Ravens vs. Browns: 3 Key Matchups to Watch

December 28, 2018 - 6:59 am
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By Joe Schiller

As it did last year, the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff hopes come down to one final regular season game in Week 17.

With a win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the Ravens will earn a playoff berth and be crowned AFC North Champions for the first time since 2012. But the Browns got the better end of Baltimore in early October, prevailing 12-9 in a sloppy overtime game.

In the following months, both teams have found their strides under rookie quarterbacks.

This is a game the Ravens should win. They’re the better team but in this kinds of situations, just about anything can happen.

Heading into Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. matchup, here are three key matchups you should be looking for.

 

Lamar Jackson vs. Myles Garrett/Emmanuel Ogbah

By now, Lamar Jackson is no longer a secret. The rookie quarterback has helped lead the Ravens to wins in five of their last six games after taking over for an injured Joe Flacco. An offense that’s been predicated on the run that’s averaged 143 yards on the ground this season will face a susceptible defense in that category.

But given Jackson’s 6-2, 212-pound frame, every read option and run to the edge could result in a hit from two talented pass rushers in Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah. Greg Williams will be focused on stopping Jackson’s run presence any means necessary. Now more than, ever Jackson must protect himself. 


 

C.J. Mosley vs. David Njoku

While David Njoku hasn’t had the breakout season the Browns had hoped for, the second-year tight end still possess an immediate threat to the Ravens defense. Njoku tallied six catches for 69 yards on 10 targets in the first meeting between these two teams and have no doubt that Baker Mayfield will look to his tight end often knowing that Ravens’ struggles.

C.J. Mosley and the secondary haven’t fared well against tight ends and struggled when facing a top-tier talent such as Travis Kelce. Njoku isn’t at that level but he’ll pose a red zone threat the Ravens must look to eliminate.


 

Ravens’ Secondary vs. Baker Mayfield

There’s a certain hype surrounding the reemerged Browns, led by No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. The rookie has swagger and an air of confidence, having thrown 14 touchdowns to four interceptions over his last six starts. But he’s still a first-year quarterback prone to making mistakes and the NFL’s top defense can take advantage.

In a 29-13 Week 13 loss to the Houston Texans on the road, Mayfield tossed three interceptions and struggled against a formidable defensive unit. The Ravens’ secondary made a statement with two key interceptions on Philip Rivers last week and can use that momentum to silence Mayfield in the most important game of the season.