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Each team’s biggest question mark heading into the 2013 season: AFC Edition

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It’s that time of year again in the NFL.

Almost all of the 32 teams have now returned for training camp and with preseason games right around the corner, it won’t be long until the new season kicks off.

Let’s see how the things are shaping up in 2013.

*AFC only

East

Buffalo Bills

Who will win the quarterback battle in Buffalo?

The Bills haven’t had the best of luck recently when it comes to quarterbacks. From the mediocre Trent Edwards to the just about average Ryan Fitzpatrick, there hasn’t been much to cheer for lately in upstate New York. After releasing Fitzpatrick in March, the team now are undergoing a fresh start at quarterback.

They signed Kevin Kolb this offseason to a two-year deal. Kolb was released after spending two years with the Arizona Cardinals and although he has the potential to be a starting quarterback, he has yet to stay healthy and complete a full season.

The other option is rookie E.J. Manuel. After impressing at Florida State, Manuel was picked with the sixteenth overall selection in this year’s draft and he is expected to compete with Kolb for the starting role.

Expect the Bills to give the starting job to Kevin Kolb over rookie Manuel.

Miami Dolphins

How will Mike Wallace perform in Miami?

Who are the fastest players in the NFL? Chances are Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace would see his name close to the top of that list.

The former Pittsburgh Steeler signed a $60 million deal with the Dolphins this offseason and he is expected to make a big impact in South Beach. Wallace is a former Pro Bowler who has averaged over 17 yards per reception in his career.

The 26-year-old should form a solid combination with quarterback Ryan Tannehill who will be looking to improve after an inconsistent rookie season. will prove to be a huge success for head coach Joe Philbin and the Dolphins.

Tannehill will certainly have plenty of opportunities to throw the ball downfield this season with Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline on the outside.

New England Patriots

Can Tom Brady and the Pats solve their tight end issues?

Now this isn’t going to come as a surprise to NFL fans or anybody who has been watching the ongoing murder case involving Aaron Hernandez, but the Patriots have serious problems at tight end. With Aaron Hernandez gone and Rob Gronkowski still recovering from back surgery, the team is struggling at the position.

Former New York Giant Jake Ballard currently appears to be best option with veteran Daniel Fells providing backup. Although they aren’t admitting it to the media, the team must surely be concerned about Rob Gronkowski and his long-term health following yet another surgery.

Could all this uncertainty pave the way for a position switch from quarterback to tight end for Tim Tebow?

If there’s a coach out there that can make this work, it’s got to be Bill Belichick.

New York Jets

What kind of impact will new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg have in the big apple?

January 11th, 2012. That’s the date when the Jets hired Tony Sparano as their new offensive coordinator. Safe to say, that experiment didn’t work out too well.

Now with Sparano gone on former Eagles coach Marty Mornhinwg installed as the new offensive coordinator, the team is entering another make or break season.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez now faces competition for the starting job from rookie Geno Smith. Regardless of who is chosen as the starter, Mornhinweg will need to do a better job than Sparano did if he is going to keep his job and improve the Jets offense.

If the Jets fail to make the Playoffs this season, it could force owner Woody Johnson to make a change with both quarterback Mark Sanchez and head coach Rex Ryan running out of chances.

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez in court

North

Baltimore Ravens

What will the Ravens defense look like without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed?

Just think about this for a second, Ray Lewis was the first draft choice in the history of the Ravens back in 1996. Ed Reed was a first round draft pick in 2002. Both these players are now gone and the team must move on without them.

The defending Super Bowl champions will need to adapt quickly to the loss of these two leaders. It came as no surprise when the team used their first two draft picks to find their replacements.

Florida safety Matt Elam was selected in the first round with Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown taken in the second round. Both rookies will be expected to contribute early on and replace the gap left by the departed duo of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

General Manager Ozzie Newsome proved once again why he is one of the best in the business when it comes to picking talent and Ravens fans should be excited to see these rookies compete.

Cincinnati Bengals

Is Andy Dalton ever going to step up for the Bengals in the playoffs?

After two seasons in the league, Andy Dalton has an impressive quarterback rating of 83.9 in the regular season. His performances in the playoffs have not been so impressive.

In the postseason, Dalton’s quarterback rating is 48.6 and he has an equally unimpressive touchdown to interception ratio of 0-4. The former TCU star seems to shy away from the spotlight and that must now the biggest question mark for the team.

The Bengals are never going to reach their potential if things don’t change and it’s about time their quarterback started showing more composure in the playoffs.

This could be the year that head coach Marvin Lewis leads his team to a playoff victory for the first time but it will all come down to the performance of Dalton.

Cleveland Browns

Can rookie head coach Rob Chudzinski succeed in Cleveland?

Rob Chudzinski may not be as well-known to NFL fans as other rookie head coaches this year, but the 45-year-old has an impressive coaching background. Chudzinski played on a national championship winning Miami Hurricanes team in 1987 and he also won a national championship with the school as offensive coordinator in 2001.

As a coach in the NFL, he has worked with the Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers and most recently with the Carolina Panthers where he played a major role in improving their offense and developing quarterback Cam Newton. During his time as offensive coordinator with the Browns back in 2007, he helped them to win ten games and also sent four offensive players to the Pro Bowl including Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow II.

If there’s one thing he brings to the table, “Chud” will add some much needed explosiveness to the Browns offense which already has a future Pro Bowler at running back with Trent Richardson.

It doesn’t help Chudzinski that the Browns are playing in one of the toughest divisions in football but they have a roster capable of winning plenty of games this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

How will first-round rookie Jarvis Jones perform in Pittsburgh?

The Steelers are coming off worst ever season under head coach Mike Tomlin. After going 8-8 last year and with their usually dominant defense struggling, it was time to rebuild.

They have made many changes to personnel this offeseason with James Harrison, Keenan Lewis, Ryan Mundy and Will Allen all gone. The team re-signed veterans Larry Foote and William Gay before the draft and then made an impressive first-round selection in April. Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones was selected with the seventeenth overall pick and the rookie is expected to fill the starting role left by James Harrison.

The Steelers are looking to bounce back this season and they will be counting on Jones to help them do so on defense.

Expect the 23-year-old to make a big impact in his rookie year playing alongside LaMarr Woodley at outside linebacker.

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed

South

Houston Texans

Can J.J. Watt set a new record for single-season sacks in Houston?

Michael Strahan set the record for sacks in a season back in 2001 when he registered 22.5 sacks. Twelve years later and that record is under threat.

J.J. Watt is a special football player. At 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighing almost 290 pounds, he posses a unique mix of size, speed and strength that causes nightmares for anybody attempting to block him. If there was ever going to be a football player who could double act as a transformer, Watt is it.

The former Wisconsin standout is coming off a season in which he had 20.5 sacks, was named to the All-Pro team and also won the Defensive Player of the Year award. Even more frightening for opposing teams and quarterbacks is that at 24-years-old and entering his third season, he is going to get even better.

Watt is without doubt the most dominant defensive player in the league right now and look for him to break the NFL’s single-season sack record this year.

Indianapolis Colts

Is it going to be a sophomore slump for Andrew Luck and the Colts?

Andrew Luck was just a rookie last season and every year the NFL takes a poll of the top 100 players in the league, Luck was ranked 23rd in that poll. As in the 23rd best player in the NFL, after only one season in the league. That’s how good he is.

The 1st overall pick in the 2012 draft didn’t disappoint in his first year in the league and he set seven NFL records along the way. Putting all those credentials aside for now and it’s time to do it all over again. Unfortunately for Luck and the Colts, the sophomore slump is bound to kick in.

It will be interesting to see how #12 handles the pressure this time around.

The departure of offensive coordinator Bruce Arenas will likely cause a drop in Luck’s production this year and it will be hard for him to repeat the magic of his rookie season.

Jacksonville Jaguars

What will Denard Robinson really do for the Jags?

The Jaguars used their fifth round pick in April’s draft to select former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Robinson set many records during his time at Ann Arbor and he was a terrific offensive player for the wolverines. Notice how I referred to him as an offensive player and not a quarterback in the last sentence and that’s because of the elephant in the room.

Denard Robinson cannot play quarterback in the NFL. He just doesn’t posses the type of arm strength, accuracy or overall awareness when it comes to passing the football that are all critical to playing the position in this league. However, that doesn’t mean he cannot succeed as an impact player on offense and that’s exactly what the Jags will use him as.

Robinson is listed as an offensive weapon on the depth chart and he is expected to play running back, wide receiver and return specialist for the team. Their plan is to give him 10-15 snaps per game but that is unlikely.

Whether they want to admit or not, there is no way that “Shoelace” will see that many touches for one simple reason and that is because this is no longer College football.

Newsflash in Jacksonville: This is the NFL and not the Big Ten.

Tennessee Titans

Will Jake Locker stay healthy and remain the starter in Tennessee?

Jake Locker hasn’t yet managed to silence the critics who doubted his ability to take a hit in the NFL. Since being drafted with the eighth overall pick by the Titans in the 2011 draft, he has played in exactly half of the team’s 32 regular season games.

After beating out veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and winning the starting job last year, Locker’s 2012 season was cut short by shoulder problems and he still faces those same concerns heading into this season. With Hasselbeck now gone, Tennessee is counting on their former first round pick to step up and put his injury issues in the past.

All the comments thus far from Locker and Titans camp is that the shoulder injury is fully healed and he is back to 100%. How long that will last however is still a question mark.

If Locker does get hurt again this year it could force team owner Bud Adams to move on from the 25-year-old.

Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck

West

Denver Broncos

Are they heading towards a decline in Denver?

The short answer to this question is yes. If you are a Broncos fan, look away now.

Last year’s second ranked defense has gone through an awful offseason. With defensive leader Elvis Dumervil being cut by the team back in March, things got even worse for the team this week.

Linebacker Von Miller faces a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy. Miller has claimed innocence in the case and he is appealing the suspension. It would usually be around this time that the team’s front office would step in but after two Broncos executives got arrested for separate drink driving offences, they appear to be dealing with problems of their own.

With all this ongoing uncertainty, the Broncos look as though they are heading backwards in 2013.

Kansas City Chiefs

How will Andy Reid perform in Kansas City?

Well it didn’t take long for Andy Reid to find another job. After being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles immediately after last season, the 55-year-old head coach is back at work.

The Chiefs hired Reid as their new head coach less than a week after his firing and signed him to a five-year deal. Putting aside a disastrous final year in Philadelphia, Andy Reid is a great football coach. You don’t take your team to the Playoffs nine times in 14 years by accident.

Now in his new chapter in Kansas City, the Chiefs look likely to make progress under Reid and challenge for the AFC West title.

Obviously much will depend on the play of new quarterback Alex Smith but if he can deliver and Reid makes the right coaching decisions, the Chiefs can be a Playoff team for years to come.

Oakland Raiders

What has changed in Oakland?

Often considered to be the worst team in the division, that certainly won’t be the case this season. The Raiders look to be undergoing a turnaround under head coach Dennis Allen.

On offense, not much has changed with their annual quarterback turnover and the ongoing questions surrounding the health of running back Darren McFadden. But on the opposite side of the ball, the defense are making moves.

The Raiders have signed some impressive free agents at cornerback with Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins both joining the team. Add to that their first-round draft pick D.J. Hayden along with returning veteran Charles Woodson and the Raiders are looking strong in the secondary.

If they can find a decent quarterback from the four options that they currently have on the roster, the Raiders could content for a postseason spot this year.

San Diego Chargers

Is this the end for Philip Rivers in San Diego?

The Chargers have a new head coach with Mike McCoy taking over the hot seat. The first thing on his to do list should be to address the recent problems with quarterback Philip Rivers.

Statistics don’t lie and they do not read well for Rivers. In his last three seasons he has thrown 48 interceptions and has had 63 total turnovers.

However, many fans will argue that he isn’t to blame for this decline and it is instead down to poor play from the offensive line. The team hasn’t wasted time in fixing this issue. They drafted Alabama offesnive tackle D.J. Fluker with their first round pick and also added free agents Max Starks and King Dunlap. With no more excuses, it’s now up to Rivers to deliver.

If it turns out that Rivers struggles again, head coach Mike McCoy will have an important decision on his hands regarding the future of the franchise at quarterback.

Andy Reid

Andy Reid

That was my breakdown of the AFC and my NFC breakdown will be released next week.

For more NFL updates, follow me on twitter.

Follow @PodgeOH

Playoffs Preview- AFC Divisional Round

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Ray Lewis

After a typically dramatic wildcard weekend, the Playoffs continue this week with the divisional games just around the corner.

The first of two AFC divisional games takes place on Saturday night as the Baltimore Ravens travel to Denver to tackle the Broncos.

The second game is on Sunday with an intriguing matchup in store as the Houston Texans go on the road to New England to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Now without further ado, here are my previews and predictions for the games.

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning

Keys to the Game

When the Ravens have the ball…

Ray Rice

Ray Rice and the Ravens Run Game

  • Running back Ray Rice has seen his role in the Ravens offense reduced this season after he had only 257 carries which was his lowest total since the 2009 season. He wasn’t much of a factor in their wildcard win last week against the Colts either and he rushed for just 68 yards.
  • The Ravens will be looking for Rice to step up in this game against a solid Broncos defense. Joe Flacco can’t do it all by himself and so he needs help from Rice and rookie Bernard Pierce to provided solid support on the ground.

When the Broncos have the ball…

Demaryius Thomas

Peyton Manning vs Ravens Veterans

  • Peyton Manning may be the league’s best veteran offensive player but the NFL’s probable MVP is going up against two of the best veteran defensive players in this one. Two names immediately jump out from the Ravens and those are star linebacker Ray Lewis and playmaking safety Ed Reed.
  • Both players are Future Hall of Famers and Lewis is coming off an emotional game last week when he led the team with 13 total tackles in his final home game. Manning will have to be at his best going up aganist these two leaders in what will be a football version of a chess game featuring some of the smartest players in the game.

Prediction

Ed Reed

The Colts beat the Ravens 34-17 back in week 15 on the road in Baltimore and as the number one seed, they will be the favorites in this game at home in Denver.

However, I see the Ravens pulling off an upset led by star linebacker Ray Lewis on defense along with help from Joe Flacco and the offense.

Ravens 20 Broncos 17

Houston Texans at New England Patriots

J.J. Watt

Keys to the Game

When the Texans have the ball…

Arian Foster

Matt Schaub and the Texans Passing Game vs Patriots Pass Defense

  • It’s no secret that the Patriots pass defense is the team’s biggest weakness and it has been for a number of seasons now. They ranked as the 4th worst team vs the pass this year after giving up over 270 yards to opponents per game.
  • The Texans offense is led by star running back Arian Foster and so they can beat opponents both on the ground and through the air. However, if Foster and the rest of the Texans running game struggles, the pressure will be on Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and co. in the passing game to step up against a poor Pats pass defense.

When the Patriots have the ball…

Tom Brady

Tom Brady vs Texans Pass Rush

  • When the Patriots have the ball we will see two of the best players at their respective positions going up against each other. The headline may say Tom Brady vs the Texans pass rush but it will most likely be a battle of Tom Brady vs J.J. Watt as the Pats quarterback and the league leader in sacks go head-to-head.
  • Watt had 5 tackles and 1 sack last week in the Texans win last against the Bengals and the second year player is coming off a season in which he had an incredible 20.5 sacks. Tom Brady will need to keep a close eye on pressure coming from Watt off the edge every time he drops back to pass.

Prediction

Vince Wilfork

The Texans are back in the Playoff divisional round for the second year in a row but question marks still remain about their ability to take the next step into the Playoffs.

As for the Patriots, playing at home after a first-round bye and Tom Brady and co. will certainly be well prepared for this one by head coach Bill Belichick.

In a high-scoring game, I’m picking Tom Brady and the Pats to come out on top and advance to the AFC Championship Game.

Texans 21 Patriots 31

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick

So those are your previews and predictions.

For more Playoff updates, follow me on Twitter.

Follow @PodgeOH

Playoffs Preview- AFC Wildcard Round

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Ray Lewis

The AFC Playoffs kick off tomorrow with the first of two wildcard games as the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Houston to take on the Texans.

The second wildcard game takes place on Sunday with an exciting matchup in store as rookie quarterback Andrew Luck leads his Indianapolis Colts on the road in Baltimore against veteran linebacker Ray Lewis and the Ravens.

Now without further ado, here are my previews and predictions for the games.

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

Marvin Lewis

Keys to the Game

When the Bengals have the ball…

Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton vs Texans Pass Rush

  • Andy Dalton may not be among the elite when it comes to the quarterbacks on show in the Playoffs but he is still a solid quarterback nonetheless. Back-to-back 3,000 yard passing seasons have been an impressive start to his career for the second-year player out of TCU.
  • Dalton’s favorite target is wide receiver A.J. Green who was drafted in the same draft class back in 2011. Green has also had a fantastic start to his career with 162 catches for over 2,400 yards in his first two years in the NFL.
  • The success of the Bengals offense in this game will largely depends on how they handle the Texans fearsome pass rush. Led by star pass rusher J.J. Watt, the Texans defense will look to put pressure on Dalton throughout the game.

When the Texans have the ball…

Arian Foster

Arian Foster vs Bengals Defense

  • When it comes to the ground battle in this one, these two teams are pretty evenly matched with the Texans offense averaging just over 132 yards per game and the Benglas defense giving up a little over 107 yards per game.
  • The Texans rushing attack is led by star running back Arian Foster. Foster has been one of the league’s most consitent backs in recent years and is arguably the best running back in the NFL outside of Adrian Peterson.
  • The Bengals defense will have to be at their best to contain Foster but they certainly have the players capable of doing so. Linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga along with standout defensive linemen like Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson will all be looking to put on a big performance.

Prediction

J.J. Watt

The Bengals have never won a Playoff game under head coach Marvin Lewis and face an uphill battle to do so on the road in Houston.

With an exciting offense led by standout players Arian Foster and Andre Johnson along with a defense which includes the league leader in sacks in J.J. Watt, the Texans are favorites to win this game and progress to the next round.

Bengals 19 Texans 27

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

Chuck Pagano

Keys to the Game

When the Colts have the ball…

Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck vs Ravens Defense

  • Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has been fantastic for the Colts this year and he is my pick for the Rookie of the Year award. Luck set a new NFL record for most passing yards in a season fro a rookie with a 4,374 yards. He has also been effective scoring for the Colts this season with 28 total touchdowns.
  • As for the Ravens defense, veteran linebacker Ray Lewis announced news of his impending retirement this week and he will hang  up his cleats once the Playoffs are finished. There have been reports that #52 will join the ESPN crew as a member of their “Monday Night Countdown” program.
  • Back to matters on the field however and Luck faces a very tough test against Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense. The rookie is facing his first postseason test and he will need to be wary of the Ravens blitz packages along with keeping a close eye on safety Ed Reed.

When the Ravens have the ball…

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco and Ravens Passing Attack vs Colts Secondary

  • In my humble opinion, Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback. But with the Ravens defense on his side, he doesn’t  need to be. Flacco just needs to step up in the clutch and stop making mistakes in key moments of games to take the next step in his development.
  • However, getting close isn’t good good enough with a team this talented and so the Ravens will be looking to get the win in the AFC Championship Game this year. Flacco will need more help from his wide receivers this postseason with players like Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith on the outside.
  • Looking at the opposite side of the ball now and the defensive backs tasked with stopping Flacco and co. are led by cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Darius Buter. These two starters will need to be sharp and they will also have to keep an eye on running back Ray Rice who will be used as a receiver out of the backfield in the passing game.

Prediction

Ed Reed and Ray Lewis

The Colts have overcome tremendous adversity this season due to the illness of head coach Chuck Pagano and they deserve great respect for getting to this stage with star rookie quarterback Andrew Luck under center.

Ray Lewis announced this week that he will be retiring after the Playoffs end but the future Hall of Famer won’t want to walk away from the game just yet and I see the Ravens led by veterans Lewis and Ed Reed getting the victory and advancing to the next round.

Colts 17 Ravens 20

Gary Kubiak

So those are your previews and predictions.

For all NFL fans it is now time to get ready for postseason football as the Playoffs are back.

Follow @PodgeOH

AFC Playoff Picture- Final Standings

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Peyton Manning

The Regular Season finished last night and the Playoff picture is now complete.

Some of the standout teams missing out on the Postseason from the AFC this year are the 8-8 Pittsburgh Steelers and the perennial underachieving San Diego Chargers.

Looking on the other side at some of the top teams now and Peyton Manning led his Denver Broncos to the top seed with Tom Brady the New England Patriots getting the number 2 seed.

The Playoffs kick off on Saturday night with the first of the two wildcard games.

So here are the final standings from the AFC.

East

1. Patriots 12-4

2. Dolphins 7-9

3. Jets 6-10

4. Bills 6-10

North

1. Ravens 10-6

2. Bengals 10-6

3. Steelers 8-8

4. Browns 5-11

South

1. Texans 12-4

2. Colts 11-5

3. Titans 6-10

4. Jaguars 2-14

West

1. Broncos 13-3

2. Chargers 7-9

3. Raiders 4-12

4. Chiefs 2-14

Playoff Seeds

1. Denver Broncos First-Round Bye

2. New England Patriots First-Round Bye

3. Houston Texans Division Winner

4. Baltimore Ravens Division Winner

5. Indianapolis Colts Wildcard

6. Cincinnati Bengals Wildcard

The first two seeds get a first-round bye, and the wildcard games see the number 3 seed vs  the number 6 seed and the number 4 vs the number 5 seed.

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

Andre Johnson

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed

A full preview of both these games will be posted later this week.

For all your playoff updates, follow me on twitter.

Follow @PodgeOH

Written by podgeoh92

December 31, 2012 at 10:49 am

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