Scouting report

November 18, 2007|By Jamison Hensley

Ravens run offense vs. Browns run defense

Willis McGahee has been one of the few highlights on the Ravens' offense, ranking sixth in the NFL in rushing (749 yards). But during the team's three-game losing streak, McGahee hasn't received more than 19 carries. McGahee now faces the Browns' 29th-ranked run defense. Cleveland has allowed seven 100-yard rushers this season. The Browns would be weakened up the middle if linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (ankle) can't play. Edge: Ravens

Ravens pass offense vs. Browns pass defense

Kyle Boller takes over for Steve McNair with a prime opportunity to show off his big arm. The Browns, whose pass defense is ranked second worst in the NFL, have given up the most passes over 20 yards (35) and most passing touchdowns (22). But the Ravens could be limited without tight end Todd Heap (hamstring) and No. 3 receiver Demetrius Williams (ankle). Browns cornerback Leigh Bodden (back) has been limited in practice. Left tackle Jonathan Ogden will be matched up against linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, who leads the Browns in sacks (three) and quarterback pressures (11). Edge: Even

Browns run offense vs. Ravens run defense

Jamal Lewis returns for his first game in Baltimore since being cut by the Ravens. The franchise's all-time leading rusher, Lewis has struggled with the Browns, getting held to less than 65 yards rushing in all but one game. He has averaged two yards a carry the past two weeks. The Ravens limited Lewis to 64 yards on 23 carries earlier this season. At home, the Ravens' defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 14 games and has given up two rushing touchdowns in 20 games. Edge: Ravens

Browns pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

The Ravens' secondary is getting healthier with the expected return of cornerback Chris McAlister, who has missed the past three games with a strained right knee. But Corey Ivy will continue to fill in for Samari Rolle (undisclosed illness). The banged-up defensive backfield held Carson Palmer without a touchdown after allowing five passing touchdowns in Pittsburgh. In the Sept. 30 meeting, Browns tight end Kellen Winslow (96 receiving yards) and receiver Braylon Edwards (78-yard touchdown catch against McAlister) both hurt the Ravens. Quarterback Derek Anderson hasn't been sacked in his past two games. Edge: Browns

Special teams

The Browns' Joshua Cribbs is a dangerous returner because of his combination of strength and speed. Last Sunday, he followed up a 90-yard kickoff return with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Ravens' punt and kickoff coverage teams rank in the bottom half of the NFL. The Ravens' Yamon Figurs is extremely quick but has struggled lately in fielding the ball. Ravens kicker Matt Stover has not attempted a field goal in three straight games, the longest drought of his career. Edge: Browns

Intangibles

The Ravens haven't lost consecutive home games since December 2002. The Browns have lost four straight trips to Baltimore, falling by an average of 14.2 points. After three straight embarrassing losses, the Ravens are desperate for a win. Boller plays his best at home, where he is 15-4 as a starting quarterback. Edge: Ravens

Prediction

Boller might not be better than Anderson, but he will be the better quarterback today. His ability to throw downfield will be a much-needed change for the Ravens' sleep-walking offense. This isn't to say Boller is the Ravens' quarterback of the future, but this is a good start. Ravens, 20-13

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.