The last time the Browns played the Ravens, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Even though the Browns didn’t play particularly well, they were still in that game until the end, losing 14-6. Jordan Cameron was the only bright spot on offense for the Browns, and Barkevious Mingo recorded a sack on his first snap on defense. Brandon Weeden was hurt in the game, hitting his thumb on a helmet.
What followed of course is the story of the Browns’ season.
But that story had a sad ending as Hoyer went down on a first down run against the Bills. Enter Brandon Weeden and a two-game losing streak in which the defense gave up 31 points twice in a row.
Finally, last week the Browns faced off against the undefeated Chiefs. This time it was exit Brandon Weeden and enter Jason Campbell. The defense looked terrible in the first half, giving up 20 points, 16 first downs and total yards. The offense had two big plays, and that’s about it.
At halftime, Joe Haden says the team (and especially the defense) got a verbal smack down from the coaching staff. The result was a big turnaround. The Browns held Kansas City to five straight punts in the second half before surrendering a field goal after the Browns went for it in their own territory.
Such has been the up and down season for Cleveland.
Take for example the fast starts. The Browns led at the half in each of their first six games. Those fast starts disappeared over the past two games, as the Browns have been outscored by 10 and 14 points, respectively.
So which team will show up Sunday?
Will the defense generate pressure and stop the run like they did at the beginning of the season? Did the offense gain confidence in Jason Campbell’s 293 yards passing last week?
The Ravens have beaten the Browns 11 straight times. Yes, that’s nary a win in six seasons. In fact, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has never lost to the Browns. Ever. That 11-game winning streak is the longest such streak in the NFL.
There is no reason to think the Browns can’t win on Sunday. Baltimore is 3-4 on the season and currently in the midst of a two game losing streak. Ray Rice has been slowed a bit by injuries this year and only has 242 yards for the year. The Ravens’ defense is hovering in the middle of the pack in yards allowed per game, and is surrendering over 21 points per contest.
In other words, for the first time in a long time the Ravens seem beatable, but the question remains: Which Browns team will show up on Sunday?