September 13, 2020
1:00 pm ET
M&T Bank Stadium
About the Browns
New head coach Kevin Stefanski is expected to make this Cleveland Browns team winners and do what he did as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator a season ago. Quarterback Baker Mayfield appears to be the one to benefit the most, as he is still trying to live up to his No. 1 overall pick in the draft. This offense has the potential to be explosive with playmakers Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and the newly acquired Austin Hooper. The question everyone wants to answer is whether the Browns’ offensive line will be able to protect Mayfield and allow enough time to throw the ball. Pro Football Focus recently ranked the Browns’ offensive line No. 6 overall entering the 2020 season as they have enhanced the unit with the signing of free agent RT Jack Conklin and the pick of Jedrick Wills Jr. at the draft. DE Myles Garrett is returning after being suspended indefinitely by the NFL in a role he played in an incident in which he hit another player over the head with his helmet. The NFL eventually reinstated Garrett and he will lead the defense of these talented Browns. Garrett is athletically gifted with great size and length, having recorded 10 sacks in 10 games before his suspension. He will be joined on the defensive line by Olivier Vernon, Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson, as these players accounted for 22 of the team’s 38 sacks.
About the Ravens: What can quarterback Lamar Jackson do for an encore? The 2019 NFL MVP wowed with his spectacular play last season and led an offensive attack that led the league in rushing runs. Jackson can make you pay with his legs or his arm, as opponents have to choose their poison or decide to be aggressive or passive when trying to figure out how to contain it. He had a historic season in 2019 and became the first player in history with 3,000 yards through the air and 1,500 yards on the ground in his first 2 seasons. Jackson is also the only quarterback to have at least 2,000 passing yards and 800 rushing yards in the first 11 games of a season. Pro Football Focus ranks the Ravens’ offensive line at No. 5 heading into this season as they are partly responsible for Jackson’s success. LT Ronnie Stanley has become one of the best in the NFL at his position and is adept at winning scrimmage battles in tight spaces and can be dangerous in the running game. The Ravens added more strength to their defense with the hiring of veteran DL Calais Campbell. Defense has always been the identity of the Ravens and who better to provide leadership and guidance than Campbell? The Ravens released Pro Bowl S Earl Thomas to die for conduct detrimental to the team. Chuck Clark or Anthony Levine Jr. should take their place in the starting lineup.
Players to watch
Nick Chubb (Brown): While Chubb ran for nearly 1,500 yards last season, it will be exciting to see what kind of numbers he will produce with the Browns’ improved offensive line.
Marquise Brown (Ravens): Brown’s goals should increase as he should see more individual coverage as defenses charge up to try to slow down Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ running game.
Jedrick Wills Jr. (Brown): Wills Jr. is an immediate upgrade for the Browns’ offensive line. He has a refined approach to pass protection and can be a bully in the running game.
Patrick Queen (Ravens): The Ravens have a knack for finding gems in the draft at the LB position and Queen should be the next big thing.
Expect the Browns to keep the game close until the fourth quarter. See how Jackson and the Ravens RB wear down the defense with their elite attack.
Final score: Brown 17 / Ravens 28