Sunday, November 12, will be a critical day for the Baltimore Ravens and the AFC North. The Ravens welcome the Cleveland Browns to M&T Bank Stadium, for a rematch of their Week 4 meeting.
This time though feels like there is more energy. It could be because Deshaun Watson is presumably starting, or maybe because the last time the two met, the Ravens embarrassed the Browns at home.
Whatever the reason might be, there seems to be a lot more talking from both teams early in the week.
Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith already sent his message to the Browns saying, “Make no mistake about it, it’s our home. We gotta defend it by any means necessary.”
NEW inside The Vault | #Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith on welcoming the Browns to M&T Bank Stadium this weekend:
"I'll just close The Bank down, the hours are closed, and then we decide when we open back up The Bank."
— The Vault: A Daily Ravens Podcast (@RavensVault) November 6, 2023
Well, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett had an interesting comment regarding Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson ahead of their matchup.
Garrett joined “Up & Adams,” hosted by media personality Kay Adams, and was asked his opinion between Jackson and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. At first, Garrett gave Jackson credit about all the different ways he could beat you emphasizing, “He can still rush for 150 and three touchdowns.”
Adams did not let up there though, as she wanted to know who Garrett thought the better quarterback was. Garrett responded, “I’m taking down Lamar, but I’ll take Joe right now in terms of who’s got the nod over the other right now.”
— Up & Adams (@UpAndAdamsShow) November 7, 2023
This felt like one of those situations where Garrett was saying nice things, but his true feelings came out at the end.
Both teams seem to be providing bulletin board material for the other to rally around. Division matchups have enough bad blood to start, but we may need to keep an eye on this week for some extra trash talking or extracurriculars after the play.
Ravens Need to Stay Focused on Browns
It will be on Coach John Harbaugh to keep his team focused on the task at hand.
The Ravens have two division games in five days, with a quick turnaround against the Bengals on Thursday Night Football. The concern here will be the potential of looking ahead to the Bengals due to over-confidence from the dominating Week 4 win.
It is important to remember that Watson was out that week, and the Browns were forced to turn to Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Granted, Jackson still balled out, passing and rushing for two touchdowns each.
GO UP AND GET IT @Mandrews_81!!!
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 1, 2023
Harbaugh talking to the media was asked about having two division games in five days. His thoughts were, “We gotta take care of business first things first. We have the Browns, and we have two division games in… 5 days.”
"That's our challenge."
Coach Harbaugh on two division games in five days and how the team prepares: pic.twitter.com/iDA8Sj9sId
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 6, 2023
His goal is clearly to not overlook a dangerous team. The Browns have one of the top defenses in the league and are a much different team with Watson at the helm.
They were able to take down the San Francisco 49ers, who were undefeated at the time, with P.J. Walker leading them.
Harbaugh put it best in his presser saying, “It’s all about the Browns.”
Ravens Stars Receive Praise From Pro Football Focus
Pro Football Focus released their mid-season All-Pro team, and a flock of Ravens found themselves included.
Jackson was listed as the top quarterback citing his “86.6 passing grade – 428 rushing yards” as keys of the QB. Jackson is playing at an MVP level right now, and while some may be concerned with his counting stats, the only one that really matters is wins.
Smith was also elected as one of two linebackers to the All-Pro team (beating out former Raven C.J. Mosely coincidentally). PFF called him “the engine powering the Ravens’ league-leading defense.”
Roquan Smith: 325 coverage snaps without allowing a TD this season 🤯🔒 pic.twitter.com/mOn85vJDSu
— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) November 7, 2023
The final Raven to make the list is a great story but will also upset fans. Geno Stone, who is having a breakout season, was listed as 2nd team All-Pro behind Atlanta Falcons safety Jessie Bates III.
Stone has become a fan favorite, with his league leading six interceptions. PFF might be hearing from Ravens fans about this one, but it’s a great sign when three of your star players make this kind of list.