|Joe Flacco is undefeated against the Browns in eight games since entering the league in 2008. (US Presswire)|
Browns at Ravens -- Week 4
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md. (turf, outdoors)
When: Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
Spread: Ravens by 13
Forecast: Mid-60s, 60 percent chance of showers
Records: Ravens (Overall: 2-1, AFC North: 1-0), Browns (Overall: 0-3, AFC North 0-1)
Past results: Two most recent regular-season meetings: Dec. 24, 2011: Ravens 20, Browns 14; Dec. 4, 2011: Ravens 24, Browns 10. Series record: Ravens hold a 19-7 advantage.
What matters: After going against three former Pro Bowl quarterbacks, the Baltimore Ravens have an opportunity to turn the defense loose against Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. Weeden's thrown six interceptions to three touchdowns, showing inconsistency despite a solid Week 2 game against Cincinnati (322 yards, two TDs). The key will be for the Ravens outside linebackers to rattle Weeden early. Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw played faster against New England and got to Tom Brady to force hurried throws late in the game. If the Ravens take away the passing game, the defense will be able to load up the box to stop rookie RB Trent Richardson.
Who matters: Ray Rice has had his best games against Cleveland. In Week 13 of the 2011 season, Rice ran for a career-high 204 yards during a win over the Browns. Through three games in 2012, Rice is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and has seen a lot of running room behind his offensive line. The Ravens will continue to run their offense at a high tempo, though they will likely run the ball a little more than they have in the previous three weeks.
Key matchups: Ravens front seven vs. Richardson. If Richardson is limited in the run game, then the Browns will have little to no chance to defeat Baltimore. Expect OLB Albert McClellan to get plenty of playing time so he can set the edge against the run, with ILB Jameel McClain getting more game action than he has seen against the previous two pass-first teams. ... S Ed Reed vs. Weeden. Reed should have an easier week playing mind games with the opposing quarterback now that he's facing Weeden and not Brady. Weeden has made quite a few mistakes early, and if Reed can disguise looks in the defensive backfield that force Weeden into mistakes, then it could be a long night for Cleveland.
Injuries of note: The Ravens are relatively healthy on a short week. CB Lardarius Webb (knee), OL Jah Reid (calf) and LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (knee) were limited in practice on Tuesday but are expected to play Thursday.
Inside stuff: LG Ramon Harewood, who moved from tackle during the week of the fourth preseason game, has been a force in the running game. Rice is averaging 12 yards per carry behind Harewood, who's been delivering key blocks in the second level for the $40 million back. Running behind the left guard has been effective for the Ravens so far this year.
Connections: Before the Ravens came to Baltimore in 1996, they were the original Cleveland Browns. General Manager Ozzie Newsome was Cleveland's best tight end in franchise history, catching 662 passes for 7,980 yards. Ravens senior personnel assistant George Kokinis was Cleveland's general manager for part of the 2008 season. Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg and defensive line coach Clarence Brooks previously coached with the Browns. Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Browns coach Pat Shurmur and Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress were all once on the same staff in Philadelphia.
Stat you should know: Ravens receiver Torrey Smith has had five receptions for 25 yards or more this season, which ties Panthers receiver Steve Smith for most in the NFL. Smith holds a 23.5 yards per reception average, which ranks No. 1 among NFL receivers with at least 10 catches.
Looking ahead: After playing Cleveland on a short week, the Ravens will have plenty of time to rest before playing Kansas City on the road on Oct. 7. If the Ravens can add a win and improve to 3-1, they'll have a lot of confidence heading into the second quarter of the regular season.
Prediction: Ravens 24, Browns 13
Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter @CBSRavens and @JasonButtCBS.