CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Browns haven't made it to the Monday Night Football spotlight for six years. So here are five things you can look forward to tonight:
1. Josh McCown
The last time McCown faced the Ravens, back in mid-October, he d ropped a team-record 457 passing yards on them in a 33-30 overtime win. That was almost two months ago. Since then, McCown has been battered and bruised, missing the past two starts, and is only getting the call again tonight because Johnny Manziel is being punished. Still, the Ravens are a shell of themselves, with multiple injuries on both sides of the ball. McCown can feel their pain, literally, as he bounces back from the rib injury, and figuratively, as he's without two of his receivers, Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel, who are both dealing with concussions. McCown has been steady this season, and on his turf, won't need 457 to beat them again.
2. Gary Barnidge
Barnidge is not only McCown's go-to-guy, he's many fantasy owners' go-to-guy. He's the Browns' most reliable receiver, with 48 catches, 687 yards and seven touchdowns, and while he doesn't have Travis Benjamin's home-run capability, Barnidge has shown a flair for the dramatic. Ask the Ravens, who watched him catch a touchdown toss with his feet the first time they met.
3. The Browns Defense
The Browns defense ranks at or near the bottom in most categories, and has been incapable of stopping the run. But this time they catch a few breaks. No Joe Flacco, no Justin Forsett (who ran for 121 yards in the first meeting), and no Steve Smith. If they can't slow down the Ravens' backups, the situation is worse than we thought. Then again, we've said that before. Which brings me to...
4. Terrance West
The Browns' former third-round pick is back in his hometown of Baltimore, hoping to finally make an impact in the NFL, and will be back at FirstEnergy Stadium for the first time since the Browns traded him to the Titans in September. He'll back up Buck Allen, but should get some touches, and wants nothing more than to prove that the Browns made a mistake when they shipped him out of town.
5. Monday Night Football
This is the Browns' first appearance on MNF in six years, and for good reason. The network execs have had little reason to showcase this team to a national audience. A week ago, though, the powers-that-be at ESPN were excited, because Johnny is a prime-time player (or at least celebrity), and the promo that ran throughout last week's Monday night game featured only one player: Manziel. That was scrapped by Wednesday, when Johnny was benched. But for the rest of the Browns, it's a chance to show that maybe, just maybe, they can go down fighting this season. There's a little at stake here, even if it's only professional pride. Every other player in the league is watching. It's up to the Browns to finally make their show worth watching.
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