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Keys to Victory: What we're watching against the Ravens

  1. The Browns hope to earn their first win of the season in their last game at home. And after a stomach-turning overtime loss to the Packers last week, they want to put on a better showing at FirstEnergy Stadium in front of a fan base that has stuck with them through a trying two seasons. "It's our last home game of the season. We're in front of the home crowd. They have supported us the last couple of years even though we haven't been great. That is a credit to them," offensive lineman Joel Bitonio said Monday. "We're going to do everything we can to get this win if it's a home game or a road game, but especially for our fans and for the people of Cleveland."

After a 1-15 campaign in 2016, the Browns hope to salvage an 0-13 start and use it as a launching pad for next season. "I've talked about it. I don't know if that's the rallying point more so than for the men in this locker room. Playing at home in front of our fans and the Dawg Pound and friends, and I think we get it this is our last opportunity at home to come away with a victory," head coach Hue Jackson said. "That's hard to say, but that's where we are. It's not where we want to be. To a man in there, we don't like the situation we're in, but it's the hand we're dealt so we just have to go find a way this weekend to play our tails off as well as we have played all year."

  1. The rollercoaster that has been quarterback DeShone Kizer's rookie season was on display last week against the Packers. In what was perhaps his best performance of the year, an interception in overtime — one that ultimately set up Green Bay's game-winning touchdown — spoiled an otherwise promising showing. In some ways, it was a microcosm of a season of highs and lows for Kizer, who has made strides but struggled to consistently demonstrate that improvement. Both he and Jackson believe he'll grow from the whole experience.

"That's just the way it's been. He'll be better for it in the future. There is no question he will be better for it. I think we all will. This has been tough for all involved, but at the same time, boy what an experience. What an opportunity in real time to figure it out," Jackson said.

"Like I said before, the guy is talented. I truly believe that he is going to be a good player. As you keep going through it, but it is tough. It's tough going through it. There are some things that you continue to even scratch your head about, but I think he is working through it. He gets it. He is accountable to it. He knows there are some things he has to fix and he is trying."

  1. The Browns could be down two starters in their secondary as Jamar Taylor (foot) was questionable and Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) doubtful in Friday's final injury report. Injuries have hampered Cleveland's young secondary throughout this season, especially at cornerback.

"One of the hardest things to do is that right there because that is the biggest space player on the team," defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. "The corner has to handle more space and time than anybody in the National Football League on defense. That's a tough thing to do. We have to kind of do some creative things to help some of those guys when they get a chance to play, yes."

  1. After a slow start, the Ravens find themselves in the playoff hunt and need a win over Cleveland to keep those chances alive. "They are a very good football team. Obviously, they didn't have the start they wanted to the year, but they have been playing some really good football lately," Jackson said. "(Ravens QB) Joe (Flacco) is back. The first time we played them, he hadn't practiced much and hadn't done much. They are playing much better on offense. Obviously, they have always been really good on defense. They are a good football team."

While Baltimore's defense has been generally dominant this season, its offense has come to life in recent weeks, averaging 41 points over the past two games. The Ravens have won six of their past seven games against the Browns.

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