KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
SURFACE: Momentum Sportexe
TV: CBS, Spero Dedes, Rich Gannon
SERIES: 13th meeting. The Ravens lead, 8-4. This rivalry is still intense for Browns fans, but it lost some pizzazz when Art Modell sold the franchise to Steve Bisciotti. This game has special meaning, however, because Nov. 6 will mark the 10th anniversary of Modell announcing he was moving the Browns franchise he bought in 1961 to Baltimore.
*2005 rankings: Browns: offense 16th (29th rush, 9th pass); defense 28th
(30th rush, 24th pass). Ravens: offense 25th (22nd rush, 16th pass); defense
2nd (9th rush, 4th pass)
PREDICTION: Ravens 20-10
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Browns have a dilemma defensively because much like Chicago last Sunday, the Ravens rely heavily on the run. Cleveland often sent S Chris Crocker on blitzes, but the Bears still rushed for 176 yards on 5.2 yards per carry. Baltimore will likely counter by attempting to burn the blitz with a few big pass plays, but coach Brian Billick is also very concerned about the team's minus-nine turnover margin. Browns QB Trent Dilfer starts against his old team for the first time since winning Super Bowl XXXV. He found a big-play target in WR Antonio Bryant last Sunday, but a repeat will be difficult against the Ravens' strong secondary. Dilfer has been sacked just six times this season and continued strong pass protection will be critical.
FAST FACTS: Browns: Dilfer's six touchdown passes this season equals his total from the three previous seasons. Ravens: Were 11-1 with Dilfer and are 38-33 (.535) since he left. ... RB Jamal Lewis' average of 147.6 yards in eight games against the Browns is the highest against one team in the NFL's modern era.
--RB Lee Suggs is out for Sunday's game at Baltimore after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right thumb. Coach Romeo Crennel said he is concerned because the injury is to the hand with which Suggs usually carries the ball. Suggs is expected to miss four weeks.
--WR Braylon Edwards is out for Sunday's game after having an infection surgically removed from his right elbow. Coach Romeo Crennel said there is no timetable for his return.
--DB Michael Jameson, who has returned to practice after a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, will be evaluated this week, coach Romeo Crennel said. The team will decide at the end of the week whether to keep him or release him. If he stays, a roster spot must be opened up for him.
--QB Trent Dilfer has thrown for all six of the Browns' touchdowns this season.
--K Phil Dawson is 11-for-11 in seven career games against the Ravens.
--LB Andra Davis has 61 tackles this season, putting him on pace for 244,
well above his career high of 170.
--QB Kyle Boller could start practicing again in two weeks. The earliest he could come back and start probably is Nov. 6 against Cincinnati.
--FB Alan Ricard practiced but did not participate in all drills. He is still listed as questionable.
--DE Tony Weaver will miss his second game with a toe injury. He is expected to miss another two games.
--QB Anthony Wright has thrown at least one interception in 11 of 12 games with the Ravens.
--RB Jamal Lewis has produced four of his top eight rushing performances against the Browns.
--CB Samari Rolle participated in all drills after being limited Wednesday with a neck injury. He is expected to start.
--DE Terrell Suggs participated in all drills after being limited Wednesday with a back injury. He is expected to start.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
Teams often talk about establishing an identity. The Browns seem to have found theirs.
The Browns are pests. They hang around all game long, close enough that one or two big plays in the late going are enough to steal a victory.
Since a 27-13 loss to Cincinnati in the season opener, that's been
Cleveland's formula. The Browns were hanging onto a slim 19-17 lead over
Green Bay before scoring on a 62-yard pass in the final two minutes to put
the game away. They held the mighty Colts offense to 13 points and lost by a
And last week, Cleveland hung close to Chicago and pulled out the win with two TD passes in the last 3:02. It might not have been the way coach Romeo Crennel envisioned it, but he had to admire his team's doggedness.
"They've been somewhat tough," Crennel said. "This team will hang in there. They'll keep fighting. They don't quit. That's encouraging because I know that's one of the ways you give yourself a chance in this game, by not quitting. ... Our guys hang in and keep trying to do what we want them to do for 60 minutes."
The Browns take that persistence to Baltimore on Sunday to face a team that couldn't manage to keep its cool last week. In losing to Detroit, the Ravens committed 21 penalties, one short of the NFL single-game record, and had two players ejected.
Crennel said he doesn't believe the officials will be keeping a closer eye on the Ravens because of last week's antics, and said Baltimore's problems last week could make them tougher to handle Sunday.
"Even though they had their problems last week, I've found that teams that go through problem games usually rally around each other and pull together," Crennel said. "I think that will be the case in Baltimore.
They'll rally and pull the team together and use that as a motivational ploy... We've been talking to our guys about being ready to play probably the toughest game of the year in a hostile situation.
"I think that's the way the game will be. It'll be one of those tough,
physical games. We're going to have to go down and slug it out with these
Two years ago, Jamal Lewis predicted a "career day" against the Cleveland Browns and backed it up.
Last season, the Ravens running back was more restrained in his comments about the Browns and was limited.
Heading into Sunday's game against the Browns, Lewis sounded somewhere between confident and cautious.
"You can't really say, 'Oh, it's the Browns, and I'm going to go out and get 200 yards,'" Lewis said. "You never know. That's why I went in last year like, 'These guys know what we're going to do. We got all these yards against them before. They're not going to let that happen again.'"
Lewis has produced four of his top eight rushing games against the Browns.
In splitting the series with the Ravens last season, the Browns did a good job of containing Lewis, limiting the back to 57 yards in the first game and 81 yards in the second. It was the worst season total for Lewis against the Browns in the four years he has faced them.
Lewis is still averaging 147.6 rushing yards per game against Cleveland, his highest total against any divisional foe. But Lewis, who looks to be rounding into midseason form after rushing for 95 yards against the Detroit Lions, deflected attention to the offensive line when speculating whether he anticipates his personal rivalry against the Browns to swing back in his direction after the off year.
"It's one of those things where it's like, 'Who is going to get who first?'" Lewis said. "I think that is how it goes with a team you play two times a year. You're pretty much rivals, know each other.
"Is our offensive line going to be more physical, or is their defense going to be more physical against us? That's what really determines the outcome of the game."
But why not predict another career day, especially when it worked so well two years ago and being humble last year did not?
"The only thing that made me say that back then was that I have a friend (Andra Davis) over there, and we were just talking on the phone," Lewis said. "I said that to him. At the same time, it wasn't supposed to go that far. He was supposed to let that phone conversation go as far as that phone. It went and backfired."
Lewis seems more concerned about his own team than the Browns.
"We just have to put this offense together," Lewis said. "We're playing good on defense. And it's kind of like an imbalance. Once we get the running game going with the passing game, that's when we'll actually be a team. That's when we'll be on our way. I think it's coming."