This is a rubber meeting-the-road moment for the 2023 Cleveland Browns. Sitting at a respectable 5-3, the Browns head to Baltimore to take on the AFC North-leading 7-2 Ravens. There's a ton on the line for Cleveland, not the least of which is redemption.
The Browns have been ultra-competitive in every single game they have played this season with the exception of one. That one game came at the hands of the Ravens in their own building. A 28-3 boat racing that felt like it was over after the Ravens’ first touchdown.
Now, there were many factors that went into the lopsided Week 4 debacle for Cleveland, the most notable being a rookie quarterback getting the start with 90 minutes' notice. And just as the Browns did to the fifth-round rookie quarterback getting his first start last week, the Ravens throttled Cleveland's offense led by a fifth-round signal caller getting his first opportunity back in Week 4.
The biggest difference between the week four matchup and this upcoming game is that the Browns will have their starting quarterback at the helm. With Deshaun Watson healthy, and with a week under his belt, the Browns should be able to make a much better account for themselves against the bully on the block in the AFC North.
3 Keys for the Browns to leave Baltimore with a victory in Week 10
Key No. 3: Tighten Up in the Red Zone
As improved as the Browns defense has been this season, there's an area that they have regressed from last season…the red zone. Cleveland ranks near the bottom of the league giving up a touchdown in just under 67% of their red zone possessions. As much as Cleveland’s defense underperformed in 2022, that unit only gave up a touchdown on 55% of their red zone opportunities.
The good news is not many teams have been able to get into the redzone on this Browns defense. However, there is bad news as well. The Ravens were able to score touchdowns all on four of their red zone opportunities the last time these two teams met.
The Browns must be better at forcing field goal attempts if the Ravens get inside of their 20-yard line. The Ravens will be more than happy to grind out long drives and bleed clock, but in order for that style of play to work for Baltimore the majority of those drives need to end with six points. If the Browns defense can limit Baltimore’s red zone success, they will give their offense a fighting chance this week.