Browns-Ravens matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Sept. 22, 2010 @ 4:54 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Here'e a matchup to watch in Sunday's Browns-Ravens game:

Browns RBs Jerome Harrison and Peyton Hillis and WR Josh Cribbs vs. the Ravens' run defense.

The Browns' running game is a source of concern entering Week Three. Take away a 39-yard run at Tampa Bay in the season opener, and Harrison has 46 yards on 24 carries. Harrison also fumbled in the loss to Kansas City last week. Hillis, who's the only other Browns back to get carries other than Harrison this season, has 76 yards on 17 attempts, but he fumbled twice in Week One.

We include Cribbs among the Browns' ball-carriers to watch because he rushed for 6-34-0 in the second game vs. Baltimore last season and head coach Eric Mangini said he wished the Browns would have used the "Wildcat" formation more against the Chiefs. Using Cribbs more might be a good idea; the Browns' running game needs a spark.

The Ravens, who are allowing 105.0 yards per game on the ground this season, have the most talented defense Cleveland has faced yet. Their front seven, led by star DT Haloti Ngata and MLB Ray Lewis, has been stout vs. the run for years. The Browns' backs and Cribbs must secure the ball against this hard-hitting group. And they must fight for positive yardage; the Browns could struggle in long-yardage situations against this defense.