Lost in all the talk of how bad the Cincinnati Bengals looked in Week 1 was how great the Baltimore Ravens played on both sides of the ball while pitching a shutout. The Ravens will try to stay sharp and take an early lead in the division when they host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Baltimore forced five turnovers in the 20-0 win over the Bengals after loading up on talent on the defensive side of the ball in the draft and free agency. ”Overall, I was pleased,“ Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees told reporters of the effort. ”The guys followed the game plan, executed it very well. There are always things we can get better at. Overall, I was very pleased. Any time we win, we’re pleased.“ That defense is taking on a rookie quarterback in the Browns’ DeShone Kizer, who was sacked seven times while throwing for 222 yards in a 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 and is studying hard for Week 2. “Yeah, I got in (the facility) and I got a nice little start on Baltimore,” Kizer told reporters. “I spent a little bit of time game planning myself, just getting ahead of the game as much as I can to prepare for the game plan.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -8. O/U: 39
ABOUT THE BROWNS (0-1): Cleveland nearly pulled off the upset in Week 1 while displaying a stout defense that held star running back Le‘Veon Bell to 32 yards on 10 carries. “We played in our gaps,“ head coach Hue Jackson told reporters. ”We played our responsibilities. We beat them to the punch every now and then, and we tackled well. Those are the keys of playing good defensive football.” First-round pick Jabrill Peppers recorded four solo tackles in his debut and served as both kickoff and punt returner.
ABOUT THE RAVENS (1-0): Quarterback Joe Flacco missed most of the offseason and the preseason due to injury and directed a conservative attack in Week 1, completing just 9-of-17 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. “If we’re going to win a bunch of football games, we’re going to have to do it a handful of different ways throughout the course of the season,” Flacco told reporters. “But if we can win doing what we did on Sunday, then there’s no need to do anything else.” Flacco will be without a versatile weapon for a least two months after the team placed running back Danny Woodhead (hamstring) on injured reserve Thursday.
1. Browns OT Joe Thomas is four snaps away from playing 10,000 consecutive snaps.
2. Baltimore took the last three and five of the past six in the series.
3. Cleveland DE and No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett (ankle) is expected to miss a second straight game.
PREDICTION: Ravens 28, Browns 7