The Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season after disappointing losses in Week 1. The Ravens kicked off the season losing to the Denver Broncos, 49-27. The Browns couldn't get anything going against the Miami Dolphins, dropping their opener, 23-10.
Meet the Baltimore Ravens
It's safe to say that Baltimore's title defense could have gotten off to a better start. Giving up seven touchdowns is never a good look, but the offense struggled to move the ball and is dealing with yet more injuries. Jacoby Jones is out 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL, leaving the starting job down to Marlon Brown alongside Torrey Smith. In addition, tight ends Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson had poor performances on Thursday. Joe Flacco really misses Dennis Pitta.
Meet the Cleveland Browns
So much for that preseason hype. After making headlines in August, Brandon Weeden turned back into a pumpkin on Sunday, throwing three interceptions in a 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Inexplicably, Weeden had 53 pass attempts while Trent Richardson had only 13 carries despite the game being close until the fourth quarter. It's unknown why they went away from their best offensive player, but the Browns need to show a more balanced attack if they want to upset Baltimore on the road.
Local Takes: Baltimore Ravens
Victor Hensley of Baltimore Beatdown was disappointed by the poor performance of the tight ends on Thursday:
Dallas Clark: The performance of newly acquired tight end Dallas Clark may have been the worst performance of the entire night. Clark dropped a few balls, including one that could have been an easy touchdown. Most of the passes thrown to Clark were perfectly thrown by Joe Flacco, but in the end, Dallas would drop a few of them. He did finish the day with seven receptions for 87 yards, but it wasn't pretty, and those stats could have been a lot higher if he did what he was supposed to do.
Ed Dickson: TE Ed Dickson had a horrible game, as well. He dropped at least four passes, which isn't good at all. Dickson had one reception for thirteen yards on the night, but if he would have been paying attention and working hard, he would have had at least five receptions. The fact that the fill-in for Dennis Pitta is playing this bad, shows that something needs to be done. Most Ravens fans believed that he could return to his dominant 2011 form, but instead, he showed us on Thursday that he may just be the average Ed Dickson that we saw last season.
Local Takes: Cleveland Browns
Zach J. Miller of Dawgs By Nature was just as confused by the playcalling as most Browns fans were:
I mentioned this on the radio show last night, but the play calling for Cleveland perplexed me. The first drive of the game showed great balance and rhythm (until the INT). Toward the end of the game, however, it was all passing, and Trent Richardson barely touched the ball. Chris mentioned this in his snap-counts piece, but we heard all offseason about a healthy Trent Richardson being the team's "workhorse." As I mentioned, the Browns looked good on the first drive of the game, specifically Richardson tallying 26 yards on four carries (6.5 YPC). Richardson would finish with just 13 carries for 47 yards (3.6 YPC).
Obviously no one anticipates Cleveland to throw the ball 53 times (!!) every game, so I expect the Browns to come out next week and have much better balance to the offense. Expect Richardson to get the ball early, and often, next week.
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The Ravens opened as six-point favorites and are favored as high as a touchdown, according to Oddsshark.