This year’s Baltimore Ravens are not the same old Ravens. But this year’s Cleveland Browns are not the old Browns either. The Browns have been the laughing stock of the league for seasons and seasons on end. After years of suffering and sadness, the Browns finally started to turn themselves around this season. This effort is led by General Manager John Dorsey, whose first two years in Cleveland have been nothing short of spectacular. The Browns are now set up for the future, with a talented young quarterback, weapons on offense, and strong defensive players. The team has already found success this year, with a hard-fought victory over the New York Jets. The Ravens cannot afford to ignore the signs that the Browns are exhibiting. This team is dangerous.
Baker Mayfield is perhaps the most important player on the Browns. The new passer may finally be able to end the quarterback carousel that has continually revolved for years. But Mayfield’s success is predicated on the strong offense built around him. Jarvis Landry is one of the NFL’s best receivers. Pair him with the rookie Antiono Calaway, and the band of talented tight ends and the Browns have an offense. The defense is one of the most underrated in the league as well. Myles Garrett is developing into one of the best pass rushers. The linebackers and secondary also give the Browns a fighting chance in battles that in years past Cleveland would have lost in years past.
The Ravens are still likely to win the game against Cleveland, but the game will not be an easy victory. The Browns, like the Ravens, are on the upswing. Both teams see this game as a litmus test. If the Ravens defeat the Browns handily, Baltimore will solidify themselves as contenders in the AFC. If the Browns keep it close or win the game, they will solidify themselves as a much-improved team, ready to make the jump from cellar to ceiling. Baltimore must not allow the Browns to take advantage of this opportunity. The Ravens cannot underestimate the Cleveland Browns.