1. The Browns need to limit the receptions of Ravens receiver Torrey Smith. In his second season, Smith is averaging 23.5 yards per catch, six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns Sunday night against the New England Patriots less than 24 hours after the death of his 19-year-old brother, Tevin, in a motorcycle accident.
2. On the ground, the Browns need to limit running back Ray Rice. Rice shredded the Browns’ defense in both meetings last season. He had his third-best career performance in yards from scrimmage Dec. 4 when he totaled 214 yards, including 204 rushing on 29 carries. This season, Rice has 268 yards (a 5.8 average) and three touchdowns on 46 carries.
3. The Browns need to catch the ball. Browns receivers had at least four dropped passes Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. On Monday, coach Pat Shurmur called out second-year receiver Greg Little for his drops.
4. The offensive line needs to protect rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden better than last week, when the Bills sacked him four times. The challenge doesn’t get any easier in this game against three-time Pro Bowl starter Haloti Ngata. One of the league’s most athletic defensive tackles, Ngata has 19.5 career sacks.
5. The Browns have to get rookie running back Trent Richardson going again. Richardson struggled in the opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, bounced back with a good showing against the Cincinnati Bengals, then regressed against the Bills. Against the Bills, Richardson rushed 12 times for 27 yards (2.3 yards per carry). In 50 carries as a pro, he’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry.