Baltimore at Cleveland 11-16-09

November 16, 2009

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The Baltimore Ravenswere feeling good about themselves after a performance that caused Cleveland to bench Brady Quinn. As it turns out, most teams have had an easy time making Browns quarterbacks look bad. Having struggled since that contest, the Ravens hope to spoil Quinn’s return as the starter Monday night in a rematch with the woeful Browns. After opening with three wins, Baltimore (4-4) hardly appears set to make a run at a second straight AFC championship game appearance. The Ravens lost three straight before defeating previously unbeaten Denver 30-7 on Nov. 1, only to lose 17-7 to Cincinnati last Sunday.

Harbaugh seemed to have his team on the right track following its third straight win, 34-3 over Cleveland on Sept. 27. It was the most dominant effort of the season for the Ravens, who intercepted Cleveland quarterbacks four times. Quinn, who began the season as the starter for the Browns (1-7), went 6 for 8 for 34 yards and an interception before being pulled at halftime in favor of Derek Anderson. Anderson went on to throw three picks and start the next five games, but he has the NFL’s lowest quarterback rating (36.2) and coach Eric Mangini has decided to go back to Quinn as his starter following the Browns’ bye week. Anderson had a 6-for-17 performance with two interceptions in a 30-6 loss to Chicago on Nov. 1. Quinn came off the bench to complete 1 of 3 passes in his first action since being benched 10 quarters into the season. Mangini said he would like to stick with Quinn for the rest of the season, and has been impressed with his work ethic since being demoted. Baltimore’s defense, however, hasn’t been as dominant this season. The Ravens hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 39 consecutive games before allowing three in their last four contests. Baltimore gave up a total of 369 yards versus the Bengals and has allowed more than 400 three times, something it hadn’t done since 2006. The Ravens have fallen two games behind AFC North leaders Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, though the playoffs are still well within their reach if they can build some momentum.

Flacco set a career high with 342 yards in this season’s first matchup with Cleveland, and topped that mark with 385 in a 33-31 loss to Minnesota on Oct. 18.

Cleveland is last in total defense, allowing 409.1 yards a contest, and has lost its leading tackler for the second time this season. Eric Barton was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an unspecified injury, leaving the Browns without their two starting inside linebackers. This game wont be close take Baltimore on the road.

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By Lawrence Tate Associate Freepick1.com Editor


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