Key matchups in AFC East, NFC North

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Cleveland (0-2) at Baltimore (1-1)

The Ravens rank second in total defense, not a good omen for the Browns, whose 20 points scored are third lowest in the NFL. Baltimore’s offense can’t find its rhythm, particularly QB Joe Flacco, who comes off a wretched four-interception performance, and RB Ray Rice, who has gained only 179 yards overall. That rhythm figures to come soon, perhaps this week.

Meanwhile, Ray Lewis and his defensive buddies are holding strong, although they’ve yet to grab an interception.

Cincinnati (1-1) at Carolina (0-2)

Few places have a bigger mess than Carolina, where coach John Fox is in the last season of his contract, he’s switched from Matt Moore to rookie Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, and his vaunted two-pronged running game of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart ranks just 16th and has no TDs.

Cincinnati’s offense hasn’t exactly set the world atwitter, regardless of how much wideout buddies Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens tweet about their dynamism. Revitalized kicker Mike Nugent saved the Bengals last week with five field goals.

San Francisco (0-2) at Kansas City (2-0)

The Niners probably should have beaten the defending champion Saints last Monday night. Turnovers ruined them, including losing the ball inside the New Orleans 30 three times. That negated a pretty good effort by the defense, led by LB Patrick Willis, who is a force all over the field.

Now the 49ers get opportunistic Kansas City, which has been surprisingly staunch on run defense and, as expected, strong while running the ball with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.

Washington (1-1) at St. Louis (0-2)

After losing close games to Arizona and Oakland, the Rams should feel frisky enough to test the Redskins. St. Louis faces the NFL’s lowest-ranked defense, which is allowing nearly 390 yards through the air per week. Can top overall draft pick Sam Bradford find his unheralded receivers often enough to get a win?

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