It's gameday and you know what that means, it's time for Ravens101's five key matchups to watch for. Today the Baltimore Ravens return home to raise their Super Bowl XLVII Championship banner and will take on the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North matchup.
There are always several key matchups during a game, but we attempt to narrow it down to the five key matchups to watch for.
Let's take a look at this week's key matchups.
Last week we saw two things that make this matchup an absolute key for the Baltimore Ravens. First, we witnessed the "no-name" TE Julius Thomas catch two touchdown passes from Peyton Manning in the first half of the Ravens loss to the Broncos and Thomas was essentially wide open on both plays. Secondly, the Browns and quarterback Brandon Weeden showed that their best receiving option at the moment just might be their tight end Jordan Cameron, who reeled in nine grabs for 108 yards with a touchdown last week in the Browns' loss to the Dolphins. Smith and Huff, along with others, will be responsible for pass coverage of the tight end, if Baltimore wants to keep another tight end from having a big day against them, Smith and Huff will have to keep Cameron under wraps.
Ravens front seven vs Browns O-Line
Baltimore was able to get to Manning last week three times for sacks, but was unable to consistently put pressure on Manning. Last week we saw a Browns offensive line struggle against the Dolphins front seven allowing six sacks. If the Ravens front seven can apply the same, or even more pressure on Weeden this week, the odds are in their favor to have Weeden replicate the three interceptions he threw against the Dolphins. In addition, the Ravens ability to apply pressure on Weeden will also help influence how well the Ravens secondary performs as the quicker Weeden has to get rid of the ball, the less time the secondary has to cover their receivers.
Ravens O-Line vs Browns front seven PART 1
Despite allowing 24 points last week, the Browns defense is very underrated and their front seven was able to consistently put pressure on Miami's quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Cleveland recorded four sacks last week, and with the uncertainty of the Ravens wide receiver core, Baltimore's offensive line is going to have to give Joe Flacco time in the pocket to find the open receiver, or at least be able to go through his progressions before dumping the ball off to Ray Rice.
Ravens O-Line vs Browns front seven PART 2
Pass protection will be just one key aspect of this matchup. It is pretty obvious that Baltimore will have to run the football better in order for this offense to be able to click, but it is going to be a tough task against this Browns defense. Stifle the run? Cleveland did more than that against Miami last week holding them to just 20 rushing yards on 23 carries. Baltimore's offensive line, along with Vonta Leach, will have to open up some running lanes for Rice and Bernard Pierce in order to keep the Browns pass rush from just pinning their ears back. The more successful runs the Ravens can pull off, the more of an opportunity Flacco will have at hitting the deep ball.
Ravens Nation vs Browns offense
Charm City is going to be rocking tomorrow, there is no question about it, but one of the things we have seen from Weeden is that he sometimes presses the panic button a little too quickly when in a hostile atmosphere. Baltimore has one of, if not the best home field advantage in all of football, and the crowd's ability to make noise and make it hard for Weeden to communicate his audibles and hot routes will actually go a long way in helping this Ravens team today.
Those are our five key matchups to watch for today, what are your key matchups to watch for? Did we leave one out? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!
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