BALTIMORE — Things can change pretty quickly over the course of an NFL season. Divisional opponents play each other at least twice a year. The Baltimore Ravens will face their first repeat opponent this season when they go to Cleveland to play against the Browns on Monday Night Football.
The NFL thought that these two teams would be playoff contenders, which is why they selected this match up for prime time television. The game isn’t likely to get the same ratings as some of the other Monday night games because both teams are struggling. However, it’s a chance for the Ravens to even the score after losing 33 – 30 at home to the Browns.
The Ravens plan on creating a different result this time around. The defense is playing much better, especially the secondary. The explosive plays that became a regular occurrence for opposing offenses have been reduced drastically. The defense has also found a way to create turnovers, forcing five in the last two games.
The Browns are well aware of the improvements their opponents have made. Josh McCown torched the Ravens defense for 457 yards and two touchdowns in their last game. He expects to see a better defense this time around.
“Baltimore’s defense has tightened. Sometimes things just happen in a game. We got rolling, but we have a ton of respect for this defense, especially the front,” McCown said. “It’s certainly evident on tape that they’ve tightened things up. We’ll be aware of that, and just like every approach, go in there being smart with the football, but at the same time, doing the things we need to do to move it. We definitely see that, though, on tape, for sure.”
Elvis Dumervil said the improvements have come as a result of the defense playing with more enthusiasm. He said there is a different energy level and they are flying to the ball. Dumervil saw a much better defense when he watched the Ravens film recently. He cited communication and knowing their assignments as reasons for a defensive turnaround.
Brandon Williams looked back on the first game against the Browns and recalled how the defense gave up too many big plays. The Ravens had the lead in that game, but the defense gave it up. Williams knows that this time, the defense has to finish the game.
“They gassed us a little in the run game, so definitely, we need to – first and foremost – stop the run game and make them one-dimensional. Other than that, we need to get to the quarterback a lot more. Last game, our defensive line had four sacks,” Williams said. “We know what McCown did to us the last game, so we definitely need to get to him and disrupt him. I really have faith in my defense to execute and go out there and do what they need to do and everyone do their 1/11 to come out with a victory. I feel like our defense on Monday will definitely show what we’ve become and what we can be better at.”