The Ravens and Browns are headed for a heavyweight showdown featuring two of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL and the two best defensive units on the planet.
Baltimore leads the league in points allowed (13.8), the lowest number this far into a season since its 2000 Super Bowl-winning defense.
1. Ravens pass rushers vs. Browns reserve offensive tackles
The Browns will be without both of their starting offensive tackles, as Left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. joined right tackle Jack Conklin on injured reserve this week. Dawand Jones, who has been starting at right tackle since Conklin went down, has also been ruled out.
James Hudson III will likely step in at one of the tackle spots, and overall, they’ll have to deal with Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Van Noy, and Odafe Oweh, as Baltimore leads the NFL with 35 sacks, the most in the team’s history through nine games.
Roquan Smith-Patrick Queen vs. Browns rushing attack
According to NexGenStats, Since Smith was acquired in Week 9 of last season, Baltimore has allowed the fewest yards (275.7) and points (14.2) of any team in the NFL.
Smith is one of two defenders this season to total over 85 tackles and produce at least one sack and multiple passes defended.
The Browns rushed for 93 yards on the Ravens in the first matchup, but 40 of those yards came on a Pierre Strong Jr. run in the final 45 seconds of a 28-3 blowout loss.
In four games since the loss to Baltimore, the Browns have averaged 144.5 rushing yards.
Ravens defensive tackles vs. Browns interior OL
Baltimore leads the NFL with 35 sacks, and they’re led by Justin Madubuike, whose 7.5 sacks top all interior defensive linemen this season.
The Ravens defensive front rushes in waves, with thirteen players having recorded a sack this season, and they have seven straight games with multiple sacks — the NFL’s longest active streak.
With Cleveland down three offensive tackles and looking to help on the outside, the Baltimore interior could have an easy day.
Ravens Geno Stone vs. Browns QB Deshaun Watson
Stone has made million this season, going from an afterthough, to the league leader in interceptions. His six picks are not only two more than any other player in the NFL, but they’re more than what 12 teams have totaled this year.
Baltimore has converted Stone’s interceptions into 24 points.
Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson missed the Browns first meeting against the Ravens in Week 4 with his shoulder injury, and Sunday will be his first game playing at M&T Bank Stadium as a member of the Browns.
Against the Cardinals in Week 9, Watson completed 19 of 30 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Watson’s most complete game came in 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.
On Sunday, Watson’s ability to throw deep will be a huge factor on the game and he’ll have to outwit Geno Stone.
Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey vs. Amari Cooper
The Browns are 29th in the NFL in passing yardage at just 184.1 yards per gamem while the Ravens have one of the stingiest passing defenses in the NFL, ranking second, allowing just 170.7 yards a game.
Amari Cooper leads the team with 35 receptions for 617 yards (17.6 avg.) with two touchdowns, and he’s without a doubt the teams top ovearll threat on the roster.
Ravens DB Kyle Hamilton/LB Patrick Queen vs. Browns TE David Njoku
Njoku is second-leading receiver on the Browns’ roster with 32 catches for 319 yards (10.0 avg.) and two touchdowns. He’s an athletic, and physical player at the position, and could draw Kyle Hamilton or Patrick Queen depending on the coverage.