Even though Baltimore Ravens are having terrible season, they will face Cleveland Browns on Monday with a brave heart. In their last game, Browns won 33-30 in overtime. Can Ravens dominate this time? Let's find out.
Ravens started 0-3 and 1-6, and after winning two out of three games, their star quarterback suffered an injury. Joe Flacco did not miss any single game in his eight-year NFL career before he had ACL and MCL injury.
As a replacement, Matt Schaub will handle the ball for Ravens in the Monday's matchup against Cleveland Browns. This will be Schaub's first game since he played as backup player last season for the Oakland Raiders.
For Cleveland, journeyman Josh McCown will start for them, instead of Johnny Manziel who was demoted. McCown threw for a career-high 457 yards against Ravens in their previous on Oct. 11.
In his franchise record, McCown did plays by utilizing everyone at his disposal, including running backs Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell.
Browns have to spread out the Ravens and give the ball to their playmakers like Travis Benjamin. In this strategy, they will have a chance to neutralize Baltimore's aggressive defense. The secondary defense of Ravens has proved to be its weak point, which McCown will try to exploit on Monday.
For defensive game plan, Browns have to play fundamental defense to counter Ravens' offense plays, which is characterized with passing game. Cleveland should not also fall into play-action fakes and misdirection plays.
On other hand, Ravens can utilize Schaub's offensive play despite missing their big-name starters-- Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett and Steve Smith. The 12-year veteran can execute a short passing-game attack to penetrate Brown's defense.
With the Ravens unable to start anyone on the field without the seemingly increasing risk of an injured reserve designation, the Monday's game has all the definition of a toss up.
For the list of interesting things to watch, Raven's Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan vs. Browns' offense will be a good one. The duo of William and Jernigan has been a huge defensive wall for the Ravens. They did an an admirable job shutting down standout running back Todd Gurley.
It is also interesting to note the Ravens' wide receiver and offensive line, while the Browns will be looking for anyone to shine.
Wait for Browns' offense to rally behind McCow and attempt to grab another win on Monday. On other hand, Ravens have to depend on Schaub's effectiveness to be able to compete.
Both teams are heading to their final free-fall as they vie for the first pick in April's upcoming NFL Draft. The winner of this matchup might have the second overall pick in the draft.
When: Monday, 8:30 p.m. EST.
Where: First Energy Stadium; Cleveland
Live stream: http://www.nfl.com/watch-nfl-live (subscription required)