Key Matchups

November 16, 2009|By MIKE PRESTON

Browns NG Shaun Rogers vs. Ravens C Matt Birk

Rogers is huge and can be a force in the middle. He can take away an inside running game by himself because he is a space eater. Birk, though, is quick and athletic. He is a technician, and speed will allow him to turn Rogers. The key is how long Birk (77) can hold the block. Rogers needs to take a breather after every two plays. Edge: Birk:

Browns CBs Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright vs. Ravens WRs Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason

The Browns' cornerbacks are as bad as the Ravens'. They are soft and can't cover a baby with a blanket, either. Mason and Clayton, above, have to keep these two guessing. The Ravens should be able to work their usual slant and comeback routes. If possible, Wright and McDonald should try press coverage instead of giving a big cushion. The Ravens will take some shots downfield against Cleveland. Edge: Clayton and Mason:

Browns LT Joe Thomas vs. Ravens DE-LB Terrell Suggs

Thomas is huge and one of the better left tackles in the NFL. He has good feet and a strong punch, and he uses his leverage well. He is one of the few bright spots on the offensive line and in the organization. Suggs (55) has had a solid season but not the kind you expect from a player who signed a $68 million contract before it started. It's too late to ask for a rebate, but Suggs needs to step up his game in the second half of the season. Edge: Thomas:

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