The Browns have another AFC North matchup in Week 10 as they travel to Baltimore. They face the Ravens who lead the division with a 7-2 record, while the Browns are third with a 5-3 record. They'll see the Ravens for the second time this season, after losing to Baltimore 28-3 in Week 4 in Cleveland.
So, let's take a look at three of the biggest keys for the Browns to beat the Ravens on the road in their Week 10 matchup.
Contain QB Lamar Jackson
The Browns have a tall task ahead of them to contain dual threat QB Lamar Jackson, who can make plays with his feet and run the ball, as well as connect with his pass catchers through the air. Jackson can find small spaces and make defenders miss when he runs with the ball.
Defensive line coach Ben Bloom said Jackson's threat as a runner comes in the form of either designed run plays where he has the option to keep the ball, or when he's scrambling when it's a pass play.
When the Browns first faced Jackson, he finished 15 of 19 for 186 passing yards and two touchdowns, as well as nine carries for 27 yards and two scores.
"(Jackson) only continues to gather experience and wisdom and learn how to refine his game," DE Myles Garrett said. "It's what makes him more dangerous every time you play him. He's only continuing to get better mentally because physically he can pretty much make every throw on the field, and then he's as quick and dynamic as he comes."
Through nine games this season, Jackson has completed 181 of 253 passes for 1,954 yards and nine touchdowns. He's also rushed for 440 yards on 84 carries and five touchdowns. Yet, the Browns defense also has an opportunity for takeaways against Jackson, as he has thrown three interceptions and fumbled the ball five times this season. He's also been sacked 21 times this season.
Limit the Ravens run game
While Jackson plays a significant role in their run game, the Ravens also have dynamic running backs in Gus Edwards, Keaton Mitchell and Justice Hill. Edwards leads Baltimore with 478 total rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. Yet, Mitchell demonstrated his impact in their Week 9 matchup against the Seahawks when he rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown.
HC Kevin Stefanski said that the Ravens run the ball well using different schemes, and that their running backs in Edwards, Mitchell and Hill each have different running styles.
The Ravens lead the league in total rushing yards this season with 1,443 yards, as well as a league-leading 17 rushing touchdowns. The Browns run defense has to once again be on point against the Ravens. They did so against the Cardinals in Week 9 when they held Arizona to 41 net rushing yards.
"They got a good run game," CB Denzel Ward said. "I think they got the best one in the league right now. But just dynamic from all phases, whether that's Lamar able to run it himself or their multiple running backs that they have and their front line. So, they do a good job of scheming those guys up and getting guys open running lanes and stuff like that. So, it's definitely going to be a tough challenge."
Handle a tough Ravens pass rush
They Browns have to face a stout pass rush when they face Baltimore on Sunday. The Ravens defense leads the league in several categories, including total sacks this season with 35 and points allowed per game with 13.8.
"They do a nice job running their games and stunts, leading the league in sacks and with a bunch of different guys getting sacks," Stefanski said. "So, they're getting production from different areas, getting production from the interior, from the edge. They'll blitz the safeties, they'll blitz the nickel, the linebacker. So, it's a multifaceted pressure package. So, it requires that on offense you have really good communication and then at the end of the day, all comes down to technique."
The Browns are also working through some injuries at tackle, after T Jedrick Wills Jr. was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week with a knee injury and T Dawand Jones was ruled out on Friday for Sunday's game.
Stefanski said on Friday that they have worked through a plan of how to handle their tackle situation for Week 10, practicing it throughout the week and feel confident in that plan heading into Sunday.
"Anybody that goes out there, if you had the full healthy O-line out there, it's still a challenge," OC Alex Van Pelt said of the Ravens pass rush. "That's a good defense, and the edge rushers are special. So yeah, it's always a challenge, and that's part of football. We got to find a way to make it work."