Gridiron Gab Week Sixteen Preview – Baltimore at Cleveland

Match-up: Baltimore (10-4) Cleveland (5-9)

Building Momentum with Organized Chaos

After coming off a huge victory over the Saints, the Ravens head to Cleveland for a tough divisional match-up.  The Browns feature a bruising running game and a talented secondary. The good news for the Ravens is that the offense has found their running game and the defense is back to their pressure style of defense, better known as ‘organized chaos.’  Baltimore will look to build momentum heading to the playoffs.

Cleveland Browns:

The Browns are staring to put the pieces together on offense. Rookie Colt McCoy has brought some playmaking ability to the quarterback position.  RB Peyton Hillis is a bruising running back with 1129 yards, 4.5 average and 11 TD’s. Hillis is also the leading receiver on the team with 59 receptions.  The unit is ranked 18th in rushing yards (107.2).  TE Benjamin Watson (58 receptions, 674 yards, 3 TD’s.) has been incorporated into the offense and is an effective receiver.  Mohammed Massaquoi has the potential to be a big playmaker and Chansi Stucky has been a consistent receiver. The dangerous kick returner Joshua Cribbs has been infused in the offense as a receiver and in the Wildcat formation.  The unit ranks 28th in points scored (18.0) and 28th in passing yards (187.8).

Veteran linebackers Scott Fujita and Chris Cocong, along with DT Shaun Rodgers and NT Ahtyba Rubin give the defense some stability up front. However, Scott Fujita has been inured since November and was just placed on IR. The secondary is young, but talented.  Rookie Safety T.J. Ward (leading tackler, 104 ) is a hard hitter and having a good season. Free Safety Abraham Wallace has steadily improved with 68 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 Interceptions.  Cornerbacks Sheldon Brown (2 Int,’s) and rookie Joe Haden (5 Int.‘s) have provided consistency.  The unit ranks 10th in points allowed (19.4), 15th in passing yards (222.6), and 25th against the run (129.2).

Match-ups: RB Peyton Hillis vs. Ravens front 7: In the first match-up in Baltimore, Hillis had a dominant game rushing for 144 yards.  Hillis also leads the team in receptions with 59 for 469 yards.   Ravens are now ranked 5th in rushing yards allowed (93.5). Look for the Ravens to make it a priority to slow down Cleveland’s rushing attack.

TE Benjamin Watson vs. CB Chris Carr/Ravens LB’s: Last week against Cincinnati, “Watson tallied a game high seven receptions for 92 yards.” Watson leads the team in passing yards with 674 and is second on the team in receptions with 58. The Ravens must take away QB McCoy’s safety valve.

Ravens O-Line vs. Browns D line: The Ravens O-line bounced back and opened up running lanes for Ray Rice. Cleveland plays physical up front, but are ranked 25th rushing yards allowed.  The Oniel Cousins experiment at right tackle was short lived, however, it still remains an option for certain running packages.

Ray Rice vs. Browns LB’s: The Browns will be keying in on Ray Rice.  The Browns leading linebacker Scott Fujita is on IR. That means Cam Cameron will try to get Rice in open space and try to find mismatches for Rice in the flat.

TE ED Dickson vs. Browns LB’s: The status of Todd Heap is still uncertain, so that means rookie Ed Dickson will most likely start again. The Dickson had his first career TD last Sunday and is getting more involved in the offense.

WR Anquan Boldin vs. CB Joe Haden: In the first season match-up Anquan Boldin caught 3 touchdown passes against the Browns Eric Wright. However, rookie standout Joe Haden is now playing in place of Wright.

OLB Suggs vs. LT Joe Thomas: T-Sizzle is having a great year, he will need to continue to apply pressure and slow down QB Colt McCoy.  McCoy has been sacked 19 times in his six appearances.

Ravens Coverage vs. KR/PR Joshua Cribbs: Joshua Cribbs is a threat whenever the ball is in his hands.

“PLAYER TO MAKE HIGHLIGHT FILM:”

Jonathan Scruggs: Ray Rice

The Ravens clicked offensively last week thanks in large part to the play of Running Back Ray Rice. He’s going to once again be the key to victory this week as the Browns look to rebound from their skid and finish the season on a high note

Matt Jergensen: Ray Rice

“Considering last week’s performance this is a safe bet for this weekend. The weather should be cold and possibly snowy in Cleveland so look for the Ravens run game to get going against the 25th ranked Defense against the rush.”

Gene Winner: Ed Reed

“Reed has been quiet these last few games, look for him to grab and interception against the rookie Colt McCoy.”

Related Injury News:

RAVENS:

TE Todd Heap: Hamstring:   “Ravens coach John Harbaugh says tight end Todd Heap could return for Sunday’s road game against the Cleveland Browns after missing the past two games with a pulled right hamstring.” http://www.nfl.com/news/story/

WR/KR David Reed suffered a concussion in Sunday’s game. His status is uncertain.

BROWNS:

“The Browns announced Tuesday that they have placed linebacker Scott Fujita and cornerback Eric Wright on season-ending injured reserve.” http://www.nfl.com/news/

Related Notes:

As pointed out by Matt Loede, www.Brownsgab.com, “Wide receiver Demetrius Williams  [former Raven] made his Browns debut today [against Cincinnati last Sunday]. He joined the club on October 26 as a free agent as was inactive the previous six contests.“


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