The Cleveland Browns have a lot of reasons to be highly motivated to win today against the Baltimore Ravens. For starters, there will always be a lingering animosity behind the original Browns franchise packing up and moving to Baltimore. Cleveland’s players do talk about this, and the fans certainly know it.
Watching the Ravens out-class the ‘new’ Browns every year certainly must get old. They’re tired of being the younger brother. And while they can’t manage a better record in 2018, they can pull off a season sweep over Baltimore and play a major role in keeping them out of the playoffs.
There’s also the fact that a win would give the franchise their first winning record since 2007. A year after going 0-16. What a statement it would be if they could close out the year going 6-1 in their last seven to finish 8-7-1. Nobody would be more driven to achieve that than interim Head Coach Gregg Williams.
Baker Mayfield can also cement a winning record as starter today, a win giving him a 7-6 record in 13 starts. He has motivation to throw three touchdowns as well, as it would set a new rookie quarterback record for the most touchdowns thrown in a season.
Then there’s Breshad Perriman, the former first-round wide receiver that the Ravens gave up on. Baltimore signed three wide receivers in free agency and drafted two others, bumping Perriman out of the picture.
“It pissed me off and it hurt deeply”, he said of losing out in the numbers battle in Baltimore. “But at the same time it also made me stronger and brought to me bigger blessings”. He went on to say that the team never told him why he was let go and called it really tough.
“I’m not going to sit here and lie about it. It was probably one of the toughest times in my life. I’ve never been without football in my entire life, but during that time it was taken away from me, and it was really hard”.
Of late he has resurfaced in Cleveland and has been making some plays for Mayfield and company. He is a big-play threat in an offense that was lacking one with more possession-type receivers such as Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway. He has just five receptions over the past three games, but for 188 yards. All four of his explosive plays have come in the month of December.
“Breshad’s playing very well”, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said of his former first-rounder last week. “He’s made numerous big plays, he’s playing fast. He’s doing a great job. He’s going to be a factor that we have to contend with, for sure, in our defense. He’s bringing what you always expected him to bring to the table. He’s found that there in the last few weeks and has done a good job with it”.
How great would it be to see Perriman make the game-winning play against the Ravens today to send Baltimore to their fourth consecutive non-playoff season? Last year it was Pitt’s Tyler Boyd with the dagger. How about one of their own this time around?