Browns vs. Ravens: 4 storylines to watch in Week 15

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns are trying to pick up a win any way they can. Here are four storylines to watch today against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Cleveland Browns close out the home portion of the 2017 NFL regular season this afternoon when they host the Baltimore Ravens.

The Browns are still in search of their first win of the season, and just the second overall under head coach Hue Jackson, while the Ravens are looking to stay in the hunt for a Wild Card spot in the AFC playoffs.

Cleveland dropped a Week 2 meeting to the Ravens, 24-10, and have lost 17 of the past 19 games they have played against the Ravens.

If the Browns are to break that streak, and hand Jackson his first win in a game not played on Christmas Eve since 2011, here are four storylines to watch.

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns /

Spencer Drango/Shon Coleman vs. Terrelle Suggs

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrelle Suggs is in his 15th year in the NFL and his 15th year terrorizing Cleveland Browns quarterbacks.

Today’s game will be the 27th time the Browns have faced Suggs, and in the previous 26 meetings he has racked up 18 sacks. When the Browns and Ravens met in Week 2, Suggs did not register a sack, but he was also going up against left tackle Joe Thomas that day.

This time, second-year tackle Spencer Drango gets the task of keeping Suggs away from rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who has been sacked 29 times this season. That is, unless Suggs decides to make rookie right tackle Shon Coleman earn his paycheck on Sunday.

Either way it could turn into a long afternoon for Kizer as, according to Pro Football Focus, Coleman and Drango have combined to allow 43 quarterback pressures since Week 8, which is not good.

DeShone Kizer the second time around

DeShone Kizer had a rough day when the Browns and Ravens meet in Week 2, finishing just 15-of-31 for 182 yards and three interceptions, while being sacked twice.

This will be the second time this season that Kizer will have a repeat appearance against a team after facing the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4 and Week 11. Kizer showed decent improvement in his second crack at the Bengals as he threw for 268 yards in the rematch (vs. 118 yards the first time), completed 58.1 percent of his passes (vs. 47.1) and posted a quarterback rating of 86.5 (vs. 43.5).

If Kizer can show that kind of improvement in his second go at the Ravens, the Browns may have a chance to make a game of it.

Josh Gordon for 60 minutes

Last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers could not have started any better for wide receiver Josh Gordon.

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Gordon had two receptions – one for an 18-yard touchdown – on the Browns opening drive of the game. He got to dance around, put on sunglasses, and give his agent, who is shopping a movie deal of Gordon’s life, another talking point for his sales pitch.

After that, Gordon caught one pass the rest of the game, thanks to a combination of the Green Bay defense, the refs being liberal in their interpretation of defensive pass interference and, as announcer Chris Spielman pointed out, a lack of fighting off the defender and helping out his quarterback.

For a player who has appeared in just two games since the end of the 2014 season, Gordon has received an incredible amount of media attention the past few weeks. Putting in a full 60-minute game against the Ravens would be a nice way to show that attention was justified.

Overcome the injuries

Cleveland’s defense struggled down the stretch last week against Green Bay as they were missing defensive tackle Danny Shelton, safety Jabrill Peppers and cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

Shelton and Peppers are back this week, but the defense may still be without Boddy-Calhoun, who is doubtful with a knee injury, as well as cornerback Jamar Taylor, who is questionable with a foot injury.

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The Browns have had troubled dealing with the Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco, who is 16-2 against the Browns, even when everyone is healthy. If Boddy-Calhoun and Taylor can’t go, or are limited, don’t be surprised to see Flacco find those holes in the secondary.