Browns At Ravens

PSINet Stadium, 1 p.m. today, chs. 13, 9

November 18, 2001|By Jamison Hensley

Ravens rushing vs. Browns run defense -- EVEN

The Ravens' running game has been spotty and has averaged only 2.3 yards a carry over the past two games. With Terry Allen out at least a month with a fractured left hand, the bulk of the carries will go to Jason Brookins and Obafemi Ayanbadejo. The Ravens have shown concern about the wear and tear on Brookins, who is working on his 15th game today after playing a half season in NFL Europe this spring. The Browns rank 24th in run defense but held Brookins to 6 yards on five second-half carries in their last meeting.

Ravens passing vs. Browns pass defense -- BROWNS

Elvis Grbac, who was 15 of 27 for 192 yards vs. Tennessee on Monday night, will see if the rust has shaken off in his second game back. A month ago in Cleveland, Grbac fumbled once and was picked off twice, exiting in the third quarter with bruised ribs. The Browns recorded a season-high seven sacks in that game, but the Ravens were playing without left guard Edwin Mulitalo. The key showdown will be Ravens tackle Jonathan Ogden against Cleveland end Courtney Brown.

Browns rushing vs. Ravens run defense -- RAVENS

Although the rushing yards allowed have been higher than normal recently, the Ravens still boast the league's top run defense. They are giving up 3.0 yards a carry, which remains best in the league. Cleveland, 29th in the NFL in rushing, had surprising success the last time against the Ravens. Browns running back James Jackson, who should play despite being questionable with an ankle injury, finished with 77 yards but could have broken 100 if not for four holding penalties wiping out 50 yards.

Browns passing vs. Ravens pass defense -- EVEN

Duane Starks, step front and center. The Ravens' cornerback will be looking to set the record straight after giving up touchdown passes of 28 and 36 yards to the Browns a month ago. Besides those two strikes, the Ravens had controlled Browns quarterback Tim Couch, who was 11 of 18 passing for 149 yards. He has thrown only one interception in his past 154 attempts. The Ravens, who were ranked No. 1 against the pass in Week 5, have fallen to 14th.

Special teams -- EVEN

These units canceled each other out in the last meeting. The Ravens' Jermaine Lewis produced a 33-yard punt return, and the Browns' Ben Gay broke a 42-yarder on a kickoff return. The Ravens are looking for more consistency from kickoff specialist Danny Kight and more focus from punter Kyle Richardson, who mishandled a snap on Monday night. James Trapp, the Ravens' leading special teams tackler, will be a game-time decision with a groin strain.

Intangibles -- RAVENS

The Ravens have won three straight by a total of 10 points, and the Browns have lost the past two weeks in overtime. The Ravens have won eight in a row at home, and the Browns have lost nine of their past 10 on the road. Plus, the Ravens have not forgotten the celebration in Cleveland four weeks ago.

Prediction -- RAVENS

Missed field goals? Last-second goal-line stands? The Ravens will be hard-pressed to top the drama of the past two weeks, but they probably will. With a short week, the Cardiac Champs are destined for another cliffhanger. Ravens, 17-12.

Inside slant

Ravens scout George Kokinis sizes up the Browns: Strength:Quarterback Tim Couch. Even though the Browns are ranked 31st in offense, their strength is Couch. He's showing a lot of maturity. He's poised in the pocket. He's tough and is a deceptively good athlete with surprising speed. He's going to carry that offense.

Weakness:Recent physical play of the offensive line. What you're hearing out of Cleveland is that the Browns have felt they haven't been able to get on track the past two games as far as their offense is concerned. In their eyes, the only game in which their offensive line dominated was against the Ravens. I think they're looking at this game to get back on track.

Matchup to watch: Ravens dime back Carnell Lake (16 tackles, no interceptions or passes broken up) vs. Browns fourth receiver (Jammi German or Mike Sellers). Cleveland has been talking about having to improve its third-down efficiency (31 percent). On some of the Browns' short routes, Lake is going to have to stop those plays. How Lake is lined up in the routes that they run, he's going to really have to jump it. From the backfield to the flat is a tough route to cover.

Lineups

Ravens offense

WR 87 Qadry Ismail

LT 75 Jonathan Ogden

LG 64 Edwin Mulitalo

C 62 Mike Flynn

RG 66 Bennie Anderson

RT 77 Kipp Vickers

TE 82 Shannon Sharpe

WR 89 Travis Taylor

QB 18 Elvis Grbac

RB 44 Jason Brookins

FB 32 Sam Gash

Browns defense

DE 78 Tyrone Rogers

DT 94 Gerard Warren

DT 99 Orpheus Roye

DE 92 Courtney Brown

SLB 95 Jamir Miller

MLB 52 Brant Boyer

WLB 57 Dwayne Rudd

CB 24 Corey Fuller

CB 33 Daylon McCutcheon

SS 20 Earl Little

FS 43 Percy Ellsworth

Browns offense

WR 85 Kevin Johnson

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 86 Dennis Northcutt

QB 2 Tim Couch

RB 29 James Jackson

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