The banged up Ravens’ bye week came at the perfect time. They suffered an ugly loss to the Houston Texans and hopefully had some time to rest, recover and recharge for Sunday’s meeting with the Cleveland Browns.
So far under head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens haven’t lost to the Browns. Let’s hope the trend continues on Sunday.
The Ravens’ 5-2 record doesn’t tell the whole story. They continue to struggle on the road; the losses happened in Philadelphia and Houston.
In the past the Browns did not have much of a passing game, things changed this season with new quarterback Brandon Weeden. In their week four meeting Weeden had 320 passing yards and moved his team down the field late in the fourth quarter with a chance to win the game, but he wasn’t successful in connecting with his receivers.
The banged up Ravens’ defense also needs to stop running back Trent Richardson.
After the Ravens were fined $20,000 for not listing safety Ed Reed on the injury report, they now list everyone, even though coach Harbaugh sees no value in listing every player:
“There’s no credence on the injury report now,” Harbaugh said Friday, via The Baltimore Sun. “It doesn’t mean anything. It has no value. The injury report has no value.”
Because they include everyone, the list of probable players is quite long with 16 players. Notable probable players include cornerback Jimmy Smith, wide receiver Jacoby Jones and tight end Ed Dickson.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who leads the Ravens with 32 tackles and three sacks, did not practice Thursday or Friday and is listed as questionable.
The only Raven ruled out for Sunday is defensive end Pernell McPhee. He blames his poor performance on a knee injury, he had an off season knee procedure and is being given extra time to heal. Art Jones will take his place on the field.
The Browns have 15 players listed as probable. Defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin is doubtful, he missed practice this week. Ruled out for Sunday are defensive end Dimitri Patterson and defensive lineman Brian Sanford.
The Ravens need to use running back Ray Rice, history tells us that the more he carries the ball, the more likely they are to win the game.
Flacco stands by his claim that they will continue to use the no-huddle offense, but they need to be careful with it. The offensive line has struggled protecting him, better to run more than pass.
While the Ravens are favored, I’m not certain they will win. I need to see more consistency before I can feel confident that they will win. They *should* be rested and ready to come out firing, we’ll see how this turns out at 1pm Sunday.