TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 9: Baltimore Ravens At Cleveland Browns

Baltimore
Cleveland
Baltimore Ravens v Houston Texans
San Diego Chargers v Cleveland Browns
Quarterbacks
Winner Joe Flacco is on the cusp of ranking with the best quarterbacks in the game. He has shown he can make every throw required to be a great signal-caller and he also has the requisite athletic ability to get away from pressure. However, Flacco must prove his consistency. He can usually rise to the occasion against top-level opponents, but he may not always be inspired against beatable foes.
The Browns know that Brandon Weeden is a work in progress. He is going to have a few excellent moments, but he will struggle most of the time. That’s what happened in Week Eight against the Chargers, but he did not throw an interception while completing 11-of-27 passes for 129 yards. Weeden learns something knew each game.
Offense
Winner The Ravens have the ability to dominate any game with an explosive offense. Ray Rice is probably the best all-around back in the game because he excels as a runner and a receiver and he can also hold his own as a blocker. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin can make the tough catches to keep drives alive while Torrey Smith is a pretty good deep weapon.
The Browns are best when they feature rookie running back Trent Richardson. He was the dominant player in the Week Eight win over the Chargers because he ran for 122 yards and scored the lone touchdown on a sharp 26-yard TD run. Wide receiver Josh Gordon is rapidly becoming the Browns’ most dangerous wide receiver. Ben Watson can still be a decent contributor from the tight end position.
Defense
Winner The Ravens are going to try to compete without linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb for the rest of the season. It won’t be easy, even though pass rushing specialist Terrell Suggs has returned to the lineup. The Ravens have struggled on the defensive end much of the season and it doesn’t figure to get much better any time soon.
Winner The Browns have been playing much-improved pass defense over the last two weeks. They have allowed 340 passing yards the last two games and this team uses tight coverage to shut down opposing receivers. Middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has become one of the most underrated players in the league. He had a massive 14 tackles against the Chargers.
Special Teams
The Ravens are much happier with their field goal kicking than they have been in the past. Justin Tucker has made 14-of-15 field goal attempts this season, including 4-of-4 from 50 yards and beyond. Sam Koch is averaging 47.2 yards per punt.
Winner The Browns are always confident that they can win the game if it comes down to a Phil Dawson field goal because he has a big leg and projects confidence. Return man Josh Cribbs has the kind of speed to exploit ordinary special teams play.

The Winner Is

Baltimore Ravens v Houston Texans
Winner Baltimore
3 out of 4

The Browns should feel pretty good about themselves because they are playing hard and starting to pick up victories. While they don’t compare to the Ravens in offensive talent, the Browns don’t give in or give up. They are a solid team on defense and confidence should be high after beating San Diego. The Ravens need a solid effort to show they can play without their injured defensive stars.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammate quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to throw a pass during the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

    The Ravens and Patriots meet again in Gillette in what should be another great game.

  2. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21in the first half of the game agains the Minnesota Vikings on December 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

    The NFC East rivals meet again in the Meadowlands as the Cowboys look to avenge their only loss of the year.

  3. SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes during warmups before a game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on December 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is pressured by Christian Covington #95 of the Houston Texans during the first half of a game at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

    The Seahawks travel to Lambeau for a match-up with the resurgent Pack.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

New Podcast Network
Learn How
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live