Preview: Ravens Travel to Cleveland for a Saturday Showdown
The Baltimore Ravens hit the road again as they head to Cleveland to take on the Browns. This is the second meeting between the two teams with the Ravens taking the first game in Baltimore by a final of 23-20. The Ravens are currently 9-4 sitting in first place in the AFC north, while the Browns sit at 5-8, third in the AFC north. Saturday’s matchup will have two different quarterbacks under center compared to their week seven matchup. Tyler Huntley will get the start in place of Lamar Jackson who threw for 120 yards and ran for another 59 in the first meeting against the Browns, has been ruled out for his second straight game as he continues to recover from a knee injury. While the Browns will have Deshaun Watson starting at quarterback, Watson was serving an 11 game suspension, and missed the Ravens-Browns week seven matchup.
While the Ravens know they will be without their MVP quarterback, the Ravens are expected to have guard Kevin Zeitler return. Zietler missed last week with a knee injury but practiced in full on Thursday and has been listed as questionable. Punter Jordan Stout (knee) and tackle Morgan Moses (knee) are also both listed as questionable but are expected to play. The Ravens are also expecting for outside linebacker David Ojabo to make his season debut. Ojabo has been practicing with the team but as yet to be activated. Ojabo is just nine months removed from tearing his achilles at his pro day.
Browns receiver David Bell (thumb/toe) is the only Brown with an injury designation for Saturday. Bell did not practice all week, but is listed as questionable.
Ravens Rush Defense
The Ravens have one of the best run defenses in the NFL giving up an average of just 81.2 yards per game on the ground, second best in the NFL. The Ravens haven’t given up a 100-yard rusher this season, and haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 21-straight games. The Ravens will have their work cut out for them this Saturday however as they take on the leagues third best rusher, Nick Chubb.
Chubb has rushed for 1,153 yards for an average of five yards per carry, to go along with 12 touchdowns on the ground, second most in the NFL. Chubb at a solid day against the Ravens in their first meeting rushing for 91 yards on 16 carries, while adding one rushing touchdown. Against the Ravens in nine career games, Chubb averages just over 60 yards rushing per game while averaging just under five yards per carry. With Deshaun Watson still working his way back into the offense the Ravens should expect to see a heavy dose of Chubb on Saturday.
Saturday will be the third game for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson this season. Watson was suspended for the first 11 games of the year and since returning the Browns have gone 1-1 with him as the starter. Watson had not played in two years until his return in week 13 when his Browns took on his former team the Houston Texans. Watson has struggled since returning to action completing just 59.4% of his passes while throwing just one touchdown and two interceptions.
While Watson has not looked like himself since his return the Ravens know what Watson is capable of when he is playing well. Watson is known to be an electric player with both his arm and his legs, but lets hope for the Ravens sake that Watson will still be trying to get back into form come Saturday.
The Ravens will once again be turning to quarterback Tyler Huntley as he looks to keep the Ravens in first place and secure another win to get them closer to clinching a playoff spot. The Browns have the 22nd ranked rush defense allowing 128 rushing yards per game, which is good for the Ravens as they will look to keep the ball on the ground, protecting Huntley and managing the time of possession. The Ravens have been struggling to score touchdowns in the first half of games and with a backup quarterback making just his fifth career start the Ravens will look to rely on their defense and run game.
The game plan should look similar to last week as the Ravens rushed for 215 yards behind running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. If the Ravens can avoid any major mistakes on the defensive side of the ball and get to Watson early, expect a close but dominate performance by the Ravens. Ravens win in another all-around team performance, 17-13.
Line: Cleveland -3.0
All-Time Record: Baltimore leads series 35-12
Last Meeting: 10/23/2022 Baltimore 23-20