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Five reasons why Ravens can't take Browns lightly

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Five reasons why Ravens can't take Browns lightly

The Ravens have won 13 of their last 14 against the Browns, including seven straight at home. Which means the Ravens will beat Cleveland again Sunday (1 p.m.) at M&T Bank Stadium, right?

Probably, but here are five reasons why the Ravens (1-3) can’t take the Browns (1-3) lightly:

1. Browns quarterback Josh McCown has beaten the Ravens before.

Two years ago with the Bears, McCown was the starting quarterback when they beat the Ravens, 23-20, in overtime. McCown has thrown for at least 341 yards in his last two games, with four touchdowns and one interception. He’s playing with confidence.  If the Ravens’ secondary leaves receivers open, McCown will find them.

2. Close games are what the Ravens do.

All four Ravens games have been decided by six points or less. If you’re a Ravens’ fan, you’ve probably forgotten what it feels like to start the fourth quarter with a two touchdown lead. Win or lose, the Ravens usually make you sweat, regardless of who they play.   

3. This will likely be Joe Flacco’s first game in two years without wide receiver Steve Smith.

With Smith (back) listed as doubtful, tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf) out, and wide receiver Michael Campanaro (back) done for the year, Flacco is short some of his favorite weapons. That means Flacco could face a day of throwing to tightly-covered receivers, meaning the offense could struggle.

4. The Browns have a big-play receiver.

Travis Benjamin is averaging 20.5 yards per catch. He has four touchdown catches already, tied for second in the NFL behind Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals (five). Benjamin may not be a household name, but he’s very fast.  Speedy receivers like A. J. Green and Amari Cooper have burned the Ravens’ secondary already this season.

5. Flacco has thrown at least one interception every game.

Having thrown five interceptions this season, Flacco must avoid throwing into coverage, and resist the temptation to force risky throws if receivers are covered. Turnovers can be the great equalizer. It could spell trouble for the Ravens if they gift-wrap scoring opportunities.

Yes, this is a game the Ravens are expected to win. But as we have seen already this season, no wins are guaranteed.

[RELATED: Ravens' top draft pick undergoes knee surgery]

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward. 

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