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Thursday Night Football- Browns vs Ravens Preview

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Joe Flacco

Week 4 in the NFL kicks off tonight with an exciting AFC North encounter as the struggling Cleveland Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the high-flying Ravens.

As usual, the game will be live on NFL Network for American viewers and on Sky Sports 2 in Ireland.

Here is my preview of this week’s Thursday Night Football game.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Brandon Weeden

Stadium– M&T Bank Stadium

KO-  8:20 p.m. in Baltimore/1:20 a.m. in Ireland

What to Watch

Ed Reed

Brandon Weeden vs Ravens Secondary

  • The Browns rookie quarterback has had a difficult start to his NFL career. Not only is Brandon Weeden yet to win a game, six interceptions thrown in his first three games is not the start he would have hoped for.
  • Things won’t get any easier for Weeden and the Browns against a Ravens defense which has one of the best secondary units in the entire league. Ed Reed will certainly be looking to take advantage of his early turnover issues vs the 28-year-old rookie.

Ravens Offensive Line vs Browns Defensive Line

  • The Ravens offensive line has done a good job of protecting quarterback Joe Flacco so far this season and have only only five sacks. They have also been blocked well in the run game with star running back Ray Rice currently on pace for a career high in rushing yards.
  • However, the o-line is in for a tough test tonight against a physical Browns defensive line. Whilst not loaded with star names, they are a solid group up front and will definitely cause problems for the Ravens.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens Passing Game

  • For the majority observers coming into this season, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was either considered to be a game manager or a top ten quarterback. For me it was the latter and he is certainly proving me right with his fast start to the new year.
  • Flacco is currently ranked second in the league in passing yards through three games. The Ravens passing game will be looking to impress again against the Browns less than stellar secondary.

Who to Watch

Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson- Running Back- Browns

  • Will the real Trent Richardson please stand up? That’s the answer that most Browns fans will be looking for against the Ravens.
  • The third overall pick from this year’s draft is still struggling to be a reliable weapon for the Browns offense. After averaging just 3.5 yards per carry through the first three games, Richardson will be looking to kick start his season vs Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense tonight.

Torrey Smith- Wide Receiver- Ravens

  • First off, it is quite difficult to sum up the courageous effort and mental toughness showed by Torrey Smith last week. No less than 24 hours after finding out that his brother had died in a motorcycle accident, Smith went out and played in a vital game vs the Patriots and also scored two touchdowns.
  • He now goes into this week looking to continue that form against the Browns. Without Joe Haden in their secondary, Torrey Smith could be in for another standout performance tonight.

Lardarius Webb- Cornerback- Ravens

  • For my money, Lardarius Webb has developed into one of the best cornerbacks in the league. With seven interceptions in his last two years, Webb is a threat to pick off any opposing quarterback and Browns rookie Brandon Weedon will have to be wary of Webb throughout the entire game.
  • Tonight Webb will be given the task of covering Browns wideout Mohamed Massaquoi. Massaquoi will have to put on a Torrey Smith like performance to get the better of this matchup.

Prediction

Joe Flacco

After I was unsuccessful in my upset pick for a Panthers win last week, I’m going to have to go conservative this week and pick a Ravens victory.

Browns 19 Ravens 33

So that’s my preview and prediction, hope everyone enjoys the game.

Check back tomorrow for a recap of the game along with my picks for the rest of the games in Week 4.

Follow @PodgeOH

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