These two teams have traditionally played hard-fought games. I don't think it has anything to do with the genesis of the Ravens, who are essentially Cleveland's old franchise, since the players on the field have little or no memory of how that old deal went down.
It does, however, have a lot to do with the divisional rivalry…and Cleveland has to prove it can beat Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati before the Browns can ever have a realistic hope of getting back to the playoffs.
It was a frustrating Week 1 for both teams. Now something's gotta give on Sunday…
The Ravens hope to get back on track while trying for an 11th straight victory over the Browns on Sunday.
"The great thing about it is – and we all know this – it's week-to-week in this league, and it's going to be that way," coach John Harbaugh told the Ravens' official website. "What we need to do is take care of our business. If we take care of our business, we're going to be in the hunt and make it interesting, and if we don't, we're not."
Harbaugh's Ravens last week allowed the most points in any game in the team's 18-year history. Baltimore could not stop Peyton Manning from tying an NFL record with seven touchdown passes and the Broncos from totaling 510 yards of offense.
"Our issue was the big plays," Harbaugh said. "You can't give up a screen for a touchdown. That's just not acceptable. You can't leave guys wide open. You can't miss tackles that turn into big plays. You can't turn guys loose in the red zone. You can't do it."
All the Ravens hope to do is learn and move on with confidence. Harbaugh believes they can do both.
"Obviously, we have to," Harbaugh said. "That kind of performance, in the end, is never going to be acceptable. We're capable of playing far better than that, and we have to."
Baltimore's Ray Rice hopes to get back on track after he was held to 36 yards and a TD on 12 carries last week. He's averaged 4.0 yards per carry, has one TD and has not rushed for more than 87 yards in five home games versus Cleveland.
With the Ravens playing catch-up, Joe Flacco went 34 of 62 for 362 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Broncos.
He's thrown 12 TDs and five picks while going 10-0 against the Browns, but won't have receiver Jacoby Jones as an option after the Super Bowl star suffered a knee injury in the opener that is expected to keep him out at least four weeks.
It's also uncertain if tackle Michael Oher will play because of an injured ankle.
Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden came out of Week 1 relatively healthy despite being sacked six times and officially hit another 10 in last Sunday's 23-10 loss to Miami. He was intercepted three times in the first half.
Running back Trent Richardson was held to 47 yards on 13 carries.
Tight end Jordan Cameron made nine catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, but Cleveland went 1 for 14 on third down and totaled 291 yards in Rob Chudzinski's head coaching debut.
The Browns have failed to amass 300 yards in three of their last four contests.
"I knew we were a long ways away from where we wanted to be,'' Richardson said. "We're still putting stuff together. We're glad we had that game, though. We took a loss, but at the same time we know what we need to work on and get better.''
Richardson had 47 yards on 14 carries in a 23-16 loss at Baltimore last season before finishing with 105 yards at home against the Ravens in November. Weeden completed 50.6 percent of his passes with three interceptions and no TDs in the two games.
Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon will serve the second of his two-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
As of late Friday before the game, the Vegas oddsmakers had the Ravens favored by 6.5. The over/under points total was 43.5.
The Browns are motivated. New head coach, relatively new ownership and management…while the Ravens will be motivated by the hoisting of their World Championship banner at M&T Bank Stadium. It's a new defense for the Ravens which needs to show it can stop somebody. Flacco is without Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, so God only knows what to expect from the aerial attack of the Ravens. Something feels to me like this game could be fought right down to the wire.
Nothing's easy in this league.