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Late For Work 10/30: Fans Protest Ravens-Browns Matchup

Plus the experts’ picks, the Broncos’ chances of going undefeated and who Denver wants to stop.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, October 30th, 2009 at 9:07 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Fans Protest Ravens-Browns Matchup

Just when you think it can’t get any worse for the Cleveland Browns, their fans decided to take matters into their own hands.

Lifelong Browns fan Mike Randall, aka “Dawg Pound Mike,” asked other Cleveland fans to protest the opening kickoff of the Browns’ Nov. 16 home game against Baltimore.

And this isn’t just another AFC North Showdown. No, Randall wants the seats to be empty for the start of the nationally televised Monday night game.

In the Web site www.mobiledawg.com, the plea is entitled “Take Back Our Browns.” The Web site says, “First of all we are not doing this to embarass the team, players, fans or the city!! We want people to buy tickets, go to the game, be loud and support the team…but go to their seat after the kickoff. It is our statement to the Browns and the NFL that they need to listen to OUR FANS!!”

I’m not sure what the protest will accomplish. An empty stadium at kickoff can only help the Ravens. Plus, while the Browns are proving to be one of the worst teams in 2009, I don’t think the front office, coaches or players are holding anything back. I think they are losing because they just aren’t as good as their opponents. Will an empty stadium magically make them a more talented and competitive team?

Regardless, I will be incredibly interested to see if Dawg Pound Mike can pull this off.

Must-Win Scenario

Peter King of SI.com said the Broncos-Ravens game is the toughest pick of the week.

The Ravens are 3-3 and urgently need a win if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. A matchup against an undefeated team is not ideal in these desperate times. Undefeated or not, it seems most of the Internet world believes the Ravens will pull out a win over Denver. Most still aren’t sure if the Broncos are for real, and believe Baltimore has more motivation to fight for the “W.”

Baltimore Sun: six of six pick the Ravens
WJZ’s Mark Viviano: Ravens, 23-21
ESPN: Five of eight pick the Ravens
Yahoo! Sports: Four of four pick the Ravens
NFL.com:  Two of three pick the Broncos
USA Today: Four of eight pick the Ravens
SI.com’s Peter King: Ravens, 20-16
Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager:  Ravens, 20-16

Will They Go Undefeated?

ESPN AFC West blogger Bill Williamson wonders if the Broncos can go 16-0 this season. If anyone knows how to accomplish such a feat, its Denver’s head coach Josh McDaniels. McDaniels was the offensive coordinator of the record-breaking New England Patriots in 2007. So, Williamson believes this isn’t too big for McDaniels.

The Ravens almost played spoiler to the Patriots in 2007, and would love nothing more than to break the Broncos’ run and get back on a winning streak of their own.

Denver’s Priority: Stop Mason

Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post said the Broncos’ main priority must be to keep the ball out of Derrick Mason’s hands on Sunday or their defense is going to have a problem.

“(He) puts up big numbers every year,” Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. “When he retired this year, you see the lengths they went to to get him back, so obviously he means a lot to that team. He doesn’t ask for the attention, but he’s constantly productive.”

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