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Thursday Night Match-up: Cleveland @ Baltimore

Key Match Up: Ray Rice vs. Cleveland’s ‘Front 7’

THURSDAY MATCH-UP: CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-3) @ BALTIMORE RAVENS (2-1)

09/27 at 8:20 PM EDT :  M&T Bank Stadium

Week 4 of the 2012 season and the Ravens have another prime-time match-up on Thursday Night Football. The Ravens are coming off an incredible comeback and emotional victory last Sunday versus New England.  The Cleveland Browns come into M&T Bank Stadium hungry for a win as they start the season win-less.

 

CHALK IT UP/KEY MATCH UP’s:

Ravens Front 7 vs. RB Trent Richardson:

Running back Trent Richardson was an excellent selection for Cleveland in the draft. Richardson, has had some knee (injury) problems, but he brings a tough brand of running to the field. He’s got all the intangibles you want in a back, speed, power, and good receiver.  The Ravens front seven must contain and stay disciplined to their gaps. Richardson is also a threat out of the backfield, he is the leading receiver on the team with 11 rec., 65 yards and 1 TD.

 

Ravens Pressure vs. QB Weeden

The Cleveland Browns took a chance in the draft and selected Brandon Weeden, Quarterback. Like any rookie QB Weeden has had his struggles  The Ravens played a conservative blitz scheme versus Patriots Tom Brady, but this Thursday you can expect the Ravens defense to crank up the pressure. The team must continue to find ways to dial up pressure while Suggs is out.

 

OLB Upshaw vs. LT Joe Thomas:

Cleveland’s left tackle Joe Thomas brings a challenge to any pass rusher. Rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw had a solid performance in his first start last Sunday.

 

RB Ray Rice VS. MLB D’Qwell Jackson – Cleveland’s Front 7

Middle linebacker D’Quell Jackson is a complete player, he has three sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 pass deflections, and 1 TD on the season.   As evident last Sunday, when Rice gets going so does the whole Ravens offense; passing becomes effective off play-action. The Ravens offensive line will pay close attention to  MLB Jackson to ensure lanes open up for Rice. After three games the Browns rank 23rd versus the run (122.7 yds.) and so far the Ravens younger starters have held up well.

 

RT Kelechi Osemele vs. DE Jabaal Sheard 

Sheard came on strong his rookie year 8.5 sacks and plays the run well. Rookie right tackle Kelechi Osemele has been consistent. In that match-up he will be challenged.  Sheard has 2 pass deflections this season and is searching for his first sack…he will be motivated playing against Baltimore.

 

GAME STRATEGY

Offensive Strategy:  The Ravens must continue to hammer the run with Ray Rice, which opens up the passing game. Unfortunately for the Browns CB Joe Hayden is serving a four game suspension—that leaves receiver Torrey Smith with more opportunities downfield.

Defensive Strategy: Look for the Ravens to attack the line of scrimmage.  Priority one will be containing RB Trent Richardson. If the Ravens contain the run they will dial up aggressive blitz packages to test the rookie quarterback.


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