The Browns' all-rookie backfield remains a work in progress, but both Weeden, a 28-year-old quarterback from Oklahoma State and a former minor league baseball player, and Richardson, a former Alabama star runner, have displayed potential. Richardson has rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, memorably running over Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman and causing facial lacerations on the defensive back. Weeden had an awful NFL debut in a loss to Philadelphia, completing only 12 of 35 passes for 118 yards with four interceptions. Richardson gained 109 yards and ran for a touchdown and caught one against the Cincinnati Bengals, but was bottled up by the Bills' front seven last week. He was limited to 27 yards on a dozen carries with one touchdown run. Although both players have promise, this shapes up as another rough initiation for Weeden and Richardson into the NFL fraternity as they'll square off with middle linebacker Ray Lewis, free safety Ed Reed and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Lewis is someone that Richardson idolized growing up, but now he'll take him on in an actual NFL game. The Ravens rank 18th against the run, allowing 111.7 rushing yards per game, and rank 27th in total defense giving up 401.3 yards per contest. Reed could bait Weeden into mistakes tonight. Weeden has already thrown six interceptions with an interception percentage of 5.2 percent. For his 19-game career against various Browns quarterbacks, Reed has 10 interceptions for three touchdowns with 18 pass deflections.
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The Browns have been victimized in the past by the Pro Bowl runner, who has averaged 96.9 yards in eight career games against them. He has 775 rushing yards and three touchdowns for his career against the Browns. Last season, he rushed for a career-high 204 yards in a 24-10 win over Cleveland. That included a 67-yard run to tie a career high. Browns middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (Maryland) is healthy this season and will be pivotal to this matchup. He has 14 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Jackson is a physical player, but could have issues matching Rice's mobility in the open field.
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As the Ravens attempt to go 3-1 by extending their consecutive home game winning streak to 13 games and winning a ninth game in a row over the winless Browns, here's a checklist of things to keep an eye on. -- Aaron Wilson