Football has arrived in Baltimore, and football weather has arrived in Baltimore as well.
I bobbed and weaved my way through the raindrops to get into M&T Bank Stadium, but the guys down on the field won't have the benefit of an indoor press box to shield them from the elements.
It looks like the Ravens and Browns will have to battle a light rain throughout most of the afternoon.
As the players start to make their way onto the field for pregame warm-ups, here are three keys to this afternoon's game.
Get Joe back to being Joe
With a game against the Steelers and their aggressive defense coming up next week, the Ravens need Joe Flacco to hit his groove today against the lowly Browns. As we are all aware by now, Flacco is coming off the worst performance of his NFL career last week against the Bengals, and needs to bounce back today against a Cleveland defense that will be without its top player in Shaun Rogers.
Browns wide receiver/kick returner Josh Cribbs has been downgraded to questionable for this afternoon's game, but if he plays, he's really the Browns' only chance to make big plays on offense or special teams. Cribbs has burned the Ravens a couple times in the past, but he said this week that he expects Baltimore to test him in the return game, instead of kicking away from him. If the Ravens can keep Cribbs in check on special teams and in the Wildcat, they should have no problems coasting to a win.
Ray Rice needs to be a bigger part of the Ravens' offense. Plain and simple. Rice only had 16 carries last week against the Bengals, and if the Ravens are to have the type of season they expect to have, they need to get their Pro Bowl running back more involved. Today would be the perfect opportunity to establish the run and open things up for Flacco to air it out down the field.
Back in a few with today's inactives and pregame notes.