Following their 13-7 victory over Buffalo on Sunday, the Ravens will shift their attention to the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens will head to Cleveland this weekend to face a Browns team that suffered a disappointing 29-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Not only did the Browns lose their opening game, but they lost their starting quarterback too. On Monday it was announced that Robert Griffin III suffered a serious left-shoulder injury during Sunday’s game. It was initially thought that Griffin could play against the Ravens this week, but later on it was announced that Griffin was placed on injured reserved with a fractured bone in his left shoulder.
The injury is not said to be one that will require surgery, so with being placed on IR Griffin will miss at least eight games. His shoulder will be re-evaluated in a few weeks, and by that point the Browns should know if he will be able to make it back on the field this season.
With Griffin on the shelf, Josh McCown becomes the new Browns starting quarterback. This is McCown’s second season with Cleveland, and he has had success against the Ravens in the past.
In three starts against Baltimore, McCown is 2-1 with 885 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Ravens fans still have nightmares of the 2015 week 5 33-30 loss to Cleveland in which McCown threw for 457 yards and two touchdowns. In 2013 with the Chicago Bears, McCown passed for 216 yards and a touchdown in a 23-20 Chicago win. McCown has limited experience and success as a starter, but he has performed exceptionally well against the Ravens.
Another thing to keep in mind about this particular game is that dating back to 2010, the Ravens are 2-4 in week 2. Two painful Ravens week 2 defeats came in 2011 and 2012. The start of the 2011 season got off to a fantastic start when the Ravens opened up the season with a convincing 35-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who made it to the Super bowl the previous seaosn. After dominating their divisional foes, Ravens players and fans were on top of the world. But, the Ravens followed up that game by losing to the Tennessee Titans 26-13. Matt Hasselbeck was Tennessee’s starting quarterback in that game.
The beginning of the 2012 Super bowl season also had a magnificent start. The Ravens kicked off week 1 by crushing the Cincinnati Bengals 44-13 on Monday Night Football. Just like the previous year, the Ravens followed that up by falling to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-23. The Eagles finished 2012 with a 4-12 record.
Baltimore also lost in week 2 last year, as they feel to the Oakland Raiders 37-33. The Ravens outplayed Oakland offensively, but Baltimore turned the ball over three times and Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes. This game was a part of the Ravens’ 0-3 start to the 2015 season before they defeated the Steelers 23-20 in a week 4 overtime win.
Sunday’s 13-7 win was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Ravens. Baltimore got off to a great start coming off of a disastrous 5-11 season, and no serious injuries were suffered in Sunday’s game. The Ravens have momentum heading into week 2 against a Browns team that is facing all sorts of turmoil, both on and off the field. The odds are certainly in the Ravens’ favor, but John Harbaugh and his team need to stay locked in if they want to walk out of Cleveland with a 2-0 record.