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NFL WEEK 10 : Ravens going back to roots : Baltimore needs a win in Cleveland tonight to remain in the race for the AFC North.

November 16, 2009|Sam Farmer

After a 3-0 start, Baltimore has lost four of five, and has seen its once-airtight run defense spring all sorts of leaks.

So what better way for the Ravens to get back on track than returning to basics -- and, better, to their ancestral roots?

The Ravens (4-4) play at Cleveland tonight, and no one cures an opponent's ills quite like the Browns.

Cleveland (1-7) went into its bye last weekend with an offense ranked 31st and a defense ranked dead last. That makes this something less than a dream prime-time matchup for ESPN, which has hit on its share of Monday night winners this season.

The Browns, who have switched back to Brady Quinn at quarterback, just averted the first blackout of their expansion era when ESPN, Bud Light and a local TV station picked up the remaining tickets. Still, a group of fans has organized a boycott to express its unhappiness with the ineptitude of the franchise, and the fans don't plan to take their seats until after the first play of the game.

As for the Ravens, they need to win this to stay within striking distance of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the AFC North.

"As we sit here and take a look at where we're going, first of all, it starts with me," Coach John Harbaugh said. "It's my job to give our guys every opportunity to play as well as they can play, and I've got to find a way to do my job better. I think every person in the building feels that way right now."

If the Ravens play against Cleveland the way they did in Week 3, tonight should be a breeze. In that game, they posted a 34-3 victory over the Browns at home, Quinn was pulled at halftime in favor of Derek Anderson and the final statistics were hopelessly lopsided.

Baltimore led in first downs, 28-11; yards, 479-186; and had one turnover to Cleveland's four.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

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