In recent history, the Cleveland Browns have faired poorly against one of the NFL’s best defensive units, the Baltimore Ravens.
The anchor of the Ravens defense, linebacker Ray Lewis has posted some impressive numbers against the Browns in his career. In 22 games, Lewis has made 257 tackles, with four interceptions, seven sacks and a touchdown.
Lewis, who returned last Sunday night in the team’s 34-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers, missed the previous four games because of a right turf toe injury. This week, the Ravens will need Lewis to improve upon his play against San Diego, in hopes of slowing down the suddenly hot Peyton Hillis.
Last week in Arizona, Hillis ran for a season-high 99 yards and one touchdown in the Browns’ 20-17 overtime loss. Last season in week three against the Ravens, Hillis ran for a then career-high 144 yards.
Hillis said the Browns are fully aware of what they’re going against when they play the Ravens.
“The Ravens defense, they’re a stout D,” Hillis said, according to the Browns website. “They’ve got a really big front with [Haloti] Ngata and [Terrence] Cody up there. They are real big guys, they’ve got a very veteran linebacker corps in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed in the secondary. They have a really, really good defense.”
Baltimore’s defense shutdown Cleveland’s offense in the two teams first meeting three weeks ago, a game that resulted in a 24-10 Ravens win. The Browns weren’t able to do anything offensively, despite the absence of Lewis. Hillis was held in-check specifically, carrying the ball 12 times for just 45 yards.
However, Hillis said that even though they know the Ravens have a tough defense, he believes the Browns can do some damage.
“You have to be fundamentally sound,” Hillis said. “You’ve got to be on cue with what you need to do as an offensive unit, and if you can do that, then you can do pretty well against them.”
Lewis is averaging an impressive 11.7 tackles per game against Cleveland in his career. If Lewis is able to have another typical day at the office against Cleveland, it could make for a long day for the Browns offense.