CLEVELAND -- On the heels of a 35-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday, the Cleveland Browns dropped to 0-9 under the direction of head coach Hue Jackson and remain the only winless team in the National Football League.
But just because the Browns are on a 12-game losing streak that dates back to last December, the Baltimore Ravens are not taking them lightly heading into their Thursday Night Football matchup at M&T Bank Stadium.
“Yeah, it sure is,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “You can talk about what is on paper with their record, and then, you can watch what is on tape with their play and you see a completely different story.
“We know how good they are. We understand how physical they are. Really fast there. They have a young team, a very fast team and they play extremely hard and they can make plays on both sides of the ball. We have had close games with them always -- this year, last year, the year before that, both games all these years we have played have always been knock-down drag-out affairs, and we certainly know that Thursday night is not going to be any different.”
Although the Browns were close in four of their nine losses this season, they have surrendered 28 or more points in five straight games, and at least 31 in four of the last five outings, including three consecutive contests.
Defensively, the Browns rank near the bottom of the league in several key statistical categories. They have surrendered an average of 30.3 points (31st), 421.7 yards (31st) and 146.4 rushing yards (31st) through the first nine games of the season.
However, after having Coach Hue Jackson on his staff, Harbaugh knows that the Browns will be ready to compete when they take the field against the Ravens tonight.
“I just know Hue and I know what kind of competitor he is and what kind of a great coach he is,” Harbaugh said. “I see what he is doing with the offense and what he is doing with his team and it is very recognizable. You can tell what he is building, and as an opponent, that is our concern is how we are going to take on that challenge.”
In order to prevent a long hangover on a short week after a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens (4-4) have focused their efforts on mental preparation. And they hope that will help match the Browns’ intensity as they look to shed their losing ways.
“You go to work mentally,” Harbaugh said. “You just have to get right to the next opponent, which we did being Cleveland.
“Cleveland has changed scheme and personnel a little bit, so we really have to look at that. More than anything, it is getting back physically. The guys will be emotionally ready to play. It is a big game for both teams. They are going to be ready to play. It is a national game. Everybody is going to be excited. It is a rivalry game. Both teams have got to get themselves there physically.”