Browns vs Ravens : The formula for the Ravens on Sunday is simple: beat the Browns and they make the playoffs as the AFC North champions at 10-6.Lose, and they risk elimination from playoff contention if the Steelers beat the Bengals. The Ravens lost their finale to the Bengals last year to miss the playoffs, and are determined not to let it happen again.
It will be a playoff-like atmosphere, and the Browns have been gearing up all week.“We’ll treat this like it’s our playoff game,’’ interim coach Gregg Williams said this week.
Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens knows the Browns will have to handle it better than the first two times they experienced a game of this magnitude this season.
“Our first real taste of the opportunity to have that environment was in Houston,’’ said Kitchens. “We did not do very well in Houston (29-13 Browns loss). We go back to Denver for the next type of atmosphere and the same thing presents itself, and we handled that a little better (a 17-16 Browns victory). Hopefully, we can go in and handle the situation and the environment well and then get a taste for what the playoffs are all about because this truly is a playoff game for them just as it is us.
“We’ve been in truly playoff-type mode for about four weeks here now because our lives still were in balance because of that,’’ he said. “We’ll see how we handle it. We’re going to go in there and let it out there and see. The key is just to not watch the scoreboard and play each play like it is your last. Let’s roll.’’
The Ravens are not only first in yards allowed, they’re No. 1 in points allowed with 17.5 points per game, and have scored three defensive touchdowns in the past five games. They’re also third on the NFL in third-down defense, allowing only 34% to be converted.