Baltimore is still barely removed from a draining victory over New England on Sunday night. They have no time to dwell on the that though, as they host Cleveland in just two days for another prime time game. Luckily, the don’t face the stiffest of competition, as the division rival Browns come to town. Cleveland is 0-3 to start the year, and lost both contests against Baltimore last year. They have an extremely inexperienced team for the most part, with rookies and second year players playing at a lot of major positions.
Pat Shurmur’s team may be the worst in the NFL right now. With Brandon Weeden leading the offense, they have basically been inept through 3 games. They are currently 23rd in the league in passing and 26th in rushing. Trent Richardson is a talented back, but has struggled with the rest of the offense, especially with Cleveland playing behind so much. Weeden so far has thrown just 3 TDs to go along with 7 total turnovers. Not exactly sparkling numbers thus far. The receiving corps are not the most impressive either. Second year Greg Little has struggled with drops and has seen a drastic decline in his numbers with the new QB. Mohamed Massaquoi is currently their leading receiver, but still has just 9 receptions on the year. Josh Gordon probably is the most athletic of the bunch, but the rookie is far from polished, missing all of 2011.
The running game could be good, but I expect Cleveland to be playing from behind early. This will force Weeden into passing a lot, and we could see a lot of mistakes. The defense got a whole lot less intimidating with Joe Haden suspended. In week one, when Haden played, they stayed with Philly all the way to the end. Now they have given up nearly 270 passing yards a game. They haven’t exactly played the top notch QB’s of the league so far either in Mike Vick, Andy Dalton, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Joe Flacco should have no problem racking up some yards in this contest.
Baltimore really should have no problem winning this game, as long as they put their full effort into it. They are coming off a draining game and could look past Cleveland who they have owned recently. However, you have to expect the Browns to come into Baltimore and play their hardest. They know that they aren’t playoff bound, so this game means a lot to them. They want to beat their division rivals if it’s the only win they get all year. Both teams are playing on short rest, so that cannot be an excuse. The game is Thursday at 8:20 at M&T Bank.