1. The Browns need to keep rookie running back Trent Richardson rolling against the struggling Ravens defense. Richardson is coming off a career-high 122 yards on 24 carries last week but there’s still room for improvement. Richardson, a first-round pick, has converted only two-of-seven attempts facing third-and-1. Richardson looks to rectify that poor percentage against a Ravens defense that has been uncharacteristically poor this season, especially against the run. The Ravens are 28th in overall defense (allowing 400 yards per game) and are 30th against the run (142.9) and 24th against the pass (257.1).
2. Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden needs to know where Ravens veteran safety Ed Reed is at all times. Reed lives for games against the Browns. He has more interceptions (10), interception return yards (356) and interceptions for touchdowns (three) against the Browns than any other opponent.
3. The Browns’ defense needs a repeat performance to keep Ravens running back Ray Rice contained. On Sept. 27, Rice was held to 49 yards, his lowest output in nine games against the Browns. He still averages 91.6 yards per game against the Browns and his 824 total yards is the most he’s gained against any NFL opponent.
4. The Browns need to start doing a better job of capitalizing on their turnovers. The Browns have forced 16 turnovers (tied for fifth best in the league) this season. But they have turned those turnovers into only 35 points. That total includes two interceptions returned for touchdowns, meaning the offense has produced only 21 points off 14 other turnovers.
5. The Browns need to take advantage of the Ravens’ short-handed defense. Veteran linebacker Ray Lewis (torn triceps) is out for the season. Ditto for cornerback Lardarius Webb (torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee). All-Pro tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained medial collateral ligament and shoulder) didn’t practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Without Ngata, a big component in the Ravens’ run defense, Richardson should be able to improve considerably on the 47 yards he gained in the first game.