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Browns Would Love to Play Spoiler

Browns celebrate vs. Ravens.
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OFFENSE

More back shoulders in the red zone

I know Michael Crabtree dropped the one last week but it was a good idea and a really good throw. The Ravens lack separators and vivid pass designs most of the time which creates limitations. Crabtree has a history of effectiveness in the back shoulder game and I feel like Chris Moore has some untapped potential in that area as well. Lamar strength as a college passer was never outside the numbers but that throw last week showed some promise that the Ravens should continue to explore

Screen Game

How do you think the man that implored his team to “Put their testicles in the C-Gap” is going to attack on Sunday? True to Greg Williams’ aggressive rep, the Browns are top 6 in the NFL in blitz percentage and over this three-game winning streak they’ve held opposing run games to 76 yards per game on 3.3 yards per carry. The Ravens will need to draw up well placed screens as well as leverage the Browns aggressive nature with their pistol run game with run fakes to suck the defense in so that they can hit tight ends and backs in the flat for run after catch opportunities.

Hurst & Andrews unity

I give the Ravens a lot of grief about their pass concepts but boy was that TD pass to Mark Andrews last week a nice design … a design and concept the Ravens should build off. Whether he and Hayden Hurst start off beside each other or they end that way after motion, these two young tight ends can really run and put stress on a defense … especially in formations where a run is expected.

Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens

DEFENSE

Smoke and Mirrors

Freddie Kitchens is cooking up some stuff in Cleveland. Tons of formations, misdirection, reverses … you name it, Freddie’s doing it. He’ll rock you to sleep with it all and then take deep shots off of it. Cleveland is a top 3 team in pass attempts 20+ yards downfield. Between all that and Baker Mayfield’s improv ability, Gap discipline will need to be at a premium. This also might be a game where Wink should lean more to 4-man pressures over 5.

Another thing to consider. Nothing would put the cherry on top of a resurgent Browns season better than sweeping the Ravens and keeping them out of the playoffs. Coaches need to be high alert for all fakes, going for it on 4th down, etc.

Landry in the red zone

Jarvis Landry has 17 red zone targets this season, the next closest receiver is Antonio Callaway at 7. In recent weeks, he’s scored on a handoff and although outside of the red zone, he completed a 60+ yard pass last week. Nothing can be ruled out with him from a usage standpoint and the Ravens need to be playing close attention when he goes in motion, especially in close.

I know I said blitz but …

“Peanut” Onwuasor had the best game of his young career and it reminded me of the trait that stood out to me when I watched his college tape…closing speed. Since the Ravens refuse to use Tim Williams *rolls eyes* (rumor has it he lost a lot of weight while he was injured) they could get some of the burst they’re missing out of peanut. I wouldn’t regulate it strictly to the A-Gap either, not saying he all of a sudden has to play 70 percent of the snaps but put that burst to use while he’s out there.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Tony Jefferson vs David Njoku

David Njoku may not be having the complete breakout many expected but he’s still plenty dangerous. Tony Jefferson played well last week versus advanced aged Antonio Gates but Njoku offers a completely different challenge athletically. With the Ravens strength at corner and ability to stop the run, this matchup may wind up being the Browns best way to sustain drives making it a vital one for Baltimore to at least tie.

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