The Ravens (2-1) will face the Browns (2-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday in Cleveland. Here are predictions from The Baltimore Banner’s sports staff.

Kyle Goon, columnist

A slight spoiler for the staff picks: I’m going against the grain. There are benefits to going first.

The Ravens’ struggles against the Indianapolis Colts were ugly, but I think their showcase against the Cincinnati Bengals is closer to the real team they are. Lamar Jackson had moments of brilliance with the running game, and he’s throwing for one of the best completion percentages in the NFL. I’m willing to bet the offense will learn from mistakes and benefit from players coming back from injury. I’d be surprised if the Ravens can’t correct some of the fumbling issues they experienced last week. On the other side, the defense proved resilient against Indy, and Deshaun Watson has looked pedestrian, at best, to start the season.

Ravens 20, Browns 13

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Jonas Shaffer, reporter

A bold prediction: The Ravens will become the first team to score more than one offensive touchdown against the Browns this season.

A less bold prediction: That still won’t be enough to win in Cleveland. Lamar Jackson has struggled mightily when he’s faced pressure this season, and even if Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum are healthy enough to start Sunday, he’ll still face a lot of pressure. The Browns’ secondary is good enough to lock up the Ravens’ banged-up receiver room, and their linebackers are fast enough to limit Jackson’s damage as a scrambler.

Deshaun Watson doesn’t have to win this game for Cleveland. All he needs is a few explosive plays and good field position.

Browns 20, Ravens 17

Aron Yohannes, reporter

The Ravens head to Cleveland hoping to prove Sunday’s home flop against the Colts was just that. They’ll be slightly healthier along the offensive line, plus at safety, but will it be enough?

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If Baltimore wants to win, it’ll likely have to be on the ground with Gus Edwards, Melvin Gordon III, Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill. Lamar Jackson likely won’t have his top two wide receivers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman, and the passing attack has been pretty confusing at times even with them.

The Ravens should make this one close, but it’s hard to see the Browns’ defense coming back down to earth and playing drastically differently from the unreal level it is at right now.

Browns 27, Ravens 17

Giana Han, reporter

The Ravens are getting key offensive linemen and running backs back just in time to face the best defense in the NFL. The Steelers have been the only team to score more than three points against the Browns so far. Tyler Linderbaum, Ronnie Stanley, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill might give the Ravens a fighting chance against a ferocious run defense, but they’ll need to roll out the offense from Sunday’s first drive against the Colts, not whoever showed up for the rest of that ugly game.

While the Browns haven’t shined on offense, they’ve faced several tough defenses and managed to put up at least 20 points in each game. After holding an inexperienced Houston Texans team to three points in Week 1, the Ravens’ defense has given up at least 20 points in the past two games. If the Ravens tighten things up, they’ll keep it close, but in the end I think defense wins this game.

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Browns 21, Ravens 13

Chris Korman, editor

I went into last week feeling like the Colts game would be a trendy one to identify as a trap game but that it absolutely would not be one.


So now a humbled Baltimore team heads to Cleveland with a healthier roster and motivation to prove last week a fluke. But the Browns have a very, very, very good defense with two pass rushers, Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith, winning on 27% of their pass rush snaps while being double-teamed 25% and 22% of the time, respectively, per ESPN. Oddly, that puts the Ravens in what might be a comfortable spot. They’re almost certainly going to need to run the ball a lot.

I think a few rugged runs combined with a more comfortable Zay Flowers excelling in the Ravens’ quick-passing game will make this close late.

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Browns 23, Ravens 21

Brandon Weigel, editor

On the one hand, the Ravens are finally getting healthy again, with running back Justice Hill, safeties Kyle Hamilton and safety Marcus Williams, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum all returning to practice in some fashion.

On the other, the O-line did not look in sync in last week’s overtime loss to Indianapolis, facing a front that boasts ends Kwity Paye and Samson Ebukam and defensive tackles Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner. The Ravens now get the NFL’s best defense in the Browns, who have Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith wreaking havoc on the edges.

You know what both teams have in common? Quarterbacks struggling to secure the ball. Both Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson have fumbled four times in three games, losing two. Expect a back-and-forth slog, one that probably doesn’t go the Ravens’ way on the road.

Browns 20, Ravens 17

Jonas Shaffer is a Ravens beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun. Shaffer graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Silver Spring.

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