Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- The Cleveland defense has been nothing short of remarkable through three weeks, holding opponents to just 163.7 total yards of offense per week (first, by a lot), 6.2 fantasy points to quarterbacks per week (first, by a lot), 19.9 fantasy points to wide receivers per week (first, by a lot), 12.6 fantasy points to running backs per week (first), and 3.2 fantasy points to tight ends per week (first).
- The Ravens have been no slouches on defense themselves, holding opponents to just 3.8 yards per carry and 4.3 net yards per pass attempt behind a forced 6.5 defensive aDOT allowed.
- The biggest glaring shortcoming of the Baltimore defense is a robust 34.5 percent blitz rate (eighth) that has led to a subpar 18.6 percent pressure rate.
- Both of these offenses are very clearly trying to figure things out in the early goings, with the Ravens once again fighting through injuries and the Browns now without Nick Chubb for the season after he was such a cornerstone to their offense.
- Rashod Bateman (hamstring), Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle), and Justice Hill (foot) did not practice Wednesday for the Ravens.
- Both teams are in the bottom half of the league in pace of play.
- These two teams are first and second in net yards allowed per pass attempt.
How baltimore Will Try To Win ::
The Ravens, aside from a slight uptick in pass rate, don’t look all that different on paper from years past, which is interesting considering the supposed massive shift in offensive philosophy with the move to offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Their pass rate over expectation (PROE) value sits right around league average, their pace of play ranks in the bottom half of the league, and they’re still running 30-40 percent heavy alignments through the usage of fullback Patrick Ricard. And now Lamar Jackson isn’t even attacking downfield at the same rate when they do pass, having his intended air years per pass attempt fall (IAY/PA) from 8.3 in 2022 to 6.9 this season. This honestly could be another offense where we haven’t seen the entire picture yet considering the numerous offensive injuries they have suffered this season. Tight end Mark Andrews missed the first game of the year, Odell Beckham Jr. missed Week 3, Rashod Bateman is clearly not fully recovered from his Lisfranc injury and is now missing practice with a hamstring injury, JK Dobbins was lost for the season, and they have played two games without their starting offensive line intact.
Gus Edwards and Melvin Gordon split the snaps and backfield work at a 44/40 percent split in Week 3, with Kenyan Drake playing cleanup with a modest 15 percent snap rate. The big picture here is that Patrick Ricard continues to be involved in the offense at a meaningful rate and the player that should lead the team in rushing for the remainder of the season is quarterback Lamar Jackson (he has led the team in carries in each game played without Dobbins). The matchup on the ground could not be more difficult against a Browns defense holding opponents to 2.8 yards per carry and holding running backs to 12.6 DK points per game. No, thank you.
I’m not sure how this is possible, and I had to double check the accuracy multiple times, but the Browns are currently allowing just 6.2 DK points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve allowed just one offensive touchdown all season. Their 3.5 net yards allowed per pass attempt ranks first in the league by a wide margin. Combine the elite performance through the air for the Browns with the now conservative offensive approach from the Ravens (and their lowered IAY/PA number this year), and we’re left with an offense that is likely going to have to march the field through dink-and-dunk pass attempts this week. Furthermore, Rashad Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. missed practice on Wednesday, potentially leaving just rookie Zay Flowers, tight end Mark Andrews, Nelson Agholor, and Devin Duvernay as the top pass-catchers this week. Lamar Jackson’s time to throw is the quickest of his career in 2023 (2.82), which makes sense considering the injuries up front and the underperforming nature of the offensive line in pass-blocking metrics thus far. That could spell trouble against a Cleveland defense that is generating pressure at the highest rate in the league (32.3 percent). Another nod to a likely short area approach through the air for the Ravens here.