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The Sum Of All Fears
The Sum Of All Fears
For Tom Clancy, it was terrorists getting their hands on a nuke and heading for Baltimore. For The Rhino, it's Baltimore getting their hands on a real NFL QB and heading for Cleveland. And this, says The Rhino, could get extremely ugly. Add in to the mix a Ravens defense that has been terrifying this year, and yet to allow a TD, and he doesn't feel all too confident in this, his preview of todays game.
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, it was terrorists getting their hands on a nuke and heading for Baltimore. For me, it's Baltimore getting their hands on a real NFL QB and heading for Cleveland. This, my friends, could get extremely ugly.
The Ravens' defense is usually intimidating, but so far this year, it's been downright terrifying. Nobody's scored a touchdown on the Ravens yet, and that may be the team's
impressive defensive stat. Baltimore not only
leads the league
in total defense and scoring defense, but also boasts the lowest average yards allowed per play and per game. They've forced nine turnovers in two games, and lead the league in turnover margin.
Offensively, the Ravens still aren't a juggernaut, but they do have a potent rushing attack and rank sixth in the AFC in rushing and fourth in scoring. They aren't setting the world on fire through the air, and actually rank lower than the Browns in passing offense.
The relative weakness of the Ravens' passing attack isn't something from which the Browns should draw a lot of comfort. First of all, I doubt the Ravens' passing game is as bad as it looks on paper. In saying this, I'll admit to a certain partiality toward Steve McNair. I love how McNair
plays the game
, and think he is a tough, smart, competitive SOB who still has some gas in his tank. He may not be lighting up the scoreboard, but he's only thrown one interception, and his leadership is a huge intangible for a Ravens offense that has lacked leadership at the QB position since, well, forever.
What's more, I'm sorry to say that our beloved Pumpkin Helmets usually bring out the best in McNair. As
points out, in his last eight starts against Cleveland, McNair has 8 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 104.3. Given the current state of the Browns' secondary, I'm afraid that Sunday will be another solid day for McNair. I think
shares my fears.
The news for Browns fans doesn't get any brighter on the special teams front. Ravens' return man B.J. Sams leads the NFL in
and is fourth in the league (second in the AFC) in
So, Browns fans, here's what we've got to look forward to this Sunday. The Browns and their anemic offense get to face the NFL's premier defensive unit, while an already high-scoring Ravens team that runs the ball as well as anybody in the league gets to strut its stuff against an injury-plagued Browns defense that has allowed 150 yards rushing in each of its first two games.
I've misjudged either the game's outcome or the Browns' effort in each of the first two weeks of the season. Not
is as downbeat as me, so here's hoping that I'm wrong again. All things considered, however, I think I'd rather take my chances with the terrorists than with the Ravens. Baltimore 30, Cleveland 3.
Sep 23, 2006 7:00 PM
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