The Baltimore Ravens enter Week 15 in the driver’s seat to navigate their path to the postseason. This week’s challenger is the Cleveland Browns, the only winless team left in the NFL. The Browns are widely considered the worst team in the NFL, but don’t let that fool you. This game can and will be close. In recent weeks, the Browns have given their opponents a very hard time on the football field. Cleveland kept Jacksonville close with a 19-7 score, Cincinnati with a 30-16 final, and the Los Angeles Chargers at 19-10. The Browns came arguably the closest to a victory last week with a 27-21 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Browns definitely have the capability to give the Ravens a run for their money. This game is nothing short of a trap game. It’s a matchup Baltimore needs to win against a forgettable opponent.
Keys to a Ravens Victory
Ravens Run Defense Must Torpedo Isiah Crowell
The AFC North is known for the old-school style teams you can find in the division. The Browns have an affinity towards running the football on offense. Cleveland’s starting running back, Isiah Crowell, is a very dangerous weapon. Last year when the Ravens visited Cleveland, Isiah Crowell had his best game of the season. Crowell ran the ball 18 times, gaining 133 yards and one touchdown. This included an NFL year-long 85-yard rush. Crowell is also coming off his best game of the 2017 campaign. Against the Packers last week, Crowell was handed the ball 19 times, rushing for 121 yards. If the Baltimore Ravens want to secure an essential victory in Cleveland, they will need to prevent Isiah Crowell from stampeding all over the defense. Fortunately for the Ravens, they have a solid run defense unit led by Brandon Williams. The defensive line held Le’Veon Bell to just 48 yards on the ground last week.
Ravens Must Force Kizer Mistakes
The Cleveland Browns on offense are commanded by the rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer. Kizer has had a difficult rookie season, to say the least. Kizer this season has only completed 53.9% of his passes and has thrown 8 more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (9). In the last meeting between these two squads, Kizer only completed 48.4% of his passes, for 182 yards, while throwing 3 interceptions, and no touchdowns. The Ravens were able to do this by pressuring Kizer, and giving him confusing looks on defense. Kizer is slightly more experienced than he was earlier this season, but the Ravens can still give him a hard time with the same formula. If Terrell Suggs and company can make him feel rushed to make a decision, he will mess up. If the Ravens can also disguise packages on defense, they will be able to trick Kizer into making bad decisions.
Ravens Offense Must Pick Up Where It Left Off
After the embarrassing performance by Baltimore’s defense last week, it now looks like the offense is the more dependable of the two. This comes after the loss of shutdown cornerback Jimmy Smith for the remainder of the year, in a similar storyline to last year. Last year, the Ravens had an offense that was plain awful for most of the year, with a defense that was one of the best in the NFL. The roles flipped later in the season, and Baltimore ultimately missed the playoffs. If the Ravens want to make it back to the postseason for the first time since 2014, they will need a strong performance by the offense tomorrow. This isn’t inconceivable, as the Browns are one of the weaker teams in the NFL, and Baltimore’s offense seems to be hot.
Ravens Game Predictions
- Joe Flacco throws for 250+ yards and two touchdowns, no interceptions.
- Alex Collins runs for 100 yards and one touchdown.
- Justin Tucker kicks two field goals.
- DeShone Kizer throws two touchdowns and two interceptions.
- Isiah Crowell runs for one touchdown.
FINAL SCORE: Ravens 27 – Browns 21