Typing that the Cleveland Browns are 9-3 is never going to feel normal to me. There is just no way. Someway, somehow, the Browns are a top dog in the AFC and have clinched their first winning season in 13 years. Next on their bucket list is making their first playoff appearance since 2002.
They have a defense that at time is inconsistent but has been able to manage their own. They have a run game that ranks amongst the top in the NFL with two rushers that could each be Pro-Bowlers this season. And then finally, they have a quarterback in Baker Mayfield who seems to finally be turning a corner and making a push towards the player we thought he’d be out of college. Oh…and when he says quotes like this,
“Whenever I’m about to do something, I think, ‘Would an idiot do that?’ And if they would, then I don’t do that.”
He actually is quite likable.
This week they are facing a Ravens team who gave that the absolute business earlier in the season with a 38-6 route. But the Ravens haven’t looked like themselves during the most recent stretch of the season. Sure, they are coming off a nice win against a bad Dallas Cowboys team but before that they had lost their last four of five. What is even crazier is that the Ravens don’t currently hold a playoff spot in the AFC. This is the same team many predicted would win a Super Bowl with Lamar Jackson this season.
This is going to be an excellent divisional game and it’s a chance for the Ravens to get the win that gets them over the hump or its the Browns way of saying they can beat good opponents. Coming into their game against the Titans, Cleveland had just two wins against winning teams.
Ravens vs. Browns Players to Watch:
Cleveland Browns, Rashard Higgins: Ever since Odell Beckham Jr. went down for the season with a torn ACL, I have been waiting for Rashard Higgins to step up and emerge as one of the top pass catchers for the Browns. Up until last week that hadn’t really happened. Then he went for six receptions, 95 yards and a score against Tennessee and it looks like he’s finally starting to get it. The Ravens boast a great secondary and Jarvis Landry will have a tough matchup. Higgins should get his looks and they’ll need him to perform like he did last week.
Baltimore Ravens, Patrick Queen: Patrick Queen has had one of the top performances from a defensive rookie in the NFL in 2020. He leads the Ravens in solo tackles and combined tackles and has recorded five tackles for loss. This week, that number needs to get higher and he needs to disrupt the run game that sets the tempo for the Browns offense. If Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb run freely, this game could be ugly. It will be on Queen to keep them in check.
Prediction: I literally can’t believe I am typing this.
Ravens 21 Browns 25
By: Matt Lively CruelFan.com