With a win today, the Ravens will go undefeated at home for the first time in franchise history. Pretty darn impressive, if you ask me.
Now, if they could just bottle up that home intensity and bring it with them on the road ...
The Ravens host the Browns today at M&T Bank Stadium, looking for their eighth straight win over their division rivals.
Here are three keys to today’s game:
1. Get Webby back in the mix
A week ago, the Ravens’ defense put up one of their worst performances in some time. Step one in turning things back around will be to get cornerback Lardarius Webb back in the starting lineup and playing at a high level. Webb was limited last week due to a toe injury, and was relegated to serving as the nickel back in San Diego while rookie Jimmy Smith got the start. By far the Ravens’ top cover corner this year, Webb wasn’t listed on the injury report at all this week, indicating he’s near full health. Getting him back playing significant minutes will be a major plus for this defense.
2. Let the complementary wideouts get involved
We know that Anquan Boldin will miss the rest of the regular season because of knee surgery. Now, let’s see how the rest of the Ravens’ wide receiving corps will respond. Torrey Smith has had a nice rookie campaign, but we’ll have to see if he can continue to turn in consistent efforts week after week. Lee Evans has made just four catches all year after missing much of the season with an ankle injury. LaQuan Williams, Tandon Doss and David Reed have had minimal chances on the offensive side of the ball. Yes, the Ravens will utilize more two-tight end sets to balance Boldin’s absence these next two weeks, but it would be nice to see the healthy wide receivers pick up their game with their veteran leader on the sideline.
3. Don’t let Wallace beat you with his feet
Colt McCoy is still recovering from a concussion suffered two weeks ago, so the Browns will turn to backup quarterback Seneca Wallace this afternoon. Wallace isn’t mobile in the sense that Michael Vick is mobile - the Browns’ QB won’t rack up tons of rushing yardage or force defenses to have a linebacker spy him every play - but he is quick and can extend plays by getting away from would-be tacklers. Given how many big plays the Ravens gave up down the field last week, they’ll want to make sure they wrap up Wallace when they get their hands on him and not allow him to keep the play alive long enough to take deep shots in the passing game.