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What to Watch For, Presented by Arby's

Posted Sep 11, 2013

The Cleveland Browns will play their first regular-season road game against the reigning Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens Sunday.

For the fifth time in six years, the Cleveland Browns will get to play the reigning Super Bowl champions, and for the second time in five seasons, they will have two chances against the defending NFL titleholders.

In those games, the Browns are 3-2, including a 2-0 mark at home. This year, the Browns will be the first home opponent for the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, who opened the season at Denver because of a conflict with the schedule of the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball.

In 2012, the Browns lost both games to the Ravens by a combined 17 points. After they dropped a seven-point game in front of a national-television audience at Baltimore on Sept. 27, the Browns lost by a 10-point margin on Nov. 4.

Under coach Rob Chudzinski, the Browns are 0-1 after a 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. In their history, the Browns are 7-21-0 against the Ravens, 4-10 in home games and 3-11 at Baltimore.

As this year’s game unfolds, here are several players to keep an eye on:

Linebacker Paul Kruger. In his first game as a Brown, Kruger registered four tackles, two of which went for lost yardage, including a sack of Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill last Sunday afternoon.

Kruger came to the Browns from the Ravens, where he registered 70 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, and two interceptions, defended 14 passes, recovered three fumbles and forced another during his four years in Baltimore.

In 2012, Kruger led the Ravens with nine quarterback sacks. During Baltimore’s march to the Super Bowl XLVII championship, Kruger had 4.5 sacks in the playoffs, including two against San Francisco 49ers signal-caller Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl.

Tight end Jordan Cameron. After catching 26 passes for 259 yards and one touchdown combined during his first two NFL seasons, Cameron emerged as one of the team’s biggest receiving threats and a favorite target of quarterback Brandon Weeden last Sunday.

Cameron caught nine of the 13 passes fired in his direction and gained 108 yards -- both career highs -- with a seven-yard touchdown that gave the Browns a 7-6 lead over the Dolphins with 28 seconds remaining in the first half of the season-opener.

Cameron is looking to become the Browns’ first player with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since wide receiver Braylon Edwards achieved the feat during the 2006 season, and only the second tight end in team history to reach that mark.

Weeden. Weeden completed 26 of 53 attempts for 289 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in the regular-season opener last week.

In his career against the Ravens, Weeden has set two career highs. He threw 52 pass attempts and totaled 320 passing yards in a loss at Baltimore on Sept. 27, 2012. He later surpassed the 300-yard mark twice more during his rookie season.

Running back Trent Richardson. After rushing for 47 yards and his third career touchdown at the Ravens on Sept. 27, 2012, Richardson totaled 105 yards on 25 carries against Baltimore on Nov. 4. Richardson also matched a career high with six receptions for 31 yards against the Ravens in the November rematch.

It was in the second game against the Ravens that Richardson equaled the franchise’s rookie record with his third 100-yard rushing game of the year, a mark set by William Green during the 2002 season.

Browns offensive linemen Joe Thomas and Alex Mack. Thomas has started each of the 97 games he has played since being selected by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and is currently tied for sixth for the most consecutive starts among active NFL offensive linemen. Mack has started 65 straight games for the Browns.

Thomas and Mack were two of the four Browns, along with right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and right guard Shawn Lauvao, who have played every snap of the 2012 regular season.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. In a season-opening loss at the Broncos last Thursday, Flacco completed 34 of 62 attempts for 362 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions despite being sacked four times for 27 lost yards.

Flacco spread the ball out to eight different players in the loss.

During the 2012 regular season, Flacco completed 317 of 531 attempts for 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Although he was sacked 35 times for 227 lost yards, Flacco carried an 87.7 quarterback rating and added three rushing touchdowns on the year.

Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith. Smith caught only four passes in the loss at Denver, but gained a team-best 92 yards. Last season, he led the Ravens with eight receiving touchdowns, gained 855 yards and averaged 17.4 yards per reception.

Ravens running back Ray Rice. The dual-threat running back accounted for 71 total yards and one touchdown on 20 touches against Denver. He rushed for 36 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries and turned eight receptions into 35 yards.

The Browns conclude a two-game road swing next Sunday with a 1 p.m./ET game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Ravens remain at home for a rematch of the AFC Divisional playoff game from a year ago against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Sept. 22.

CONNECTIONS

Kruger was selected by the Ravens in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Browns running back Bobby Rainey was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent in May of 2012. He spent part of the 2012 season on the practice squad and three weeks on the active roster. This preseason, Rainey rushed for 89 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns, along with three catches for 17 yards for the Ravens.

Cleveland kicker Billy Cundiff spent parts of three seasons (2009-11) with the Ravens, where he earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro status after making 26 of 29 field goals and all 39 extra points for Baltimore in 2010.

Browns offensive tackle Oniel Cousins was a third-round pick of the Ravens in 2008 and played three seasons in Baltimore from 2008-10.

Defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen was an undrafted free-agent signee of the Ravens after the 2012 NFL Draft, and wide receiver Tori Gurley signed with the Ravens on Jan. 1, 2013 before being waived during offseason workouts.

Defensive backs Joe Haden (Fort Washington/Friendly High School) and Johnson Bademosi (Silver Springs/Gonzaga H.S.), as well as defensive lineman Phil Taylor (Clinton/Gwynn Park) are Maryland natives.

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson played football at the University of Maryland.

Browns outside linebackers coach Brian Baker is a native of Baltimore, and played college football at Maryland.

Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome was selected by the Browns with the No. 23 overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft and became a Hall of Fame inductee after playing with the team from 1978-90. Newsome still holds seven franchise records (most catches in a career, season and game, most consecutive games with a catch, yards in a career and game, and most seasons with 50 or more receptions).

Newsome got his start in the front office with the Browns’ pro personnel department from 1991-95.

Baltimore’s assistant head coach/special teams coordinator, Jerry Rosburg, coached the Browns’ special teams from 2001-06 and his special teams units ranked in the top 10 in several categories during that time.

Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks served in the same capacity with the Browns in 1999.

Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees was head coach at Kent State and guided former Brown Joshua Cribbs to 13 school records. Under Pees’ direction, Cribbs became only the second player in NCAA history to rush for and also throw for more than 1,000 yards in a single season.

Chris Hewitt, Baltimore’s assistant special teams coach, served as an intern with the Browns in 2001 through the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

Ravens fullback Kyle Juszczyk (Medina/Cloverleaf High School) and linebacker John Simon (Youngstown/Cardinal Mooney) are Ohio natives. Simon was the eighth two-time captain in Ohio State history.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (Perrysburg/Miami of Ohio), inside linebackers coach Don Martindale (Dayton/Defiance College) and Pees (Dunkirk/Bowling Green State University) are Ohio natives.

MEDIA

Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m./ET on local CBS affiliate, WOIO-TV 19. Marv Albert (play-by-play) and former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon (color analyst) will call the action.

The game is also available along the Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan, former Browns left tackle Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call.

Westwood One Sports will also carry the game, with Chuck Cooperstein and Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson in the booth.

“What to Watch For” is brought to you by Arby’s -- Try Arby’s new, bakery-quality California Turkey Croissant Sandwich today. Arby’s. Slicing Up Freshness.