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Burning Questions

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3 Burning Questions: Questions for the Browns ahead of Week 10 matchup vs. Ravens

QB Deshaun Watson's impact can be a difference maker in Week 10


Sunday's matchup against the Ravens will be a physical game as both teams are fighting to win the AFC North. The Ravens – who are 7-2 – currently lead the division, while the Browns are third in the division with a 5-3 record.

This will be the second matchup between the two rivals. The Ravens won the first game 28-3 in Week 4. The Browns will look to correct their mistakes in Week 10 at M&T Bank Stadium.

Here are three questions the Browns must answer to have a chance Sunday.

Will the defense stop the Ravens run or pass game?

In the first meeting at Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Browns defense failed to stop the Ravens offense. Baltimore was able to pass and run on the Browns defense, which has been rare this season. The Ravens scored two rushing and two passing touchdowns against the Browns.

In the second quarter, with 8:42 remaining, the Ravens drove 93 yards in eight plays and scored a touchdown. On that drive, the Ravens ran the ball seven times for 57 yards. The drive ended when QB Lamar Jackson rushed for a 2-yard touchdown.

On the Ravens' next possession, with 2:45 left in the second quarter, they scored a touchdown after a 10-play, 74-yard drive. They completed four passes for 85 yards and ended on a Jackson 7-yard pass to TE Mark Andrews.

The Browns defense must stop the Ravens from easily advancing down the field, something they struggled to stop in Week 4.

"We watched the games and watched that to see what we could correct and fix," CB Denzel Ward said. "There was a lot of things that we didn't execute well in that first game against the Ravens that we're looking to clean up for this next one and that could help change the game. So, we just had to be a lot cleaner. We didn't play a real clean game in that first go around, so hopefully this next time around we could get it done."

Will the Browns protect the ball?

Protecting the ball has been a theme over the course of the season for the Browns. They had their first game where they didn't commit a turnover in Week 9.

"We had a small victory party on Monday as we got the team back together, literally, we shot off confetti, blew air horns," OC Alex Van Pelt said. "Yeah, it was cool. Celebrating no turnovers."

The Browns have struggled this season to protect the ball, as they have a total 17 turnovers this season – the second worst in the NFL. When the Browns first played the Ravens in Week 4, they turned the ball over three times, leading to 14 points for Baltimore.

The first turnover came in the first quarter, completely changing the momentum. After the Browns committed an interception, the Ravens scored their first touchdown of the day after going three and out on their first two possessions.

The second turnover came in the fourth quarter and sealed the game for the Ravens. After an interception, the Ravens went on a six-play 38-yard drive that ended in a touchdown.

The Browns will look to have another clean game when they head to Baltimore and protect the ball.

"Not turn the ball over," Van Pelt said on the most important goal going into Baltimore. "That's the first and foremost."

How will Watson look going against the Ravens?

QB Deshaun Watson missed the Browns first meeting against the Ravens in Week 4 with his shoulder injury. This game will also be Watson's first game playing at M&T Bank Stadium as a member of the Browns.

Watson made his return in Week 9 against the Cardinals, where he completed 19 of 30 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.

Also, the last time Watson played a full game before Week 9 was Week 3 against the Titans, in which he completed 27 of 33 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns. In both games, he threw no interceptions and had over a 100-passer rating. The Browns also dominated in both games.

Watson also was able to connect with multiple different players and move the ball downfield, in both games which the Browns struggled to do without him.

"I mean, obviously that's a huge thing when it comes to offense, spreading the ball around, getting everybody touches, confusing a defense," WR Amari Cooper said. "Not giving them a point of reference of where the ball is going to consistently go. Just a great strategy overall for offenses, for sure."

On Sunday, Watson's ability to throw deep, run and protect the ball will play a big role in the Browns having success on the offensive side of the ball against the Ravens.

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