Ravens-Browns preview

Ravens-Browns preview
November 3, 2012, 9:15 am
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Ravens vs. Browns
at Cleveland Browns Stadium, 1 p.m. ET

The line: Ravens -4

Series: Ravens lead 20-7  

Last meeting: Ravens won 23-16 on Sept. 27 in Baltimore.

Last week: Ravens had a bye; Browns beat the San Diego Chargers at home 7-6.

Burning question: Will the hurry-up offense slow down and allow RB Ray Rice to finally get more touches?

Keys to victory on offense: The Ravens only average 15 ppg on the road, 17 fewer than they score at home. They plan on simplifying the play-calling to help with the crowd noise, which they attribute to their inconsistent play, and vary the pace. That means better ball control to extend drives and better protection of QB Joe Flacco, who was sacked four times in the first meeting. This offense is much more effective when playing with a cushion rather than from behind. The Ravens have scored only one TD in their last 10 quarters on the road. And they've failed to score a TD in the opening quarter since Week 2. For Flacco gets this offense back on track, those dry spells have to end.

Keys to victory on defense: It has allowed an average of 207 yards rushing in the last three games. But Browns RB Trent Richardson was held to 47 yards on 14 carries when these teams met during Week 4. Richardson, however, appears healthy and over a rib injury that had limited him in recent games. LB Terrell Suggs should be closer to top form since his Achilles injury, but the Ravens aren't totally healthy. DT Haloti Ngata won't be at full strength and DE Pernell McPhee is out. That'll mean Arthur Jones steps into McPhee's spot and Terrence Cody makes his way onto the defensive line for more snaps. They need to get pressure on rookie QB Brandon Weeden and not allow him to throw for 300-plus yards again and help a secondary that's missing CB Lardarius Webb (knee) for the season.

Injury list: RAVENS -- Out: DE Pernell McPhee (thigh); Questionable: DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), WR LaQuan Williams (ankle); Probable: WR Jacoby Jones (foot), CB Jimmy Smith (abs), CB Chykie Brown (ankle), TE Ed Dickson (hand), WR Tandon Doss (illness), LB Dannell Ellerbe (hand), S James Ihedigbo (hand), DT Ma'ake Kemoeatu (knee), OT Bryant McKinnie (thigh), OT Michael Oher (ankle), OT Kelechi Osemele (ankle), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder/chest), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle), DeAngelo Tyson (foot), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)

BROWNS -- Out: DB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), DL Brian Sanford (knee); Doubtful: DL Ahtyba Rubin (calf); Questionable: LB D'Qwell Jackson (foot/toe), WR Josh Cooper (thigh); Probable: DL John Hughes (arm), DL Juqua Parker (injury not listed), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib), DB Ray Ventrone (hand/calf), DB T.J. Ward (hand/shoulder), DB Johnson Bademosi (hip), DB Tashaun Gipson (knee), OL Shawn Lauvao (groin), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), LS Christian Yount (shoulder), QB Brandon Weeden (groin/thigh), OL Jarrod Shaw (illness), DL Frostee Rucker (shoulder/toe), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (chest/toe), LB James-Michael Johnson (knee/groin).

Prediction: Ravens 24-17.