Who has the edge between the Ravens and Browns?

Who has the edge? <P> Ravens offense <P> Total (21) Rushing (2) Passing (32) <P>

The Ravens wanted to become more explosive vertically this fall. It worked out that way a couple of times, but, basically, this is strictly a running team. Their personnel dictates a game plan that Jim Brown or Earl Campbell would have loved. It's no coincidence that Jamal Lewis ranks third in the AFC with 1,918 yards of the Ravens' total offensive output of 4,291 yards. The Ravens have run 883 plays, 477 of them are rushes with 369 passes. Lewis has carried the football 338 times.


Anthony Wright has been plagued by missed blocks and slip-and-falls lately. He has also taken a few too many chances downfield. It looks like defenses are adjusting to the Baltimore game plan of designed rollouts and waggle passes.

Running backs

Jamal Lewis has rushed for 1,747 yards, 153 more than Clinton Portis, the second-leading rusher. Lewis has to average 126.5 yards in his last two games to reach 2,000 yards.


Travis Taylor had one of his more consistent outings against the Raiders, catching three passes for 62 yards. All three went for first downs. Marcus Robinson was shut out.

Offensive line

Hefty blockers have paved the way for 162.1 rushing yards a game, second-best in the NFL, but have allowed 37 sacks.

Browns offense

Total (28) Rushing (29) Passing (22)

Constant shuffling between quarterbacks Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb hurt offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' play-calling and continuity of offense. The release of receiver Kevin Johnson was ill-advised, a prime example of a typically bull-headed Butch Davis personnel mistake. And the well-documented personal travails of troubled running back William Green have been a detriment to this group, too. He's indefinitely suspended for multiple violations of the league's substance-abuse policies and agreed Monday to go to an alcohol rehabilitation center in Boston. He also has pending drug and alcohol-related charges and was stabbed by his child's mother this fall. Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome is quite fortunate he never acquired Green and his baggage after rating him highly before the NFL Draft two years ago.


Tim Couch probably should have been awarded the job in training camp. One playoff game by Kelly Holcomb shouldn't have warranted his demotion. Couch wasn't the top overall pick out of Kentucky by accident.

Running backs

Jamel White is adept at catching passes out of the backfield, but Cleveland has a negligible chance of running the football successfully today.


Blends size (Quincy Morgan), shiftiness (Dennis Northcutt) and pure speed (Andre Davis).

Offensive line

Major question mark because of injuries and lack of ideal size. Both Ross Verba and Jeff Faine are on injured reserve.

Quarterback edge: Even

Running back edge: Ravens

Receivers edge: Browns

Offensive line edge: Ravens

Ravens defense

Total (5) Rushing (8) Passing (5)

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's unit is playing really well. However, a more aggressive approach in terms of blitzes and sounder coverage technique from his safeties might have given the Ravens a better chance of winning last week against Oakland. Baltimore didn't produce a sack or an interception against journeyman quarterback Rick Mirer. Statistically, it wasn't a poor performance overall. It was an opportunity lost, though. The offense couldn't be counted to win this football game, and the defense did nothing to lose it or win it.

Defensive line

Quietly, nose guard Kelly Gregg managed to collect 88 tackles, three sacks and recover a fumble. Truly impressive.


Between Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Terrell Suggs and Ed Hartwell, the four starters have generated 420 tackles, 19.5 sacks, seven interceptions, 21 pass deflections, 11 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. That's not even counting injured starter Adalius Thomas' 34 tackles, four sacks, eight pass deflections and one forced fumble.


Another stern test presents itself this week because of the Browns' depth and talent outside.

Browns defense

Total (13) Rushing (20) Passing (9)

The Browns haven't been stout enough against the run while indoctrinating three new starters in Andra Davis, Ben Taylor and Kevin Bentley. Defensive tackle Gerard "Big Money" Warren has been a huge disappointment. And the injury to blossoming defensive end Courtney Brown represents a major blow. The secondary is average, and Robert Griffith doesn't deserve his tough-guy reputation from his days with the Minnesota Vikings.

Defensive line

The most effective player still standing is former Washington Redskins starter Kenard Lang, who has produced 6 ½ sacks, an interception and 21 quarterback pressures.


Andra Davis said Jamal Lewis is on his blocked-call list this week.


Safety Earl Little has five interceptions and is a force in run support.

Defensive line edge: Ravens

Linebackers edge: Ravens

Secondary edge: Ravens

Ravens special teams

Kicker Matt Stover is this group's ace and is looking to start a new streak after missing a 50-yarder last week for his first miss in 21 tries. The kickoff coverage unit bunched up and lost lane discipline in allowing a 71-yard return against Oakland.

Browns special teams

Kicker Phil Dawson is on injured reserve. Dennis Northcutt and Andre Davis haven't been too spectacular on returns, nor have the coverage teams.

Special teams edge: Ravens

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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