The 7-5 Baltimore Ravens come into this game off a win against the woeful Dallas Cowboys last week. The much needed win over the Cowboys halted a Ravens skid in which they had lost four of their prior five games. The Ravens are currently in eighth place in the seven team AFC playoff picture, sitting half a game behind the Miami Dolphins. With just three games left in the season after tonight’s game, the Ravens can ill afford to lose this game to the Browns. The last time these two teams met it was opening day of the 2020 season and the Ravens crushed the Browns, 38 - 6. The Ravens hope for more of the same tonight.
The Cleveland Browns come into this game off a 41 - 35 shootout win over the Tennessee Titans. The Browns are a wildly inconsistent team on offense. They’ve scored 32 or more points in six of their games, and 10 or less points in four of their games. It’s feast or famine with this offense, predicated largely on how effective their running game is in any given contest. The Browns, like the Ravens, rely heavily on a strong running game. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is rarely up for carrying the team in the absence of a strong running game, so if you shut down the run against the Browns, you probably will win the game. The same largely holds true for the Ravens. This sets up an interesting contest in which two of the best running teams in the NFL face off against two middling run defenses. Whichever run defense does better shutting down the run likely takes this game.
Following last night’s loss by the Pittsburgh Steelers the Browns are just a game back in the loss column in the AFC North, with a game against the faltering Steelers to close the season. The Browns unexpectedly have a chance at a division crown, making tonight’s game against the Ravens a must win.
Late season football with plenty on the line for both teams; this is what prime time football was meant to be. It’s the Ravens and the Browns in an AFC North grudge match on Monday Night Football.