OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens host the Cleveland Browns in a big AFC North matchup on Sunday night.
Here are the key matchups.
Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt vs. Ravens defensive line
Hunt and offensive tackle Jack Conklin returned to practice this week and that will provide additional challenges for a Ravens, who have given up big plays and struggled with their tackling. Hunt has been out since Week 6 with a calf injury. He has 361 yards rushing with five touchdowns while splitting carries with Nick Chubb, who has run for 851 yards. The duo is one of the NFL's best one-two punches in the backfield and will pose a threat to the Ravens, who have been without nose tackle Brandon Williams for the past two games. Defensive end Calais Campbell is questionable with a concussion. If the Browns can dominate in the run game, it will be a long night for Baltimore.
Browns defensive ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney vs. Ravens tackles Alejandro Villanueva and Pat Mekari
Garrett leads the NFL with 13.5 sacks and he'll be a handful for Villanueva, who has played inconsistently this season. The Ravens will have to use a tight end to help Villanueva deal with Garrett. Clowney has been limited in practice this week with neck/wrist/knee injuries, but it appears he will be ready to play. Mekari is listed as questionable with an ankle injury but he should be active. This is clearly an advantage for the Browns. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is going to have to get rid of the ball more quickly and work short, quick passes to avoid that aggressive pass rush. Jackson has been sacked 28 times, which is tied for second in the NFL.
Browns cornerback Denzel Ward vs. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson
Jackson referenced Ward earlier this week when asked about the strength of Cleveland's defense. Ward is one of Cleveland's top playmakers had his first interception of the season in Week 9 against the Bengals that he ran back for a 99-yard touchdown. Last week, Ward had another interception against the Lions. The turnover battle will key in this matchup. The Ravens have a minus-5 turnover ratio and the Browns are minus-1. Jackson has thrown for 2,447 yards passing with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Jackson also has 639 yards rushing with another two scores. Baltimore is 36-10 with Jackson as its regular-season starter.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield vs. Ravens secondary
Mayfield has played mostly uneven this season and has thrown for 2,166 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also is playing with various injuries. The Ravens have been susceptible to big plays this season. If Mayfield gets into a rhythm, he could create matchup problems for the injury-plagued Ravens secondary. The Browns have the league's 25th ranked pass offense, but Baltimore is ranked 31st in defending the pass. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey is going to have to play better and be a difference-maker in this game.