SUN EARLY BIRD: Will the Ravens get back on track in Cleveland?

SUN EARLY BIRD: Will the Ravens get back on track in Cleveland?
November 3, 2013, 7:15 am
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Rice key to Ravens offense getting on track

GAME DAY EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens on game day, as they get ready to rock and roll in Cleveland.

Two-minute topic: Can the Browns deliver a crushing blow to the Ravens’ season?

CLEVELAND - It’s still very realistic for the Ravens (3-4) to talk about winning the AFC North. However, losing to the Browns (3-5) would drop the Ravens two games under .500 halfway through their season. At that point, even their wild card chances would look slim.

The Ravens got a break Thursday night, when the Bengals (6-3) lost to the Dolphins in overtime. The Bengals are still catchable, but the Ravens need to get hot.

This game in Cleveland is a must-win for the Ravens. They have already had an eventful week leading up to this game, with Michael Huff and Marcus Spears being cut, and losing left guard Kelechi Osemele to probable season-ending back surgery. Losing the first game after the bye would be deflating, and leave the Ravens at their lowest point ever during John Harbaugh’s six-year tenure. It would be their fourth loss in five games, proof that the bye didn’t really help them.

The Ravens can’t expect an easy game today, despite winning 11 straight against the Browns. Players and fans in Cleveland are tired of hearing about that streak. First Energy Stadium will be loud this afternoon, and the Ravens are just 1-3 on the road. The calendar says it’s November. If the Ravens are going to be legitimate contenders in the AFC, they need to start playing like it, starting today.

Morning thought: "I know we're on the right track. I absolutely have 100 percent confidence that we are on the right track with what we're doing and with the players that we have." Ravens coach John Harbaugh, talking about getting off to a fast start on Sunday.