Browns (2-2) at Ravens (1-3)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
RB Jamal Lewis: Lost in the flurry of flags last week was the fact that Lewis had his best game of the season -- 19 carries, 95 yards and a TD catch. His day would have been better of the Ravens hadn't fallen hopelessly behind for the third time in four games, forcing them to abandon the run. This should be the week that Lewis finally cracks the century mark -- about time. The Browns gave up 176 yards on the ground to the Bears last week, 137 to Thomas Jones, and rank 30th against the run. Lewis seems to take particular pleasure from punishing the orange and brown -- the three best single-game performances of his career have come against Cleveland, including that 295-yard bonanza in 2003. As a result, I'm softening my stance on Lewis this week -- he's a must-play. Rating: 4 out of 5.
RB Chester Taylor: The Ravens continue to find a way to get the ball in Taylor's hands, and he continues to produce. He totaled 70 yards on 13 touches against the Lions last week and looks to be a more explosive runner than Lewis at this point. He should be owned in all leagues and won't hurt you as an RB3. Rating: 2 out of 5.
QB Anthony Wright: The Ravens want Wright to manage the game; last week he made a mess of it. Wright threw two first-half interceptions on ill-advised passes before settling down for an average outing (230 yards, 2 TDs). Cleveland's pass defense, which includes former Ravens corner Gary Baxter, is nothing special, but Wright doesn't throw often enough or with enough efficiency to warrant fantasy consideration. Rating: 1 out of 5.
WR Derrick Mason: Even when things are horribly wrong on offense, you can set your watch to this guy. Mason ranks 11th in the NFL with 27 catches and is on pace to shatter the franchise record of 76 receptions in a season. Ravens fans should enjoy watching Mason work over Baxter for his requisite 6-8 catches. A touchdown would be a nice touch. Rating: 3 out of 5.
TE Todd Heap: Heap has all the talent in the world, but that doesn't matter a lick if the Ravens can't get him the ball. He had two catches for 54 yards and his first TD of the season last week, but both grabs came in the fourth quarter, when the Lions had a win well in hand. Heap had a career-high nine catches against the Browns last season but hasn't scored in his past five meetings with Cleveland. Rating: 2 out of 5.
PK Matt Stover: Stover has 27 field goals in 12 career matchups with the Browns. The way this matchup shapes up, he's bound to get two or three chances to add to that total. Rating: 3 out of 5.
Ravens defense: The Ravens were well on their way to a trademark performance vs. the Lions, but something happened on the way to decorum. First they lost linebacker Terrell Suggs. Then they lost their heads. Then they lost the game. Embarrassing.
Put all that mess aside and their were some encouraging signs -- interceptions by Suggs and Chris McAlister, whose extracurricular spike in the face of Kevin Johnson drew a flag for taunting; five straight stops at the goalline (Brian Billick says six) when the outcome was still in doubt. So if the Ravens can avoid another blowup, they can handle the Browns.
Running back Reuben Droughns has been solid for Cleveland, but he has yet to top 80 yards in a game this season, and the Browns rank 29th in rushing offense. They don't figure to improve that number against the Ravens. Cleveland will be forced attack with the pass, which means QB Trent Dilfer will get plenty of chances to show up his former team. But it's hard to imagine Dilfer throwing for more than 200 yards and a score against a defense that's surrendering 167.0 yards per game through the air. WR Antonio Bryant is fast becoming Dilfer's favorite target and had two TDs last week, but of the four passing TDs Baltimore has given up, just one has been to a receiver. The other three have gone to TEs of FBs, making TE Steve Heiden an enticing sleeper pick in Week 6. Rating: 4 out of 5.
Browns: OUT: WR Braylon Edwards (arm); RB Lee Suggs (thumb). Ravens: OUT: QB Kyle Boller (toe); DE Anthony Weaver (toe). QUESTIONABLE: RB Alan Ricard (calf). PROBABLE: TE Todd Heap (knee); CB Samari Rolle (neck); DE Terrell Suggs (back); RB Chester Taylor (shoulder).