A look ahead to Browns-Ravens

RG3 is out for at least half the season—realistically the entire season.  Let that sink in, Browns fans.  Did you really think we had seen the last of Josh McCown?  Seeing him back under center this Sunday should be the return to normalcy that us Browns fans so desperately needed.

McCown threw for 2,109 yards with 12 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions through 8 games last season.  Those aren’t bad numbers, especially when you consider what he was working with offensively (ahem, Taylor Gabriel).  Now he has two budding talents in wide receivers Corey Coleman and Terrelle Pryor (and Josh Gordon when he comes back from suspension).  Gary Barnidge should also factor heavily into the equation.  His breakout campaign last season was mostly made with McCown at the helm.

Still, I’m not liking the Browns’ chances against a possibly rejuvenated Ravens team.  Joe Flacco looked good against the Bills last week and Mike Wallace could absolutely torch Cleveland’s secondary this week.  A 2-0 start will keep the Ravens’ postseason hopes looking very realistic in a weakened AFC.

Josh McCown’s gunslinger mentality could be enough to keep this one close.  We still don’t know how good this Ravens defense is—they only allowed 7 points last week against the Bills, but how much of that can be attributed to the putrid play of the Bills offense?  If they actually are as good as they looked against Buffalo, the Browns could be in for a long day.

This won’t be a dud like last week’s bummer in Philadelphia.  McCown will keep things interesting, his blue-collar grits-and-taters style an inspiration to all journeymen.  Browns may top 20 points in this one.  Remember last season when McCown set Browns records in an OT win against Baltimore?  That’s probably not gonna happen again.

As for the Ravens, quarterback Joe Flacco won’t throw an interception for the second straight week.  This post-injury Flacco may be the best version of Flacco yet—safer yet more consistent and still just as clutch.  The Ravens may still not be taken seriously after this win: an undefeated team through two weeks that has barely scraped by.  But that is how the Ravens like it, winning ugly.

Those who invest in the Browns’ receiving corps (namely tight end Gary Barnidge) in fantasy should be happy about the return of Josh McCown.  But that’s all we can look forward to out of this game.

 

PREDICTION: Ravens 27, Browns 17

 

By Colin Hart

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