Scouting report

Ravens vs. Browns

October 16, 2005|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

Today, 1 p.m.--M&T Bank Stadium-- Chs. 13, 9--Line: Ravens by 6-- Records: Ravens 1-3, Browns 2-2

Ravens run offense vs. Browns run defense

Based on history, this is the biggest concern for the Browns. Before being held in check last season by Cleveland, Jamal Lewis had three 100-yard games and two 200-yard games in his first six meetings with the Browns. Cleveland, which has switched to a 3-4 scheme, once again is struggling with the third-worst run defense in the NFL. Last Sunday, the Browns allowed 137 yards on 24 carries to Chicago's Thomas Jones, giving up gaping holes up the middle of the defense. But it's easy to forget that the Ravens don't have their usual running attack, which is sputtering at 3.3 yards a carry. Lewis, who seemed to be getting back to form last Sunday, has been held under 100 yards in four straight games (with at least 10 carries) for the first time since his 2000 rookie season.

Edge -- Even

Ravens pass offense vs. Browns pass defense

Anthony Wright is the fourth-worst-rated quarterback in the NFL (69.9) because he's prone to turning the ball over. In the first three quarters of games this season, he has no touchdown passes and two interceptions. The Ravens have failed to generate any big plays, completing just two passes longer than 25 yards. Maybe receiver Mark Clayton, who has shown flashes of breaking runs, will get more involved. The Browns are 24th against the pass, but they have four interceptions. Strong safety Chris Crocker has two of the team's seven sacks and blitzed about 10 times last Sunday. Former Ravens cornerback Gary Baxter is second on the team with three passes broken up.

Edge -- Browns

Browns run offense vs. Ravens run defense

The Browns haven't committed to the run so far this season, keeping it on the ground only 34 percent of the time. That strategy likely won't change against the Ravens, who remain strong against the run despite slipping to No. 9 in the rankings. Last Sunday, cornerback Chris McAlister and Ed Reed took poor pursuit angles, which sprung big runs for the Lions. When Cleveland runs, it has to find a way to budge Ravens interior linemen Maake Kemoeatu and Kelly Gregg. New Browns running back Reuben Droughns has taken the bulk of the carries with Lee Suggs injured and has gained more than 70 yards in three games. Cleveland has yet to score a rushing touchdown.

Edge -- Ravens

Browns pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

Trent Dilfer is completing 66.7 percent of his throws for the ninth-ranked passing attack in the NFL. In two road games, he has thrown for three touchdowns and no interceptions, averaging 272 yards passing. The Browns will miss first-round pick Braylon Edwards, but Antonio Bryant has stepped up at receiver with 21 catches and two touchdowns. The Ravens have the fourth-best pass defense, one that hasn't allowed big plays but hasn't created them either. There have been two interceptions and seven sacks in four games. And the mystery continues: Where is safety Ed Reed? He has not broken up a pass in three straight games, his longest drought since October 2002.

Edge -- Even

Special teams

The Ravens' 10.5-yard punt-return average (fourth best in the league) is offset by the fact they give up 9.1 yards on punt coverage (25th in the NFL). Browns punt returner Dennis Northcutt has averaged 7.2 yards and has yet to break one longer than 15 yards. Underrated Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson is 8-for-8 on field-goal attempts, converting three from 39 yards or longer. The Ravens' Matt Stover has made his past four attempts, including field goals from 42 and 46 yards. The strength of both punters - the Ravens' Dave Zastudil and the Browns' Kyle Richardson - is placing kicks inside the 20-yard line.

Edge -- Even

Intangibles

Like no other time in their 10-year history, the Ravens became unglued last Sunday in Detroit, committing 21 penalties and seeing two players get ejected. The Ravens will be on a short leash with the officials today. And how much of a home-field advantage will it be with Dilfer likely being the crowd favorite? The Browns have played solid on the road this season, winning in Green Bay and losing by a touchdown in Indianapolis. The Ravens, meanwhile, have looked ragged everywhere this season.

Edge -- Browns

Prediction

The Ravens should have beaten the Tennessee Titans, but lost. They should have beaten the Lions, but lost. They should beat the Browns, but ...

Browns -- 16-13

Ravens offense

WR 89 Mark Clayton

LT 75 Jonathan Ogden

LG 64 Edwin Mulitalo

C 62 Mike Flynn

RG 68 Keydrick Vincent

RT 77 Orlando Brown

TE 86 Todd Heap

WR 85 Derrick Mason

QB 2 Anthony Wright

FB 34 Ovie Mughelli

RB 31 Jamal Lewis

Browns defense

DE 99 Orpheus Roye

NT 95 Jason Fisk

DE 97 Alvin McKinley

OLB 96 Kenard Lang

ILB 54 Andra Davis

ILB 58 Ben Taylor

OLB 51 Chaun Thompson

CB 33 Daylon McCutcheon

CB 24 Gary Baxter

SS 25 Chris Crocker

FS 27 Brian Russell

Browns offense

WR 86 Dennis Northcutt

LT 70 L.J. Shelton

LG 63 Joe Andruzzi

C 50 Jeff Faine

RG 60 Cosey Coleman

RT 72 Ryan Tucker

TE 82 Steve Heiden

WR 81 Antonio Bryant

QB 8 Trent Dilfer

RB 34 Reuben Droughns

FB 42 Terrelle Smith

Ravens defense

LE 95 Jarret Johnson

LT 97 Kelly Gregg

RT 92 Maake Kemoeatu

RE 55 Terrell Suggs

OLB 96 Adalius Thomas

MLB 52 Ray Lewis

OLB 50 Tommy Polley

CB 21 Chris McAlister

CB 22 Samari Rolle

SS 20 Ed Reed

FS 47 Will Demps

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