Sunday, December 17 | 1:00 PM
If the Baltimore Ravens happen to come out flat against the winless Browns in Cleveland this Sunday, all bets are off. Recently teams that have allowed the still-trying-hard Browns to hang around late in games have had to scramble their butts off to pull out difficult wins.
“This is a classic be-careful game for the Ravens,” wrote CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco. “They are coming off a physical game with the Pittsburgh Steelers and now head back out on the road. That’s tough. The Browns almost beat the Green Bay Packers last week, and they will play another solid game.”
Sarah Ellison of the Ravens official website agrees: “It likely won’t be any easier this time around, especially for quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense. The Browns will have No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett breathing down Flacco’s neck after he was absent in their Week 2 contest. Cleveland also boasts the league’s sixth-ranked rush defense, which will look to challenge red-hot running back Alex Collins.”
“The Cleveland Browns will be able to hang in there because of their defense and because they can make the game ugly early on,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Chris Simms. “The problem is that this is still a good Baltimore Ravens [defense], and the Browns don’t have the weapons to exploit it the way the Steelers did last week.”
The other problem is that Cleveland hasn’t found a way to close out strong games. Last week was the perfect example. The Browns had a 14-point lead over the Green Bay Packers, but ended up stumbling and losing in overtime.
“I fully expect there to be some anxious moments for the Ravens, but they usually find a way versus Cleveland, no matter how ugly it looks,” wrote The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. “The Browns aren’t opposed to helping their opponent, either.”
The Ravens may need to win their final three games to advance to the playoffs.
Mike Wallace Is Fine; Ravens Should Have All Hands on Deck
After not participating in the team’s first two practices this week because of an ankle injury, journalists approached wide receiver Mike Wallace in the locker room yesterday to inquire about his health.
“I’m playing [Sunday]. You all don’t even have to ask,” Wallace immediately said.
Wallace suffered an ankle sprain Sunday in Pittsburgh, but finished the game. He was asked if he’ll be 100 percent by game time in Cleveland.
“I don’t think anybody’s 100 percent, but I’ll be about 99.9,” Wallace said. “I’ll be good, and I’ll be all right. I’m going to tape it up and go to work like [former Los Angeles Lakers legend] Kobe [Bryant] at the end of the day. But no matter what it’s going to be, I’m going to be out there. Come Sunday when we run out of the tunnel, I’m going to be out there.”
With Wallace’s expected start, the Ravens seem to be healthy as an entire unit. Everyone else participated in Thursday’s practice, including wide receiver Chris Moore (hip) and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (shoulder). Cornerback Maurice Canady (knee) was a limited participant.