Scouting report for Ravens-Browns game Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium

RAVENS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Joe Flacco is off to his best statistical start ever, on pace to throw for almost 5,000 yards with a 96.9 passer rating. He completed passes to 11 different players in the team’s 26-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, led by scintillating deep threat John Brown, who’s averaging 22.5 yards a catch. Mark Andrews has graded as the best rookie tight end in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, and he could be joined this week by first-round pick Hayden Hurst, who missed the first four weeks because of a fractured foot. Sound pass blocking has been the team’s secret weapon, with left tackle Ronnie Stanley and right guard Marshal Yanda leading the way.

BROWNS PASSING GAME: In just two games, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield has invigorated the long-suffering Cleveland fan base with his confident play. The No. 1 overall pick led his team to a comeback win over the New York Jets and steered the offense to 42 points in a near-miss in overtime against the Oakland Raiders. Like most rookies, Mayfield makes ill-advised throws, including a pick-six in the loss to the Raiders. But he and slot receiver Jarvis Landry (24 catches on 47 targets for 312 yards) have brought a new swagger to the Cleveland passing offense.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS RUNNING GAME: The Ravens put the Steelers away with a long scoring drive in the fourth quarter, but they’re still averaging just 3.1 yards a carry compared with 3.9 for opponents. Alex Collins fumbled near the goal line against Pittsburgh, raising concerns that his progress on ball security last season was fleeting. The starting offensive linemen continue to grade significantly worse against the run than against the pass, according to Pro Football Focus.

BROWNS RUNNING GAME: Carlos Hyde has averaged just 3.4 yards a carry as Cleveland’s featured back, and Duke Johnson hasn’t been much more efficient. But rookie second-round pick Nick Chubb has been a revelation with 146 yards on 10 carries, including 105 on just three attempts in the loss to Oakland. The Browns’ starting offensive lineman have all graded better as pass blockers than as run blockers, according to Pro Football Focus.

EDGE: Browns

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RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: The Ravens forced the Steelers to rely almost entirely on the pass with another stout performance in the middle of the field. Middle linebacker C.J. Mosley returned after missing one game with a bone bruise and did not skip a beat. Defensive linemen Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce and Brent Urban have played well all season. The Baltimore defense has not allowed an opposing back to gain more than 84 yards over the first four weeks.

BROWNS RUSH DEFENSE: Cleveland has held opponents to a modest 4 yards a carry, led by middle linebacker Joe Schobert and defensive ends Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah. Fans might be surprised to know that Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, grades better as a run defender than as a pass rusher, according to Pro Football Focus. Despite the solid per-carry numbers, both Pittsburgh’s James Conner and Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch surpassed 100 yards against the Browns.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The secondary has thrived without cornerback Jimmy Smith, a key subplot in the team’s 3-1 start. Now Smith is back from suspension, and the Ravens have the luxury of easing him into a rotation with Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey. Safety Tony Jefferson set up a touchdown with a strip against the Steelers and has taken a clear step forward in his second season in Baltimore. No single pass rusher has overwhelmed opponents, but outside linebackers Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and Tim Williams have all produced. The Ravens have held opposing quarterbacks to a 69.1 passer rating, easily the lowest in the league.

BROWNS PASS DEFENSE: Cleveland has also played well here, led by Garrett and Genard Avery rushing from the edges and rookie cornerback Denzel Ward covering the outside. Garrett is already one of the best all-around defenders in the league. The Browns faced widespread criticism for taking Ward at No. 4 overall, ahead of pass rusher Bradley Chubb. But he’s stepped right in as a top-level cornerback, playing almost every snap on defense. The Browns have held opposing quarterbacks to a 79.5 passer rating, fifth lowest in the league.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Justin Tucker continues to be the gold standard among NFL kickers after he hit all four of his field-goal attempts in Pittsburgh. A blocked kick against the Denver Broncos remains the only blemish on his 2018 resume. Punter Sam Koch has been solid as usual, with seven kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. But the Ravens have been unusually shaky on special teams, allowing consistent pressure on Tucker and Koch and surrendering more yards per return than they’ve produced.

BROWNS SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Greg Joseph has been perfect on four field-goal attempts since he was brought in to replace Zane Gonzalez after Week 2. Veteran punter Britton Colquitt is tied for the league lead with 14 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The Browns have allowed 13.8 yards per punt return and 27.6 yards per kick return, both among the worst marks in the league. And their returners, led by Jabrill Peppers, have not broken any big gains. Football Outsiders ranks this as the worst special teams unit in the NFL through four weeks.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens achieved their most satisfying win of the young season in Pittsburgh, where they soundly outplayed their archrivals on both sides of the ball. Their resurgent offense and adaptable defense gain credibility every week, and they’re seemingly getting healthier with Hurst, Smith and defensive tackle Willie Henry set to return. Coach John Harbaugh is 18-2 all-time against the Browns.

BROWNS INTANGIBLES: It’s hard to imagine a happier 1-2-1 team than the Browns, who’ve discovered new life with Mayfield at quarterback and a young defense led by Garrett. That said, Cleveland could be 4-0 and still finds mind-bending ways to squander late-game leads. Coach Hue Jackson is 2-33-1 in his Browns tenure, which is awful no matter how you rationalize it.

EDGE: Ravens

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PREDICTION: The Browns are more talented than they have been in many years, with a home crowd sure to be over the moon when Mayfield takes the field against an AFC North rival. But the Ravens are still better in almost every phase of the game, and Harbaugh has rarely let them slip up against Cleveland. Expect the Browns to keep it competitive for three quarters before the Ravens pull away. Ravens, 27-17

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