Aug 8, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns linebacker Paul Kruger (99) against the St. Louis Rams during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
The Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens with a significant amount of importance for both sides. The winner of the game gets back to even and can try to erase the memories of the first game. The loser will have an extremely difficult time making the playoffs and are almost guaranteed not to make it after starting out 0-2. While the Browns are not likely to make the playoffs this year, a win could serve to make sure the Ravens are not either.
Not only does this game have a significant amount of meaning because of the rivalry and the division, but now Paul Kruger is a former Raven, who has a chip on his shoulder from playing only 19 plays during the Super Bowl. In addition, the Browns are in a position where they have some areas of their team that are as good if not better than the Ravens.
The Browns may not be a contender at this point, but they have a front seven that appear to be legitimately good and something they can count on from week to week and could help shape a defensive identity. Adding to that will be the debut of rookie Barkevious Mingo, who should only increase the threat of a Browns pass rush that took down Ryan Tannehill four times last week while holding the Dolphins to 20 yards rushing. Along with a good front seven, the Browns also have Joe Haden, who is coming off of a good game but with one big missed opportunity in the form of a dropped interception.
The challenge for the Browns’ coaching staff is finding ways to get Trent Richardson the football in ways for him to succeed. They also have to be stubborn and continue feeding him the ball. That might be in the form of handing him the ball but they also need to find more ways to get him involved in the passing game.
In many ways, the Ravens are a measuring stick game and an opportunity to show how the Browns stack up in the division. While much of the focus will be on Brandon Weeden and whether he can do enough to lead them to a win, the rest of the roster might be much closer to being a competitive team and be held back by quarterback play.
Preview Articles for This Game
Browns Defense Matches Up Well Against Ravens
Ravens Defense Has Advantage Against Browns Offense But They Have Holes
Weedenalysis and Week 2 Keys
Key Matchups for Browns vs. Ravens
Browns Inactives: QB Brian Hoyer, TE MarQueis Gray, OT Martin Wallace, OG Shawn Lauvao, DE Athyba Rubin, DE Armonty Bryant, OLB Paul Hazel