Week’s 12 & 14- Ravens (Away)
The Ravens tried to improve their passing game for 2021 by adding Sammy Watkins and 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman. The Ravens also signed former Browns guard Kevin Zeitler, and former Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva, while also drafting Ben Cleveland to improve the offensive line. This is a decent haul for the Ravens but it’s probably not going to help things, after all, the issue is with Lamar Jackson trying to be a pocket passer. Jackson has a nice completion percentage but a lot of that is on the run, with defenses trying to play both the run and pass. If you can get to Jackson as the Browns did in their second meeting of 2020, then Jackson kind of struggles with passing.
The Ravens as an offense were largely down from their 2019 campaign. They were ranked 19th in 2020, while in 2019 they were 2nd. A lot of that had to with the lack of talent around Jackson for sure, but it also had to do with the former MVP regressing a bit. Year four is going to be huge for him, because if he doesn’t put up impressive stats and keeps the team winning, then there may not be a huge extension coming in his future.
Defensive they’re as good as ever. They re-signed Derek Wolfe and drafted Odafe Oweh while keeping the rest of their defense in pretty good shape. The problem for the Ravens is the Browns weren’t bothered by their offense in their last meeting, it was the lack of competent defense on their own part that allowed the Ravens to win that epic encounter. The Browns proved they can play with any defense in the league, they just needed a much better defense than the one they had.
Expectations: Unlike some pundits out there who think the Ravens are going to go 2-0 again, these aren’t games that aren’t winnable. The Ravens offensively didn’t really get better. Sammy Watkins is a disappointment and dang-near a bust of a receiver, and the linemen that the Raven added were aging out and were let go of for a reason. Their defense is good but unless Lamar Jackson returns to form in 2021, this could be the Browns’ year to be the bullies of the division.