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Burning Questions

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Burning Questions: Three questions for the Browns ahead of Week 4 matchup vs. Ravens

The Browns will play their third AFC North opponent in four weeks on Sunday


News broke Friday that QB Deshaun Watson is questionable with a shoulder injury ahead of the Browns' Week 4 matchup against the Ravens. His teammates expect him to play on Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, but they are ready to take the field without him as they wish him well.

"We have to focus on us," WR Elijah Moore said. "I got to prepare the same way I always prepare, and I know everyone else will, too." 

Here are three burning questions heading into Sunday's division rival game:

Will the Browns offense repeat their Week 3 performance?

The Browns offense had their best performance of the season in Week 3 against the Titans. They scored three touchdowns, recorded 289 yards through the air and committed only one turnover. All three stats were season bests.

The offense showed they could beat opposing defenses both on the ground and through the air. RB Jerome Ford had a rushing and receiving touchdown. Moore and WR Donovan Peoples-Jones had their best games this season, receiving for 49 yards each.

WR Amari Cooper continued his stellar play, catching seven passes for 116 yards and scoring a touchdown. The offense has hit their stride just as they face their last division rival before the bye week.

"We just have to go out there and play our brand of football," Cooper said. "I am starting to feel like if we go do our thing, there aren't many teams that should even be on the same field as us."

Who will take care of the ball better?

Baltimore is a team that is prone to cough up the ball due to QB Lamar Jackson's play style. He has fumbled a total of 46 times in his career. He fumbled two more times in the Ravens 22-19 loss to the Colts in Week 3. 

As a team, the Ravens fumbled four times and failed to recover two times against the Colts. On the season, they have a total of four turnovers. The recent turnovers for the Ravens likely stem from injuries, resulting in inexperienced players making mistakes and Jackson holding the ball too long in the pocket.

Despite the Ravens' struggles, the Browns are statistically worse off. They have the third-highest number of turnovers this season at seven, making them one of the worst teams in the league at protecting the ball. The Vikings lead the league in turnovers with nine on the season.

The Browns only had six turnovers in their first two games of the season. They improved in Week 3, only committing one turnover, but they would like to get that number down to zero.

"It's hard to win the NFL," HC Kevin Stefanski said on Sept. 19. "You can't do some of the things we did and expect to win. The turnovers, the giveaways, four against Pittsburgh, two leading to touchdowns."

The winner of the turnover battle more than likely will win Sunday's game, as both teams can't afford to do so going against each other's top defenses.

Which defense will dominate?

Sunday's game is expected to be a low-scoring game due to both the Ravens and Browns defenses playing at a high level this season.

The Ravens defense – their calling card for years – ranks eighth in points allowed per game (18.3) as of Week 3. They also rank eighth with 277 rushing yards allowed and 11th with 691 passing yards allowed per game.

However, the Browns have performed better, ranking second in defensive grading by Pro Football Focus (87.5), third in run defense (77.5), and second in pass rush (90.1). The Browns defense has given up a combined 491 yards this season, with only 156 rushing yards and 335 passing yards. They have the second-fewest rushing yards allowed per game, only behind Philadelphia, at 52.0 per game.

LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is excited about the matchup. Still, his main objective is to show the world that the defense can perform well against any team in the league on any given day.

"We aim to be on top," Owusu-Koramoah said. "We intend to dominate as usual, and it doesn't change upon different teams. We always have the same mindset. We put in the work, and the result will speak for itself."

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