xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Preston’s preview: Key matchup, what’s at stake in Sunday’s Ravens-Browns game in Week 16

Key matchup

Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. versus Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey: It will be interesting to see if these two get into another fight. Humphrey, who made the Pro Bowl for the first time, held Beckham to two catches for 20 yards when the teams met in a the Browns’ 40-25 victory in Week 4. Humphrey shadowed Beckham all over the field, including in the slot. Humphrey was aggressive, played press coverage and kept his hands on Beckham. When played that tightly and not having success, Beckham has a habit of getting into arguments or fights with defensive players. Beckham has 67 catches for 910 yards but only has two touchdowns. Humphrey leads the Ravens in tackles with 58. He has knocked down 13 passes and intercepted two. He is the Ravens’ top defender, the cornerback they use to take out the other team’s top receiver. Ding, Ding. Round 2 is about to begin.

What’s at stake

The Ravens want to secure home-field advantage and they don’t want to depend on any other teams. So, if they beat Cleveland, the Ravens are the No. 1 seed. They don’t want to have to play in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the Patriots. For years, the Patriots have been accused of cheating. Regardless if it is true or not, the perception makes opposing teams nervous. The Ravens are also riding a 10-game winning streak and want to avenge an earlier loss to the Browns, their last setback before going on their roll. The Browns have lost two of their past three games, including a 38-24 setback to the Arizona Cardinals, who had previously won only three games.

Advertisement

Under the radar

It’s difficult to understand the mindset of the Browns. They are expected to play the Ravens tough, but for how long, especially if they get behind early? There have been rumors about first-year coach Freddie Kitchens being fired at the end of the season, even though there hasn’t been any word from top team officials. When a coach’s job is on the line, his players sometimes play hard because they like him and want to keep him around, or they simply go through the motions because they know he is going to be fired. The Browns’ chemistry has been poor lately, with both starting receivers, Beckham and Jarvis Landry, demanding more opportunities in the passing game. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has struggled with accuracy and Kitchens has received a lot of criticism for the offensive play calling. The Browns are a mess.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement