We all probably should have seen this coming, especially if you are a Cleveland Browns fan. All offseason the Baltimore Ravens were the afterthought of the AFC North. But just like death, taxes, and McDonald’s ice cream machine being down…the Ravens are inevitable.
10 weeks into the 2023 NFL season, and the Ravens are a buzzsaw sitting at 7-2. Now the Browns have the unenviable task of heading to Baltimore and attempting to put a stop to that buzzsaw. However, if there is a team equipped to go into M&T Bank Stadium and go blow for blow with Baltimore it is the Browns.
Jim Schwartz’ defense is completely capable of shutting down any team in the league, including the red-hot Ravens. Baltimore hung 28 points on Schwartz’ unit in their last meeting and you know that did not sit well with the veteran defensive coordinator. Now, the Browns have their chance at revenge.
But the Browns defense cannot do it by themselves. It's going to take a total team effort in order for the Browns to leave Baltimore with a victory. Here are three matchups that could prove to be the deciding factor.
Matchup No. 3: Wyatt Teller vs Justin Madubuike
The Baltimore Ravens have plenty of talent up front on their defense. The Ravens defensive tackle room is stout, but one particular tackle is starting to separate himself from the pack. Justin Madubuike has entered the chat as one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the league.
Madubuike leads all NFL defensive tackles in sacks with 7.5 through nine games this season. He also has racked up 14 quarterback hits and eight tackles for loss. The fourth-year pro has officially leveled up.
The Browns enter this game already thin at the tackle position with Jedrick Wills being placed on injured reserve. Then you factor in that Dawand Jones is going to be a game-time decision, and it is easy to see that the Browns focus, and additional resources, are going to be placed on protecting the edge against Baltimore. This means the interior offensive line is going to have to fend for themselves and handle their individual assignments.
While Madubuike will move from side to side, the main concern is when he is lined up across from Wyatt Teller. While Teller has been playing better in recent weeks, as have the Browns offensive line in general, his pass protection has been hit or miss. Against Baltimore and Madubuike, Teller is going to have to be on his A-game, or Watson will not have a pocket to step up into to avoid the Ravens edge defenders.