Santa and the scheduling Gods of the NFL gave the gift of the Ravens 2010 season by allowing them to close with 2 games against the bottom feeders of their division in the Browns and Bengals. One team could have been on the brink of ascension (Browns) and the other is waiting for the implosion to end (Bengals). The Ravens make the quick jaunt to Cleveland this Sunday to play the Browns and hopefully secure their place in the playoffs.
With the Ray Rice show in full effect last week, its seems as though Cam Cameron may have finally realized the keys to the palace/playoffs resides in their ability to get Rice running and catching dimes from Joe Flacco. Or maybe Cameron was holding back and keeping Rice ready for a run deep into January. Who knows, but the key to this game will again be their ability to use Rice to get them in an offensive rhythm. In their week 3 contest it was Anquan Boldin who announced his arrival in Baltimore with an eight-catch, 142-yard, three-TD day. With CB Eric Wright on the physical and mental injured list, Boldin will have the pleasure of getting at rookie Joe Haden who may in fact be Wright’s permanent replacement for the future.
Browns RB Peyton Hillis played like a monster in their last meeting eating up 144 yards on 22 carries. Hillis put the first of many nails in the coffin of former Denver coach Josh MacDaniels who traded him away for Brady Quinn. Hillis is not the only player that has announced his arrival for prime time. Browns QB Colt McCoy has solidified his place as the #1 qb with wins over the Patriots and Saints. But McCoy will need to be aware of the beast that is Haloti Ngata and not to mention the other beast of Terrell Suggs. McCoy will be faced with multiple schemes that Greg Mattison can come up with to confuse and challenge the young QB. With the Ravens D struggling in the second half of games to keep points off the board it will be essential to keep Hillis and McCoy in check.
The Ravens are primed to clinch a playoff spot with a win on Sunday. It is imperative for the Ravens to clinch the easy way and not allow a team possibly playing to keep their coach Eric Magini employed to deter them. Taking care of business is what makes champions.
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Written by Lea Anderson