We spoke with Chris Schisler of Ebony Bird to learn more about the Baltimore Ravens before Thursday night’s matchup with the winless Cleveland Browns.
The Cleveland Browns are lucky enough to play at least one primetime game each season, and 2016 once again sees the Browns playing on a Thursday night.
The Browns are heading east to take on the Baltimore Ravens in what can be considered a chance to avenge a Week 2 loss, but an 0-9 record has the Browns at a much different point than the team was in during the Week 2 matchup.
We caught up with Chris Schisler of Ebony Bird to learn more about the Ravens before what will hopefully be a competitive game.
1. How are the Ravens a different team, better or worse, than the last time these two teams met up back in Week 2?
The Ravens are pretty much the same team they were in Week 2. The offense still hasn’t found its way. The defense is still great but it has to carry the heaviest work load. The Ravens felt pretty good about themselves in the beginning of the season.
Now, I feel like the Ravens are grounded and hungry. They’re taking nothing for granted. You see a different resolve in the Ravens. After beating the Steelers in a critical game, the Ravens didn’t celebrate over the top. They know they have to get right back to work.
2. Was there any concern during that Week 2 game that the Ravens were going to get blown out? Or was it just a case of waiting for the Browns to blow it?
Well, we didn’t know what to think. That 20-2 start for the Browns shocked us. There was definitely fear there, of the Ravens being embarrassed. However, we didn’t think the game was over in the first quarter. We saw a chance to come back.
The defense fixed their issues and the offense did just enough. If there was one team that we knew we could come back against, it was Cleveland. That’s just the mindset that comes with the Browns’ lack of success in the past decade.
3. Are the Ravens legitimate Super Bowl contenders this season, or is it too early to tell?
The Ravens are legitimate playoff contenders. They are after all in first place in a limping AFC North. This does not look like a Super Bowl-caliber team. The Ravens offense isn’t clicking. The defense is good, maybe even great, but is it good enough? The one positive here is that the Ravens’ two Super Bowl runs came when nobody expected it to happen. The Ravens went five straight games without a touchdown in 2000.
They won Super Bowl XXXV with an 11-game winning streak and the greatest defense of all time. The Ravens lost three late season games in 2012 and fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. They won Super Bowl XLVII with a red-hot Joe Flacco in the playoffs. The Ravens have to get to the playoffs. If you get to the playoffs, you have a chance. No team understands that more than the Baltimore Ravens.
4. The Browns defense has given up at least 25 points in each game this season. How many points will the Ravens put up Thursday?
The Browns may get 13-16 points, but I would be shocked if they got in the 20s. The Ravens defense is really good. They just held the Steelers’ top flight offense to 14 points (14 points that came in garbage time). The Ravens have a great front seven and the secondary has played well in all but two games this season.
Corey Coleman is your best chance of success against the purple and black. We’ve seen big plays haunt the Ravens defense this season. It is impossible to sustain many drives against the defense. It is however possible to beat them with the big play.
5. With no double-digit wins yet this season, will the Ravens get one this week?
I think the last double-digit win for the Ravens was in the 2014 playoffs against the Steelers. This isn’t a team that blows the opponent out of the water. If the Ravens were to make a splash or two in the way of a convincing win, you’d think this would be the game.
Yet the Ravens never make anything easy. The Browns play us tough. This should be a low scoring win for the Ravens. Give me the Ravens 20-10.