The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns are the only two teams in the AFC North that managed to win at least one game in the first three weeks of the season and will face off on Sunday to decide which team deserves first place a quarter of the way into the season. The Browns will try to bounce back from a tough loss and notch their first road win of 2019 when they visit the Ravens.
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Cleveland came into the season with plenty of hype after importing Odell Beckham Jr. to pair with Jarvis Landry and quarterback Baker Mayfield, but the team knew that the AFC North would not be easy. "It being the first divisional game, I think, is the most important aspect of this, looking at it where we can stand in our division," Mayfield told reporters. "We separate the season into four quarters and so this last game in this first quarter of the season is a very important one going up against the Ravens." Baltimore is the defending AFC North champion and made its own improvements at skill positions by bringing in veteran running back Mark Ingram II but flew under the radar a bit before opening the season strong. "You can have as many players as you want to on paper, but if guys don't mesh and don't communicate well and play well together, it really doesn't mean anything," Ingram told reporters in reference to the Browns. "We're going to have to play them twice. That's why you line up and play football - to settle the score."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -6.5. O/U: 45
ABOUT THE BROWNS (1-2): Cleveland's much-hyped offense is having trouble scoring points with an average of 16.3 over the first three contests and missed an opportunity to improve to 2-1 when it struggled in the red zone last week against the Los Angeles Rams. "We expected to have success early on. We did not expect it to be easy," Mayfield told reporters. "I think that is the frustrating part is we wanted it to be easy but now we really know. It is not. People are going to game plan; they are going to have a certain strategy for us, and we need to be able adapt. Talent is not going to take us there, and we just have to do our job." Mayfield is completing 56.9 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and five interceptions and is 32nd in the league with a passer rating of 70.3.
ABOUT THE RAVENS (2-1): Baltimore is averaging 36.7 points and leads the NFL with an average of 216.7 rushing yards, with Ingram (257 yards, five touchdowns) leading the way. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is up to 172 rushing yards but is also fifth in the NFL with a passer rating of 113.9 and owns seven TD passes and no INTs. "I hate running," Jackson told reporters. "Only if I have to, but my job is to get the ball to the receivers, the tight ends, running backs. If I have to run, I'll do it, but I'd rather just sit back and pass it. I like throwing touchdowns instead of running them."
1. Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (knee) is not expected to play while CB Marlon Humphrey (hip) was added to the injury report this week and is questionable.
2. Browns CBs Denzel Ward (hamstring) and Greedy Williams (hamstring) and S Morgan Burnett (quad) are questionable.
3. Baltimore took six of the last seven meetings, including a 26-24 home victory in 2018.
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Key Players to Watch
- SuspensionElig Week 5 | out
Hurst will have to wait until Week 5 against the Chargers to make his team debut as he will have to serve a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
- KneeQues Week 1 | questionable
Breeland is on the mend from a torn ACL and meniscus in his knee, leaving his status for Week 1 versus the Browns in question.