or thoughts?
How so, DickTate3? Are you a Skins fan?
Oh, bummer. Well, we'll do our best to keep you informed.