OWINGS MILLS - After 10 days, the Ravens finally get a chance at redemption, an opportunity to prove that they're a better team than what they looked like last week against the Denver Broncos.
Baltimore players will confidently tell you that the Ravens are still a Super Bowl-caliber team, that the only thing the Broncos game means in the long run is that Baltimore won't go 16-0.
But that said, the loss to Denver validated doubts or concerns that followed the Ravens throughout the summer, and Baltimore enters today's home opener against the Cleveland Browns with plenty to prove, both offensively and defensively.
"This is a big week for us," Ravens tight end Ed Dickson said. "It's not win-or-die or something like that, but the way we played last week, we know that's not us. A couple things went not our way, and the Broncos took advantage of that, but we came back home, got a chance to practice for almost a week and a half and practice the things we didn't do well, continue to jell, and we feel like we're firing on all cylinders."
But the Browns aren't some slouch opponent, even though they did lose their opener, 23-10, at the hands of the Miami Dolphins.
Cleveland is strong in its front seven on defense, has Joe Haden, one of the league's top young cornerbacks, and it has young, talented players like running back Trent Richardson and tight end Jordan Cameron on offense.
"I think they're very underrated," Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith said of the Browns. "They could easily be one of the better teams in the league. There's just a few things that don't go their way in games. But in terms of talent, they have it all."
But one weakness of Cleveland's, at least based on its first game, is its pass defense, and whether quarterback Joe Flacco and Baltimore's passing game can have success will be one of the more interesting subplots during today's game.
The Ravens feel like they have the talent to still be an explosive passing game even without Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, but the passing game struggled last week against Denver, and starting wide receiver Jacoby Jones won't play today because of the sprained knee he suffered versus the Broncos.
"I think after the first game you're always able to see where you are and make the corrections that you really feel like you need to make," Flacco said. "The biggest improvement is that second week. I don't think we aren't where we thought we were. We didn't make some plays, and the game got away from us, but we're the same team that we thought we were and we are. We've just got to make a couple improvements, and we'll be right where we want to be."
Running the ball will likely be a challenge for the Ravens against a Browns front seven that limited the Miami Dolphins to just 20 yards on 23 carries last week, but Baltimore's passing game does appear to have a somewhat favorable matchup.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 272 yards and a touchdown against the Browns last week.
Cleveland does have Haden, but fellow starting cornerback Buster Skrine struggled versus Miami. So did nickel back Chris Owens.
The Ravens won't have Jones, but Baltimore is confident in rookie Marlon Brown, who will likely start in place of Jones.
Brown had four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos.
But Baltimore's pass defense is a question mark heading into this game as well.
The Ravens' defense fared well against the run last week, but Denver QB Peyton Manning shredded them for 462 yards and an NFL-record-tying seven touchdown passes.
Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden isn't Manning, but he does have weapons in Cameron and wide receiver Greg Little.
Cameron, in particular, is a player the Ravens are aware of going into this game.
Baltimore had problems with Broncos tight end Julius Thomas last week, and Cameron had nine catches for 108 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins.
"They're a tough opponent," Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "But we're just ready to play another game and put the Broncos game behind us. We're eager to get out there."