Ravens

Ravens vs. Browns: Primetime Lamar + 3 things WFT fans should watch

Ravens

The Ravens host Cleveland for a pivotal AFC North matchup for this week's Sunday Night Football primetime game on NBC. 

The last time Baltimore welcomed the Browns was last December, a game in which you may remember Lamar Jackson returning from the Ravens locker room to hit Marquise Brown for a touchdown on 4th-and-5 in the fourth quarter. Then, Baltimore went on to win via Justin Tucker's 55-yarder and the ensuing social media craze was tremendous

It was a glorious and epic encounter that should be all the reason you need to tune in. But here are three more. 

Ravens WRs are ready to shine

Like Washington, Baltimore has been riddled with injuries to its receiving corps this season. Sunday night's game against Cleveland marks really the first occasion that their three starters on any given night -- Hollywood Brown, Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman -- are fully healthy together. 

"I think it's time for us to put on a show," Watkins said according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley of the three of them returning to play together for the first time after all having dealt with injuries. 

With the history of recent Ravens-Browns featuring loads of big plays, this trio promises to provide plenty of deep ball opportunities at M&T Bank Stadium. Bateman missed the first five weeks, Watkins missed Weeks 7, 8, and 9 while Brown missed last week with a thigh issue. 

 

While Baltimore's pass-catching playmakers will pose a difficult challenge for Cleveland's secondary, it is actually the Ravens' pass defense that will need to be up to the task. Only the Jets give up more passing yards per game. 

Playmaking rushers galore

If Cleveland is going to come into Charm City and expect to come away with a win, coach Kevin Stefanski's group will have to do so on the ground. When two of their top-three top receivers are tight ends David Njkou and Austin Hooper, then you turn to the running game. Of course, when you have Nick Chubb, and now activating Kareem Hunt, that isn't a bad option. 

Say what you want about Baker Mayfield but his most fatal flaw is most certainly his propensity to turn the ball over. Simply handing the ball to Chubb and letting him do the rest will help with that. D'Ernest Johnson and Hunt could punish the Ravens' defense if they're not given proper respect. 

This game features the league's leading rushing attack with the Browns averaging 156.8 yards per game and the league's third-leading rushing attack in Baltimore (151 yards per game). Even after J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards lost their seasons to preseason injuries, Jackson has still kept the running game afloat. Watch out for Devonta Freeman, who had his best game of the season last time out vs. Chicago. 

RELATED: Jump passes and front flips: Lamar Jackson dazzles vs. Chiefs on SNF

Primetime Lamar is Can't-Miss TV

Even if you take away Baltimore's electric primetime games in the past couple years, the couple of primetime games the NFL has given to spotlight Lamar Jackson's greatness this season justifies making every effort to make sure your schedule is freed up to watch this one. 

Jackson started the year doing everything he could in a thrilling overtime loss in Las Vegas. Then made his Sunday Night Football season debut with an early game of the season candidate thanks to a one-point win over Kansas City. In Week 6, Jackson was at it again and led the Ravens to an overtime win in front of a national Monday Night Football audience against the Colts. 

If that trend is any indication of how exciting of an SNF game Baltimore-Cleveland will be, then we're in for a true treat!