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Week 2: Browns-Ravens matchup analysis

The SportsXchange

Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore - TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Marv Albert, Rich Gannon

*Keys to the game: The Ravens have had 10 days between games to address their defensive issues -- but the simple fact is Baltimore lost four key starters from last year's unit. The Ravens are relying on more youth and while the defense is faster, there are going to be significant growing pains. Cleveland could prove a good tonic, with Browns QB Brandon Weeden sacked six times in Week 1 and hit 10 more. If Baltimore can contain RB Trent Richardson it can protect a leaky secondary by applying constant heat on Weeden. The Ravens' offense is still potent, especially when QB Joe Flacco is able to get rolling in the up-tempo system. RB Ray Rice had just 12 carries in the season opener with the Ravens forced to throw while playing from behind, but should be in line for 20-plus carries in a lower-scoring game. In turn, Flacco won't approach the 62 pass attempts he had in Week 1, but he will have to rely on an inexperienced receiving corps with Browns CB Joe Haden expected to shadow deep threat Torrey Smith.

*Matchup to watch - Browns LT Joe Thomas vs. Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs: Suggs looks healthy and faster after struggling through an injury-plagued 2012 season. The Browns have offensive line issues, but Thomas remains one of the league' top blind-side protectors and these two will engage in important one-on-one matchups in passing situations.

*Player spotlight - Browns RG Oniel Cousins: The former Raven returns to Baltimore coming off a rough season opener in which he was called for four penalties.

*Fast facts: Richardson has 997 rushing yards through his first 16 career games. ... The Ravens have won all 10 games against the Browns under coach Jim Harbaugh while sporting a plus-14 turnover margin.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The Ravens believe they can fix many of their defensive flaws by simply cutting down on missed assignments. There are personnel shortcomings, as well, but Baltimore's offense can put the foot on the gas enough to steadily pull away from a Browns team lacking firepower.

*Our pick: Ravens 24-16
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