The Ravens weren't the only ones who needed a break. While I am 5-2 at guessing the outcomes of their games, my ability to nail these predictions has waned in recent weeks. Sure, these predictions are "sure to go wrong," but it would be nice if I got a couple of them right every once in a while. That being said, after a week off, I predict I will bounce back with a big week. We'll see if the same goes for the Ravens.
1. RAY RICE WILL ECLIPSE 100 RUSHING YARDS:
The (unofficial) first half of the Ravens season was a major disappointment for Ray Rice, a three-time Pro Bowl running back. Rice has been held under 50 rushing yards in five of his six games this season and his season-high was 74 yards in the Week 5 win in Miami. After a much-needed bye week, Rice and the Ravens will finally get the ground game going against a pretty good Browns defense. Rice has historically had a lot of success in Cleveland, rushing for 637 yards and three touchdowns on 120 carries, including a career-high 204 yards there two seasons ago. That success will continue Sunday, with Rice eclipsing 100 yards.
2. TANDON DOSS WILL SCORE A TOUCHDOWN:
The offense started to get in a rhythm in its Week 7 loss in Pittsburgh because it spread the Steelers out with three-receiver sets and picked up the pace with their no-huddle offense. Look for the Ravens to attack the Browns the same way. Browns cornerback Joe Haden will lock on to quarterback Joe Flacco's top target, Torrey Smith, but other wide receivers will get favorable matchups. Tandon Doss has been productive working as the slot receiver over the past four games. He has yet to get into the end zone on offense, though. That will change Sunday, with Doss catching his first touchdown pass of 2013.
3. THE RAVENS WILL SHUT DOWN JOSH GORDON:
Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been one of the NFL's most productive pass-catchers since serving his two-game suspension. Gordon, who did not play against the Ravens in Week 2, has 32 catches for 528 yards and three touchdowns. He has had at least 70 receiving yards in five of his six games. The Ravens will put the clamps on him Sunday, though. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil will pressure quarterback Jason Campbell all afternoon, giving him little time to find his top wide receiver in the Ravens secondary. But with an emphasis on shutting down Gordon, there may be opportunities for talented tight end Jordan Cameron to do some damage.
4. THERE WILL BE A TYROD TAYLOR SIGHTING:
The Ravens under coach John Harbaugh have at times tried to spark their offense by using their athletic backup quarterbacks. In his first season, they used Flacco and Troy Smith on the field together in the "Suggs" package. In recent years, we have seen them bust out Tyrod Taylor occasionally, including a play last year when Flacco threw a touchdown pass with Taylor lined up as a wide receiver. Maybe seeing the Steelers use the Wildcat successfully against them two weeks ago will inspire the Ravens to reach back into their bag of tricks. It might just be for a play or two, but utilizing Taylor's legs would catch the Browns off guard.