Ravens At Browns

Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, 1 p.m., Ch. 13

October 21, 2001


Ravens rushing vs. Browns run defense -- RAVENS

In the past three games, the Ravens have averaged 159 yards rushing as a team. The line will be missing one of its top run blockers in left guard Edwin Mulitalo, who is out with a knee injury. Kipp Vickers is an adequate replacement against Cleveland, the 20th-ranked run defense. Marred by poor tackling, the Browns have held just one running back under 93 yards in a game. Cleveland is susceptible to the big run, giving up a gain of at least 15 yards in every game this season.

Ravens passing vs. Browns pass defense -- RAVENS

Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac leads the AFC with 1,206 passing yards but has been careless at times with the ball. He has thrown all six of his interceptions on the road. The Browns thrive off such mistakes, picking off a league-best 11 passes. But that number is inflated since seven interceptions came against Detroit's Ty Detmer. The Ravens have shown consistent big-play potential with receivers Qadry Ismail (19.3 yards per catch) and Travis Taylor (16.5).

Browns rushing vs. Ravens run defense -- RAVENS

This promises to be an exercise in futility for the Browns. The Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 42 games, including the playoffs. Cleveland running back James Jackson, a rookie third-round pick out of Miami, is averaging 2.8 yards per attempt. Ravens defensive tackle Sam Adams has a decided advantage over Browns right guard Jeremy McKinney, who is making his third career start. Last season, Cleveland managed just 51 yards on 30 carries in two meetings with the Ravens.

Browns passing vs. Ravens pass defense -- RAVENS

Cleveland, the sixth-worst passing attack in the league, likely will spread the field against a Ravens pass defense looking to regain some respect. The Ravens allowed 337 yards passing and three touchdowns to Green Bay's Brett Favre after holding their first four opponents under 200 yards passing. Pressuring Browns quarterback Tim Couch will be key since Cleveland has allowed 16 sacks. The Ravens' Michael McCrary and Peter Boulware, who have combined for eight sacks this season, were held without a sack in the same game for the first time last Sunday.

Special teams -- RAVENS

The Ravens hold an edge in every category except kickoff coverage, where they're giving up 24.4 yards per return. Jermaine Lewis has been on the verge of breaking a return for a touchdown recently for the Ravens. The Ravens' punt coverage ranks atop the league, holding teams to 3.7 yards per return. If the Ravens' Matt Stover kicks a field goal, it will be his 32nd consecutive game with at least one, which would break the NFL record.

Intangibles -- EVEN

The Browns have a new energy under new coach Butch Davis and desperately want their first victory over the franchise that left Cleveland five years ago. But the Ravens' defense is aiming to mend its reputation after the debacle in Green Bay. The Ravens have been turnover-prone in three road games this season, however, with five fumbles and six interceptions.

Prediction -- RAVENS

Retribution for the Ravens' defense comes in the form of a shutout. It could be a long day for Couch. Ravens, 20-0. - Jamison Hensley

Inside slant

Ravens scout George Kokinis sizes up the Browns:

Strength:New mentality brought by coach Butch Davis. He carries a brash attitude, and his team is believing in him and playing harder. The Browns pursue from the backside and play off of blocks instead of allowing themselves to get cut down.

Weakness:Pass protection. The Browns have given up 16 sacks, six above the league average. The right side of the line -- G Jeremy McKinney and T Roger Chanoine -- are both two years removed from being undrafted free agents. The rule of thumb is if you put a younger player next to a veteran, it's OK. A lot of times when you put two younger players together, the communication is a problem.

Matchup to watch: Ravens WR Brandon Stokley (eight catches, 82 yards) vs. Browns CB Daylon McCutcheon (two interceptions including one for a touchdown) in the slot on the Ravens' three-wide packages. Neither is known for his speed, but both are deceptively fast. Stokley is quick out of his breaks, and McCutcheon has good pattern recognition. They're in a similar mold since both are precise in their footwork.


Ravens offense

WR 87 Qadry Ismail

LT 75 Jonathan Ogden

LG 77 Kipp Vickers

C 62 Mike Flynn

RG 66 Bennie Anderson

RT 78 Sammy Williams

TE 82 Shannon Sharpe

WR 89 Travis Taylor

QB 18 Elvis Grbac

RB 29 Terry Allen

FB 32 Sam Gash

Browns defense

LE 78 Tyrone Rogers

LT 94 Gerard Warren

RT 74 Mark Smith

RE 99 Orpheus Roye

SLB 95 Jamir Miller

MLB 58 Wali Rainer

WLB 57 Dwayne Rudd

LCB 24 Corey Fuller

RCB 33 Daylon McCutcheon

SS 20 Earl Little

FS 43 Percy Ellsworth

Browns offense

WR 86 Dennis Northcutt

LT 72 Roman Oben

LG 77 Ross Verba

C 64 Dave Wohlabaugh

RG 66 Jeremy McKinney

RT 69 Roger Chanoine

TE 87 O.J. Santiago

WR 85 Kevin Johnson

QB 2 Tim Couch

RB 29 James Jackson

FB 44 Mike Sellers

Ravens defense

LE 90 Rob Burnett

LT 95 Sam Adams

RT 98 Tony Siragusa

RE 99 Michael McCrary

LLB 58 Peter Boulware

MLB 52 Ray Lewis

RLB 55 Jamie Sharper

LCB 22 Duane Starks

RCB 21 Chris McAlister

SS 45 Corey Harris

FS 26 Rod Woodson


Records: Ravens 3-2; Browns 3-2.

Line:Ravens by 7 1/2 .

Vs. spread:Ravens 3-2; Browns 3-1.

Series: Ravens lead 4-0.

Last meeting: Ravens won, 44-7, on Nov. 26, 2000, at Baltimore

Quick hits: Ravens' offensive line has allowed only four sacks, fewest in AFC. ... Browns LB Jamir Miller needs one sack to set career high with six. ... Victory would give Browns three straight home wins for first time since rejoining league.


RAVENS:Out: WR Patrick Johnson (clavicle); G Edwin Mulitalo (knee); T Leon Searcy (arm). Questionable: DE Rob Burnett (hand); TE Todd Heap (ankle). Probable: DE Michael McCrary (knee).

BROWNS: Doubtful: DE Courtney Brown (knee). Questionable: DE Keith McKenzie (abdominal); G Jeremy McKinney (elbow). Probable: CB Raymond Jackson (groin); OT Ross Verba (head).

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