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Monday Match-Up: Baltimore @ Cleveland

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The Ravens make a second trip to Ohio with in a week to play the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. In their first meeting this year the Ravens beat the Browns 34-3. This game the Browns will be playing for pride and look to win their first home game of the year.

The seasons for both teams have not gone according to plan. On the field the Browns have struggled on offense, as well as defense and as a result the team has a record of 1-7. If that weren’t bad enough there is instability in the front office as the team fired their general manager a few weeks ago. Cleveland Browns fans are not happy with the management and frustrated with new head coach Eric Mangini. Nothing would be sweeter for Browns fans than to beat the Ravens on national television this Monday night. For the Ravens their season has been inconsistent with a 4-4 record and after last weeks debacle the team has many adjustments to make in all three phases of the game.

OFFENSE: It has been a QB carrousel, Brady Quinn started for a while then Derek Anderson got the nod and in Cleveland’s last game against Chicago Quinn was put in for the 4th quarter while starter Derek Anderson went to the bench. Now Coach Mangini named Brady Quinn the starter for the Monday night game. Both Quinn and Anderson have been inconsistent and the team ranks at the bottom in most statistical categories. In their first meeting with the Ravens the Brady Quinn was forced to sit on the bench the second half. Derek Anderson took over with little success and the Ravens finished the game with 4 interceptions. The offensive line is struggling but has a few standouts with rookie Center Alex Mack anchoring the line and Joe Thomas at left tackle.

The team’s featured wide receiver Braylon Edwards was traded to the NY Jets mid season. Now the Browns look to the young talent to improve the position with receiver Mohamed Massaquoi who leads the team with 19 receptions for 328 yards and rookie Brian Robiskie. Jermome Harrison and Jamal Lewis share the responsibility of running the ball and Harrison is the team’s second leading receiver with 18 catches.

Joshua Cribbs is one of the bright spots for Cleveland, as he is always a threat on punt and kick off returns. Cribbs has been incorporated in the offense with running the ball and receiving.

DEFENSE: Shaun Rodgers DT and OLB Karmerion Wimbley are two of the better players on the team. Wimbley has 4 sacks in his past 5 games. DT Rodgers has been a pro bowl caliber player but this year he numbers are down. The Browns have 4 new starters on defense DE Kenyon Cloeman, OLB David Bowens, inside linebacker Eric Barton and SS Abe Elam. As of yesterday Barton is out for the season on IR. This means that they will look towards their young linebackers to fill in. As reported by the associated press, “With Barton out, the Browns likely will use a combination of rookies David Veikune and Kaluka Maiava on the inside of their 3-4 defensive scheme with Jason Trusnik and Blake Costanzo also getting time.” The Browns are giving up an average of 409 yards per game this season ranking 32nd in total defense.

MATCH-UPS: Chalk It Up!

Ravens defensive game plan: First things first. The Ravens need to get back to the fundamentals of hitting hard and making tackles. There is no more fear factor for teams facing the Ravens; the Ravens defense has to have to earn that reputation back by swarming to the ball, laying some hits and being aggressive. In their last meeting the Ravens sent QB Brady Quinn to the bench after two quarters. The Ravens plan to continue this trend and apply pressure to the young QB.

Ravens Secondary vs. Brady Quinn: Round 2. It looks like the Browns will start QB Brady Quinn. The Browns offense will look to exploit an inconsistent Ravens secondary. Quinn has much to prove and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the quarterback take some deep shots at a struggling Ravens secondary. It is possible that the Ravens may start rookie CB Lardarius Webb to try to inject some life into the secondary. There have been no confirmed reports that Webb will start but if he does get the nod it will be interesting to see how the rookie fairs in his first start.

DT Ngata vs. Center Mack & O-line: The Browns need to get their running game going so that the game doesn’t fall entirely on QB Brady Quinn’s arm. The team has to solidify the quarterback position and nothing would be worse than for Quinn to have a terrible start. DT Holoti Ngata who hopes to be playing after missing last week’s game with an ankle sprain will be a main focus for the offense. In their first meeting Ngata helped control the line of scrimmage. As the rookie center Mack has had a few games under his belt, it will be interesting to see how the rookie responds and to see what game plan the offensive line has to slow down Ngata.

Ravens offensive game plan: The Ravens offense needs to get off to a fast start and put up some points in the first quarter. In the first game the Ravens scorched the Browns and they look to get back their confidence after a terrible showing last week.

Ravens Run vs. Browns Defense: The Browns are giving up 170.5 yards rushing per game the Ravens will try to exploit this with RB Ray Rice. It looks like after 8 weeks running back McGahee is out of the picture. FB/RB McClain is primarily a blocker and a receiver on screen plays; the team has opted out of the power running game.

Coverage team vs. Joshua Cribbs: Cribbs leads the NFL in punt return average and is always a menace to coverage teams. In their last meeting the Ravens contained the skilled returner and the Browns will be focused on field position to gain an advantage on the Ravens.

Kicking Game: Dave Zastudil (former Raven) is a consistent punter and Phil Dawson is one of the top kickers in the league. The Ravens kicker Steve Hauschka is on thin ice for missing two critical field goals this season. Hauschska may be kicking for his job in this game.

Browns Motivation: The heavily favored Ravens must be ready to play well because the Browns have a lot to prove. The Browns will be motivated to win on national television, to win at home for the first time this year and to win against a hated division rival. The team has also had the benefit of a bye week to prepare against a passive secondary.


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One Response to “Monday Match-Up: Baltimore @ Cleveland”

  1. […] two corruption trials for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, the first African-American woman to lead. Monday Match-Up: Baltimore @ Cleveland » Ravens Gab – baltimoregridironreport.com 11/12/2009 The Ravens make a second trip to Ohio with in a week to play the […]

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