Guest column: J. Lewis primed for yardage

When the Cleveland Browns began to game plan for the Ravens, I am pretty sure Jamal Lewis was a topic of discussion. Jamal has rushed for 1,329 yds versus the Browns in his career, including the single best day of rushing in NFL history (295 yds on 9/14/03.

Since the NFL merger in 1970, he has the NFL record for most rushing yards averaged per game versus an opponent with 132.9 yds per game.
The Browns know with their defense they have to stop Jamal, but so far this season the Browns have not been able to stop anyone from running the ball on them they come into Sunday's game have given up an average of 158 yds per game rushing.
Jamal should be able to get 100- 120yds rushing versus the Browns.
Air McNair?
Steve McNair has taken some heat from some people in town about not throwing the deep ball, so far this season he has only completed 3 passes over 30yds.
Several things factor in that: a good secondary on a team , offensive line not giving him time to throw the ball deep,and just taking whatever the defense is giving you. Sunday could present an opportunity for Steve McNair to air it out some, the Browns have not been good versus the run or much better versus the pass, with teams averaging 245 yds passing versus them.
A telling stat is when you look at the team leaders in tackles for the Browns and 4 out of the top 6 in tackles are in the secondary,compare that to the Ravens where you will only find 1 secondary player in the top 6 of tackles for the team (Dawan Landry with 14, #3). Of the 44 1st downs the Browns have given up 30 of them have come via the pass. Next ?
Young QB's have not faired very well against the Ravens this year, see Chris Simms, Andrew Walter, and now comes Charlie Frye.
Simms is the most veteran of the trio as far as NFL experience, but Frye is the one guy that can boast that he has beaten the Ravens so far.
Frye admitted earlier this week in a conference call that this defense is completely different than the one he faced in the final game of the season last year, mainly because now Ray Lewis is on the field.
Talking to the Ravens players and coaches the one thing you heard about Charlie was how when things break down he can get out of the pocket and make things happen, mostly throwing on the run.
While he will scramble to run, since he is leading the team in rushing TD's and trails Droughns by 5 yds for the leading rusher title, the Ravens say he makes the big plays by passing on the run and is very good at it.
Key for the Ravens is to contain him in the pocket and not let him get outside of the pressure, they feel if they can do that they can continue the success against QB's, Frye has been sacked 5 times this year.
Ravens should continue their success against young QB's, and with pressure force Frye into costly mistakes.
A positive for the Browns
The one area that the Browns may have a little bit of an edge on is Special Teams, not that they are a great unit , but they maybe a little better than the Ravens in that area. The Ravens have had some issues with giving up some nice returns to teams and not great tackling on coverage. The positive for the Ravens on special teams has been Sam Koch and BJ Sams, BJ looks like he is due to bust a big return. Could it be this week?
Ravens special teams will have to back the Browns up in field position, adding to the pressure the defense will bring.
With that said
I think the Ravens will come out on top 27-13, move to 4-0 and get ready for the Chargers. Jamal Lewis 100+ yds rushing Steve McNair /offense will look much better Defense - well they will continue to serve notice in the NFL
Thanks for your time and feel free to reach me at, casey@wnst.net with any questions/comments
Casey Willett covers the Ravens for Sportstalk 1570 WNST, and co-hosts a Sunday morning talk show with Ray Bachman from 10am -12 on WNST.

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