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Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL Week 1

Sunday
September 13, 2020
1:00 PM ET

Baltimore, Maryland
M&T Bank Stadium

About the Browns

Newly hired head coach Kevin Stefanski is expected to turn this Cleveland Browns team into winners and do what he did as the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings a season ago. QB Baker Mayfield appears to benefit the most, as he is still trying to live up to his #1 overall selection in the draft. This offense has the potential to be explosive with playmakers Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and newly acquired Austin Hooper. The question everyone wants to answer is will the Browns offensive line be able to protect Mayfield and give ample time to throw the ball? Pro Football Focus recently ranked the Browns offensive line at #6 overall entering the 2020 season as they have upgraded the unit with the signing of free-agent RT Jack Conklin and the selection of Jedrick Wills Jr. in the draft. DE Myles Garrett returns after being suspended indefinitely by the NFL in a role he played in an incident where he struck another player in the head with his helmet. The NFL eventually reinstated Garrett and will be the leader on this talented Browns' defense. Garrett is athletically gifted with great size and length as he recorded 10 sacks in 10 games before his suspension. He will be joined on the defensive line by Olivier Vernon, Larry Ogunjobi, and Sheldon Richardson as these players accounted for 22 of the team’s 38 sacks.
About the Ravens: What can QB Lamar Jackson do for an encore? The 2019 NFL MVP wowed with his spectacular play last season and led an offensive attack that led the league in rushing. Jackson can make you pay with his legs or his arm as opponents have to pick their poison or either decide to be aggressive or passive when trying to figure out how to contain him. He had a historic season in 2019 and became the 1st player in history with 3,000 yards passing and 1,500 yards rushing in his first 2 seasons. Jackson is also the only QB to have at least 2,000 passing yards and 800 yards rushing through a season’s first 11 games. Pro Football Focus ranks the Ravens offensive line at #5 going into this season as they are partly responsible for Jackson’s success. LT Ronnie Stanley has emerged as one of the NFL’s best at his position and is adept at winning battles at the line of scrimmage in confined spaces and can be dangerous in the running game. The Ravens added more punch to their defense with the signing of veteran DL Calais Campbell. The defense has always been the Ravens' identity and who better to provide leadership and guidance than Campbell? The Ravens released Pro Bowl S Earl Thomas die to conduct detrimental to the team. Either Chuck Clark or Anthony Levine Jr. should take his spot in the starting lineup.

Players to Watch

Nick Chubb (Browns): While Chubb rushed for almost 1,500 yards last season, it will be exciting to see what kind of numbers he will produce with the Browns improved offensive line.

Marquise Brown (Ravens): Brown’s targets should increase as he should see more single coverage as defenses load up to try and slow down Lamar Jackson and the Ravens rushing attack.

Impact Rookies

Jedrick Wills Jr. (Browns): Wills Jr. is an immediate upgrade for to the Browns offensive line. He has a polished approach in pass protection and can be a bully in the run game.

Patrick Queen (Ravens): The Ravens have a knack for finding gems in the draft at the LB position and Queen should be the next great discovery.

Prediction

Expect the Browns to keep the game close until the 4th quarter. Watch Jackson and the Ravens RB’s wear down the defense with their elite rushing attack.

Final Score: Browns 17 / Ravens 28

Daniel I. Outerbridge

Daniel I. Outerbridge

A contributing writer with aspirations and ambitions to become a sports journalist.

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