Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston picks three key matchups in the Ravens' game against the Cleveland Browns.
Browns LBs Karlos Dansby and Christian Kirksey vs. Ravens Gs Kelechi Osemele and Marsha Yanda: The Browns have the worst defense in the NFL, including the No. 31 run defense, which allows 141.5 yards a game. The Ravens will be without star receiver Steve Smith Sr., so they are going to pound away at Dansby and Kirksey with the running game. Dansby leads the Browns in tackles with 31 while Kirksey has 17. Yanda is having another strong strong season. Osemele isn't as consistent as Yanda, but he is still one of the better guards in the NFL. Edge: Ravens.
Browns C Alex Mack vs. Ravens DT Brandon Williams: Mack is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a versatile performer who moves well but also plays with power. He might be the best center Williams plays against all season. Williams is having a great year and is slowly becoming the face of the defense. He is third on the team in tackles with 21, which is impressive for a nose tackle. The third year player will be ready to go against Mack, and this might be the game's best matchup. Edge: Even.
Browns WR Travis Benjamin vs. Ravens CBs Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith: Benjamin isn't a starter but he'll get on the field a lot either as a receiver or return specialist. He isn't very big, but this kid can flat-out fly. He is tied for the team lead in receptions with 16 for 328 yards and four touchdowns. Benjamin is also averaging 17.8 yards on 12 punt returns this season. Webb and Smith need to be careful. The Browns have a number of small receivers, but Benjamin can break a long one from anywhere on the field. Edge: Ravens.