Game preview: 5 questions for Browns at Ravens

Game preview: 5 questions for Browns at Ravens
September 13, 2013, 8:45 am
Share This Post

What: Ravens (0-1) vs. Browns (0-1)

Where: M&T Bank Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Ravens Kickoff and Postgame Live on CSN: 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Five things we’ll learn about the Ravens in Week 2:

1. Was Week 1 just growing pains, or do the Ravens have serious issues in the secondary?

Getting lit up by Peyton Manning is one thing. But if Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden goes wild, it could be a long season in Baltimore. Weeden was terrible in Week 1, throwing three interceptions with a quarterback rating of 48.4. Josh Gordon (suspended), the Browns’ top receiver, won’t be playing again this Sunday. There’s no excuse for the Ravens’ secondary to give up a ton of big plays.

2. Can the Ravens’ tight ends be more sure-handed?

Both Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark had cases of the drops in Denver. That needs to change. Joe Flacco’s life would be a lot easier if Dickson, Clark, and other receivers made catches they were capable of making.

3. Have the problems on special teams been cleaned up?

It was ugly against Denver. Brynden Trawick accidentally collided with Jacoby Jones on a punt return, putting Jones (knee injury) out from 4-6 weeks. Sam Koch had a punt blocked for the first time since 2009.

The Ravens made two moves this week with an eye on helping special teams, bringing back wide receiver Tandon Doss, and signing running back Shaun Draughn.  But regardless of which players perform on special teams, they need to avoid game-changing mistakes.

4. Will the Ravens play with too much emotion?

The Ravens were embarrassed last week. It’s the home opener. The Super Bowl banner will be raised.

Those are all things that will stoke the Ravens. However, sometimes emotion can lead to mistakes. The Ravens must avoid overrunning plays on defense, missing assignments, and committing penalties – mistakes that could help the Browns.

5. Are the Ravens good enough to make a statement?

Here are the final scores of the Ravens’ last two home openers:

2012 – Ravens 44, Bengals 13

2011 – Ravens 35, Steelers 7

Those beat downs sent an early message to the AFC North, and to the NFL, that the Ravens were legit Super Bowl contenders. The Ravens don’t think they’re getting enough national respect. Dominating the Browns would provide more evidence that the Ravens are still an elite team.