Obviously, Ravens fans will be looking on Sunday to see what adjustments John Harbaugh and his coaching staff made during the two-week bye break to rebound from the team’s ugly performance against the Houston Texans. That makes an otherwise pedestrian matchup against the Cleveland Browns a lot more interesting and significant.
The Ravens don’t generally lose to the Browns and they probably won’t Sunday, but Joe Flacco will be facing a Cleveland defense that shut down a pretty good San Diego Chargers offense this past weekend. It’ll be a good test for a Ravens offense that needs to be more balanced and consistent.
It’s a huge game for the Ravens for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they need to win this week in Ohio and at home against the Raiders next week to go into a very difficult three-game stretch against the Steelers (twice) and the Chargers (on the road) with some cushion in the AFC North standings.
That’s why Ravens fans know that they have more than one team to root heavily for in Week 9. The Steelers have inched back to within a game of the Ravens in the standings and looked very good against the Redskins on Sunday, but they have to go to MetLife Stadium this week to play the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants.
If the Giants win – and they are a three-point favorite at the moment – and the Ravens take care of business against the Browns and Raiders, the Ravens would likely take a two-game lead into Pittsburgh, which would be a pretty nice position to be in with that West Coast road trip wedged in between the two showdowns with their biggest rival.