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Month: September 2017

10/1/2017 Steelers Pregame

Ever taken the trash outside in the heat of summer and when you lift the lid a foul and putrid smell wafts up into the air assaulting your nostrils. And in response you quickly toss the bag in – shutting the lid – hoping to minimize the stench in the air, and as you walk away you are painfully aware that this horrendous smell lingers in your nose. That’s exactly how I feel right now as I share my thoughts for the upcoming game with the Steelers. It is hard to put that Jags game out of my memory, and I fear that this may be the case for some of the Ravens players as well. A poor performance like that has to shake your confidence and while you would like to name the many reasons for this (jet lag, new field, new surroundings …) you can’t explain losing by 37 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars. There aren’t enough reasons to get there!

So here we are a few days away from taking on our divisional rival Steelers. Typically the media sports shows would be flooded with comments about the game and what to expect for Steeler week, but this week it is all about the “knee”. I personally look forward to the day when we get back to the game, but I suspect the media will keep this up front and center for some time to come. I however will move on. Last Sunday the Steelers lost in overtime to the Bears, a team that they should have beaten – but came up short in OT. Their run defense looked poor and their offense was not firing on all cylinders. That said, the Steelers have some great skill players on the offensive side of the ball and quite frankly they have more talent than the Ravens. Offensively you have to give a big edge to the Steelers. Coach Harbaugh and the Ravens have a lot to prove this week. You can say all you want about bouncing back, correcting mistakes, and turning things around – but unless you show it on the field and in your game planning it doesn’t mean much. Talk is cheap, good whiskey costs money. The good news is – this week we are at home which should bring better play from Flacco and provide some extra incentive for the team to perform.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly for this week’s game

  • The Good – Home game, running game ranked 4th, Steelers bring out our best, 12th fan, and games typically close
  • The Bad – No Urban (foot surgery), Brandon (?), confidence shaken, injuries mounting, Antonio Brown owns the Ravens, Steelers 2nd in sacks, and Ravens O line is awful
  • The Ugly – Ravens rank dead last in the league in passing yards at 134 ypg, Buffalo who ranks 31st averages 187 ypg – so we own last place by a margin of 53 ypg. Ravens also rank dead last in yards per game.

These contests are typically very close and most games are decided by 3 points or less. If not for last week’s debacle, the Ravens may have been the favorites this week, but the odds makers wisely have the Steelers by 3, and I think they will cover. The Ravens offense needs to come out fast and determined. Mornhinweg needs to game plan around a subpar O line and give Flacco some protection with “stay at home” tight ends and blocking backs. Defense needs to play within themselves and avoid over pursuit – if they don’t you will see Bell have a career day both on the ground and on screen plays out in the flat. Coach Pees needs to dial up some blitz schemes that get Big Ben some hits otherwise it will put too much pressure on our coverage teams. In spite of all my negative comments today, the Ravens are still sitting at the top of the AFC North and can maintain that spot with a win on Sunday. I hope I am wrong with my predictions this week and that things do in fact bounce back for the Ravens. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Pittsburgh Steelers hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday – October 1st @ 1:00 PM Odds – Steelers by 3

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 19 Steelers 24
Turnovers Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 111 Steelers 125
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 182 Steelers 249

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Alex Collins leads the Ravens run game with 14 carries/81 yds
  • Bell carries for 18 carries/116 yds
  • Flacco’s streak of games with an interception continues at 10
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
Ravens lose another to the IR in loss to Steelers
Flacco’s rebounds this week but comes up short

Keys to the Game

  • Contain Brown/Bell/Bryant and don’t give up big plays
  • Establish the run game and set up the play action
  • Win the turnover battle by plus 2 or better

Special Bonus – If you haven’t see this bone head play by the Bears Marcus Cooper you will have to take a look.

Ravens/Jags Post Game Recap

The Baltimore Ravens got it handed to them today and the game was essentially over by the 1st half which made it all the more demoralizing for them. The Jaguars came to play and their game planning to take on the Ravens was brilliant. They made the Ravens defense look inept and confused. The Jags defense was smothering and suffocating keeping the Ravens to a total of 186 yards on the day. I don’t want to take anything away from the Jags effort today, but this was not a well prepared Ravens team, and they were out coached and out played in every facet of the game – including special teams. Pees was slow to introduce any blitz pressure and Mornhinweg had no imagination on his play calling. Execution on both sides of the ball was pathetic. Somehow the Ravens will have to put this historically bad game in the rear view mirror and hope that this was an anomaly. Other thoughts (almost all of them negative) on the game are below:

  • The first offensive series was an unimpressive start as Flacco gets sacked and Sam gets off a 25 yard punt. Sadly this was a foreshadowing of what was to come for the day
  • This Ravens defense is susceptible to the screen pass and their over pursuit on play action got them in trouble all day long as guys got out of their lanes and assignments
  • The Ravens offensive line is horrible without Yanda and Lewis, and sadly there is no fix coming this year which means we will have to endure this bad O line play all year long
  • To me what was most frustrating today – was seeing Bortles have all day to throw and even when he couldn’t find a receiver – the pass rushers could not keep him contained in the pocket and Bortles burned us on several scampers
  • Ravens receivers had the dropsies today and were of no help to a struggling offense
  • Mr. Mornhinweg please stop using West on passes out on the flat, he is more concerned about getting hit then catching the ball
  • 1st quarter stats for the Jags offense – 10 pts, 169 yards, TOP 10:25, 8 first downs
  • 1st quarter stats for the Ravens offense – 0 pts, -1 yard, TOP 4:35 and no first downs, 2 sacks
  • 1st half stats for Ravens offense – 0 pts, 15 yards, TOP 8:10, minus 4 yards passing, and 1 first down
  • Mosely had a rough day getting burned in the middle of field and missing some tackles, and he will not enjoy watching the tape this week
  • Mike Wallace running down the sidelines with his hands out stretched for 5 seconds looks like a guy who wants to draw a penalty versus making a catch – he can do better
  • Ravens got their first 1st down with 4:13 remaining in the second quarter
  • When Maclin bobbled the ball into the defender’s hands you had that feeling that absolutely nothing was going to go your way
  • Ravens commit 9 penalties for 88 yards – not the look of a disciplined team
  • Flacco’s stats on the day are so humiliating I can’t bring myself to putting them in writing – I would argue the worst of his career
  • After watching this game, I am wondering how much will this beat down work on the psyche of the Ravens team, and will this horrendous loss put them into a tail spin over the next several weeks as they play good teams
  • I have absolutely no idea where Weddle and Webb were today, but it wasn’t in the secondary providing any support
  • Play of the Day – Terrance West fumbles and the ball is scooped up by a Jags linebacker and Flacco goes step for step with a speedy linebacker and while fighting off a block brings him down inside the 5 yard line – well played Mr. Flacco
  • John Harbaugh’s stock took a hit today and his team lost their composer and humiliated themselves with foolish personal fouls
  • Ravens defense was really week in the red zone – and put up no resistance
  • Ravens get their first score with 3:24 remaining in the game but do avoid the goose egg. Nice play by Ben Watson who got his first TD with Ravens and had a nice second effort to get into the end zone

Odds – Ravens by 3 ½ I hope that no one took this bet

Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 23 Jaguars 17 Ravens 7 Jaguars 44
Turnovers Plus 2 Minus 3
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 122 Jaguars 97 Ravens 134 Jaguars 167
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 207 Jaguars 179 Ravens 52 Jaguars 244

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Ravens force 3 turnovers        Did I say Ravens – I meant to say Jags
  • Ravens get their first defensive score          Incorrect
  • Flacco gets sacked 4 times           Incorrect, just 2 but he didn’t play the 4th quarter
  • Refs make terrible calls            Some of the PF calls were unnecessary

Keys to the Game

  • Pressure Bortles and get some pads on him     Nope, not even pressured a little
  • Play penalty free – don’t beat yourself       Nope, 8 penalties for 88 yards
  • Win the turnover battle     Nope, Minus 3

9/24/2017 Jaguars Pregame

The Ravens head to London this week for their first ever London game. The NFL began playing regular season games in London in 2007 and this year the NFL will host 4 games in London for the first time. The Jaguars are old hat with this London thing and will be playing for their 5th consecutive year in the Big Smoke. The Jaguars, who suffer with poor home attendance, have been the home team every year that they have played in London. Not sure that being the home team in London is that meaningful really, but one would think that having played this many consecutive years would have garnered some following from the Londoners. It will certainly feel strange to be watching a Ravens game at 9:30 in the morning.  I am really looking forward to seeing the stadium crowd on Sunday to see how many Ravens fans are there.

Last Sunday delivered a gut wrenching injury to Marshall Yanda who is arguable one their very best players. It is hard to predict right now how much that will hurt the performance of the offensive line, but you can be certain they will not be as good as they were. Yanda’s presence on that O line brought more than just his excellent play – he was a leader and an anchor to that group. The Ravens have accumulated a league worst 15 players on injured reserve and that is after just 2 regular season games. If you thought last year was bad, the Ravens only had 18 players on IR through a full season. You have no time to lament injuries in the NFL, no one cares and no one wants to hear the excuses. In response to the injuries last Sunday the Ravens made several changes to their roster and to their practice squad.

Sunday’s game is a bit quirky to figure out. Traveling 3600 miles, 5 hour time difference, playing in a soccer stadium, and all new surroundings are likely to get you a bit off your game. Let’s hope that the Ravens don’t play like they are suffering from jet lag. To be fair the Jags have the same issues too, but this is their 5th time and they have a better feel for how these changes affect you. The Jags are tough to figure out this year as they flat out dominated the Texans in week one, and then took a beating when they faced the Titans in week two. That is exactly why you can’t really size up a team until you get about four weeks into the season. The Jags have a decent defense and they play very physical, and through week 2 lead the league in sacks with 11. The Ravens are going to have trouble on the offensive side of the ball and I don’t think this will be a high scoring affair. Fortunately for us, the Jags have not looked good on offense either. Both teams will to want to run the ball effectively and I would expect both teams to have around 30 carries each by end of game. The Ravens should have the edge in running the ball. Expect the Ravens to use the three headed monster of West, Allen and Collins for about ten carries each. If Collins doesn’t protect the ball this week you can bet he will ride the pine for a while. You will likely see Campanaro (if he plays) line up in the backfield a few times and run at least one end around play. Bortles is off to a slow start this year and hopefully the turnover rich Ravens can continue to find interceptions. Mornhinweg will dial up a lot of play action and roll outs to protect Flacco from a patch work O line and a very good Jags pass rush. Sunday’s contest should look somewhat similar to the Brown’s game but with the Jags getting less yards and producing less turnovers. Vegas has the Ravens by 3 ½ points and I expect them to cover. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Baltimore Ravens – September 24th at 9:30 am
Odds – Ravens by 3 ½

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 23 Jaguars 17
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 122 Jaguars 97
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 207 Jaguars 179

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Ravens force 3 turnovers
  • Ravens get their first defensive score
  • Flacco gets sacked 4 times
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers

  • Ravens D bortles up the Jags
  • Allen, West and Collins – a firm you can count on!

Keys to the Game

  • Pressure Bortles and get some pads on him
  • Play penalty free – don’t beat yourself
  • Win the turnover battle

Sorry Jags fans, the queen is a Ravens fan!

Ravens/Browns Post Game Recap

The Ravens held court today winning convincingly over the much improved Cleveland Browns. The five turnovers by the Ravens defense makes it two weeks in a row and a trend that you have to hope continues. Flacco, with a full week of practice, was very good today and much improved from last week, and I think he did that with pass protection being less than stellar. For those of you that seriously thought that this year’s defense was comparable to the 2000 defense I hope that today’s game put those thoughts to rest. The Ravens defense is good and so far through these first 2 games is generating a lot of turnovers, but they are not as suffocating defense that we saw in 2000 as evidenced by the Browns racking up 386 yards on the backs of two rookie quarterbacks. Other thoughts on the game:

  • Suggs gets a sack and another forced fumble with pressure from the blind side – well done Sizzle!
  • Injury bug continues to haunt the Ravens with several guys getting hurt today – a few of which include Yanda who has a leg fracture and out for the season, Brandon Williams injured foot, and Bam Bradley who tore his ACL and is done for the year– this is most disappointing
  • Perriman drops a pass right in his hands on the first possession and quite frankly this is why he doesn’t get more targets from Flacco as there is no confidence he will make the play
  • James Hurst is a liability in pass protection – he is slow and gets pushed into the backfield
  • Cleveland’s defense was solid and they were very physical and fast to the ball and I see good things coming from this unit
  • CJ had another big day with 10 tackles and is beginning to put together another pro bowl season
  • Webb got burned on the middle of field a few times but all is forgiven as he gets an end zone pick with the Browns on the 7 yard line
  • Weddle’s interception was huge as the Browns were moving down the field with ease and in scoring range
  • Mike Wallace gets lazy sometimes in games and doesn’t finish plays and today it created a interception
  • Ravens gave up several big plays in the secondary and will need to clean that up before we play the better teams
  • Ben Watson had his coming out party today with 8 receptions and 91 yards – hope we see more of that
  • Ravens did not get enough pressure with four rushing as the Browns protection was up to the challenge and gave Kizer and Hogan a lot of time which made me wonder why Pees didn’t dial up more blitzes in known passing downs especially in the first 3 quarters
  • I am going to call out all special team penalties on kick and punt returns because they so avoidable – so today Patrick Onwuaser gets the goat award for holding on one of the punts
  • Going for the 58 yard field goal late in the 1st quarter was in hinds site a bad coaching call as it gave the Browns great field position and could have cost the Ravens
  • I really thought that Ravens should have taken the 3 points at the end of the half instead of going for the 6 points as it still would have given a 2 score lead, but in this case it worked out and made the coaching staff look brilliant
  • How big was that 37 yard run by Buck Allen near the end of the second half which set up that score before the half
  • If the Browns clean up their penalties and the turnovers they are going to be a team to be reckoned with as the season goes forward – I don’t relish seeing them in Cleveland in week 15
  • Today I would have traded our wide receivers straight up with Cleveland’s no name receivers who ran great routes and made great catches. The Ravens wide receivers had 5 receptions for 38 yards and in my opinion have no wide receiver on this roster who has what I would describe as having great hands
  • Ravens ground game was solid again with 32 carries for 136 yards and a rushing touch down
  • Jimmy Smith did not have his best day giving up several receptions and committing 2 penalties
  • Watson, Williams and Boyle are all decent tight ends and have and will be a big part of this offense this year. Today they accounted for 13 receptions and 121 yards
  • Alex Collins, who came out of nowhere, was one of my favorite players today until he coughed up the ball
  • In the “what it is worth department” I think Hogan was playing better than Kizer and was surprised that Coach Jackson put him back in the game in the second half, but so glad that he did
  • Hats off to the Coach Mornhinweg for calling a lot of roll outs for Flacco which kept him from getting his clock cleaned
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 24 Browns 16 Ravens 24 Browns 10
Turnovers Plus 1 Plus 3
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 92 Browns 77 Ravens 136 Browns 93
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 207 Browns 169 Ravens 201 Browns 293

 

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Wallace leads all receivers with 6 receptions and 71 yards – Did I say Wallace I meant to say Watson
  • Ravens commit 9 penalties for 75 yards – Incorrect, 7 penalties for 45 yards
  • Judon, Urban and Pierce each get a sack – Incorrect all three of them were goose eggs
  • Refs make terrible calls – Missed on several obvious penalties and called some questionable penalties that weren’t

Keys to the Game

  • Win the turnover battle – Correct, today they were plus 3
  • Stop the Run – Neutral – Browns had 21 attempts for 93 yards which is respectable
  • Protect Flacco and keep him upright – Neutral, O line gave up 2 sacks for 16 yards, but Flacco didn’t get hit too bad

9/17/2017 Browns Pregame

Cleveland Browns versus the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, September 17th
Odds – Ravens by 7 ½

Ravens kick off week 2 in their home opener against the 0-1 Browns. The Ravens will need to fight the urge to think too much of themselves after a dominating performance in Cincinnati. Sometimes early success can be misleading and no one wants to see this Browns contest to turn into a trap game for the Ravens. Here’s why you can’t look past the Browns – they played respectably against the Steelers last week and they held Le’Veon Bell to just 32 yards on 10 carries which is clearly saying something. If you take away the monster game that Antonio Brown had (182 yds. on 11 receptions) you would have to say that the Browns kept the Steeler’s high flying offense in check. Steelers only won by 3. This is a stronger Browns team than we have seen in recent years, especially on defense. The Browns new rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer had an impressive debut going 20 of 30 and passing for 222 yards against a pretty stout Steeler’s defense. He can also run which adds another twist to his game. DeShone did get sacked 7 times which might indicate that he holds the ball too long. He will have his hands full against the Ravens defense and a very loud M&T Stadium

Ravens have been dominating over the Browns under the Harbaugh and Flacco era going 16 and 2 over the past 9 years. While the Ravens offense looked unspectacular this past week, they will have the benefit of Flacco getting a full week of practice with his receivers. I don’t expect Flacco to set the world on fire Sunday, but I do expect him to improve from last week and to take more shots down field. Fortunately, the Ravens don’t have to worry about Joe Hayden in the secondary as the Browns released him this past summer. I think the Ravens may have some tough sledding with their run game this week, but they will have to find a way to stay the course and try to work in 25 plus runs throughout the game. I would not be surprised at all to see Campanaro get a few touches as well as get some passes out of the backfield. They will want to find a way to replace the roll that Woodhead was giving to their offense. Joe always plays better when he has a good safety net receiver.

Ravens will come out Sunday with the same game plan that they used in Cincy – swarming defense, pound the rock, and play flawless special teams. A few turnovers should come their way and the offense will make the most of them. Passing game will take a step forward and Flacco should get over 200 yards this week. Ravens love home cooking and they play some of their best in front of the home crowd. I expect DeShone to be rattled by the noise and intimidating defense which should lead to some mistakes. The fans will be loud and will create havoc for the Cleveland offense and their rookie quarterback. Looking forward to seeing the match up of Suggs against Joe Thomas who has gotten the better of Suggs in recent years. The odds makers have the Ravens by 7 ½ and I believe they will cover that. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 24 Browns 16
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 92 Browns 77
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 207 Browns 169

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Wallace leads all receivers with 6 receptions and 71 yards
  • Ravens commit 9 penalties for 75 yards
  • Judon, Urban and Pierce each get a sack
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers

  • Flacco out DeShones the Browns
  • West and Allen grind out another one

Keys to the Game

  • Win the turnover battle
  • Stop the Run
  • Protect Flacco and keep him upright

Ravens/Bengals Post Game Recap

Well Ravens fans, I didn’t see that coming! The Ravens absolutely manhandled the Bengals today and it just goes to show you what you can do when you get 5 turnovers. Had the Ravens not made those timely picks and forced fumble the Bengals would have most certainly put up some points. Happy to be wrong on this one and to end the streak of losing at Paul Brown stadium. Today was huge win for the Ravens and whenever you can get a road win in the NFL you have to be pleased, and when the win is in your division all the more special. Hats off to the coaching staff for calling a brilliant game on all sides of the ball. Other thoughts on the game below:

  • Suggs in his 15th season looked like he was 25 years old today and was disruptive in his play earning 2 sacks and forced fumble
  • After hearing for years that they want to run the ball the Ravens actually delivered on the promise and ran the ball a whopping 43 times
  • Limiting Flacco to just 17 pass attempts was smart as it is going to take him a few weeks to get his legs under him as well as develop some chemistry with this offensive unit
  • Loved their first possession of the game burning just shy of 8 minutes of clock and drawing first blood with a score
  • I really hope that Woodhead’s injury is not too serious or prolonged because he was a big part of the passing game before he got hurt in the 1st quarter
  • Pitching a shutout on the road is almost unheard of in the NFL, I do hope that that this is a sign of more good things to come
  • Ravens committed 11 penalties for 85 yards today, which is a continuation of penalty issues over the past few years
  • Bengals had everything going for them today with home opener, celebrating 50 years as a franchise and a host of past Bengal players. I can’t imagine how disappointed their team and fans must be this afternoon.
  • The offensive line did not look great to me but were serviceable enough to get the job done. Jensen had 3 holding penalties and Hurst got burned on the edge and it created a big hit on Flacco
  • The injury bug was out again today with injuries to Woodhead and Z. Smith – at least that is what we know of as right now as there could be others
  • Mosley’s pick was huge and a really nice catch as he skied to get the ball. If the defense is successful this year it will be in part due to his strong play
  • Flacco as you would have expect was rusty and out of sync with receivers. Most of his passes down field looked bad and were not close
  • The Ravens with 3rd and 7 with 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter – Flacco hit’s Maclin with a perfect strike and he takes it to the house
  • Webb’s intercession was amazing no doubt his punt return skills came into play considering that this ball when 40 feet straight up in the air
  • Carlos Dunlap is a stud and was handful for the Ravens O Line all day
  • The Ravens burned clock all day and really shortened the game leaving it all but impossible for the Bengals to mount a come back
  • My personal pet peeve is blocking in the back on punt returns and today Chris Moor gets the goat award for getting called for one today, which really hurt our field position
  • You could feel the bad blood brewing between these teams and you just felt at any minute that a fight was going to break out between them
  • Ravens defense gave up just 221 yards today which is impressive given the talent that Bengals have on the offensive side of the ball
  • Ravens running game was solid (3.7 ypc) and I liked the speed in which they hit holes and the angles they took to get yardage which is pretty impressive given the average talent of both the backs and the O line.
  • Seeing a rushing TD from 5 yards out was a breath of fresh air and very encouraging

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Flacco goes 21 of 34 with 1 TD and 1 interception – Pretty close 9 of 17 for 1 TD and I interception
  • Bengals player delivers a late hit on Flacco square in the back – They got to him legitimately
  • Ryan Jensen gets called for 2 penalties – PF and holding – Correct he actually committed 3 holding penalties
  • Refs make terrible calls – Missed several holding calls on the Bengals O Line

Keys to the Game

  • Control field position and the Time of Possession – Correct – TOP 34 minutes
  • Keep AJ Green to less than 70 yards and out of the end zone – Correct -74 yards and no TDs
  • Win the turnover battle – Correct – Ravens forced 5 turnovers and only gave back 1
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 13 Bengals 23 Ravens 20 Bengals 0
Turnovers Minus 1 Plus 4
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 78 Bengals 111 Ravens 157 Bengals 77
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 209 Bengals 251 Ravens 111 Bengals 144

9/10/2017 – Bengals Pregame

Welcome to the 2017 NFL season sports fans! A lot has changed since the Ravens walked off the field this past January when they suffered a season ending loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. This season, oddly enough, will start where it ended with the Ravens opening their season at Paul Brown Stadium where they have not won since 2011. The Ravens are featuring a lot of new faces on this team and some of them have found their way on to the starting lineup. Numerous injuries, some untimely retirements and players signing with other teams have given way for new players to try and make their mark on Ravens. To recap some of the preseason challenges, the Ravens have lost 3 players to retirement, and 12 to injured reserve – many of which were starters last season. That said, none of these tough circumstances are an excuse to lose – the mantra “next man up” is what you have to live by in the NFL and hope that your front office has provided enough roster depth to keep you competitive.

So how are things shaping up for the Ravens opener against the Bengals on Sunday? After sweeping all four preseason games do the Ravens really have enough game to end the losing streak in Cincinnati? Here is what I see with the Ravens as they enter the season. The defense looks very good and if they stay healthy they are likely to be a top 5 defense this year. I know it is early to say this, but I believe the personnel is there. They are very deep with talent on the D line and they will be tough against the run, and their secondary is stronger and deeper than last year’s unit. The pass rush looks better and will hopefully improve on their team ranking (19th) from last year. If they want to beat the Bengals – getting to Andy Dalton will be paramount. The Ravens offense is a different story and was downright awful in the preseason, but that was also without Joe Flacco at the helm. The problems facing Flacco and the offense are manifold, some of which include extremely limited practice time for Joe and his receivers, a patch work O line that includes some average to poor players, a lackluster group of running backs, virtually no chemistry as an offensive unit, and they will face one of the better defensive teams in the NFL. We should expect the Ravens to have trouble scoring points, especially early in the season as Flacco learns his new offensive line and receivers. Add to that the foreboding concern about Flacco’s ailing back and how well that will hold up during physical play. I would not expect to see too many 4 receiver sets as they will likely keep backs and tight ends back for protection. The offense will have difficulty converting on 3rd down which will put additional pressure on the defense as they spend much of the day on the field. That all said, Sunday will be great fun to see the Ravens back on the grid iron. Don’t expect a road win to start the season, the Ravens have not played well on the road for a couple years now and until they prove otherwise – one would assume they will struggle on the road against the better teams. The Bengals are a good team and have one of the best receivers in the game with AJ Green and he seems to save his best days against the purple and black. It is worth noting that Pac Man Jones and Vontaze Burfict will miss the game as they serve out their suspensions which is good news for the Ravens. It is also worth noting that the Bengals have a weak O Line which may provide some nice opportunities for Judon and Suggs. The odds makers have the Bengals by 3 and I believe that they will easily cover that. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Baltimore Ravens – September 10th at 1:00 pm          Odds – Bengals by 3

Game Predictions

  • Score Ravens 13 Bengals 23
  • Turnovers Minus 1
  • Net Rushing Yardage   Ravens 78     Bengals 111
  • Net Passing Yardage    Ravens 209   Bengals 251

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Flacco goes 21 of 34 with 1 TD and 1 interception
  • Bengals player delivers a late hit on Flacco square in the back
  • Ryan Jensen gets called for 2 penalties – PF and holding
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines

  • Ravens extend losing streak at Paul Brown Stadium to 6 straight
  • Flacco rusty in season opener Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game

  • Control field position and the Time of Possession
  • Keep AJ Green to less than 70 yards and out of the end zone
  • Win the turnover battle

September 12, 2016 – Bills – Recap

The Ravens win the home opener and get the job done in a game that only produced a total of 20 points.  The Bills came ready to play today and they brought their nasty style of defense to M&T but the  Ravens were up to the challenge.  The Ravens defense held last year’s number 4 offense to just 160 total yards of offense albeit this team is managed by Rex.  It is true that the Ravens have some things to work on to improve but you have to be pleased with the team effort especially when there were so many that had to knock off the rust from being out so long.  It was great seeing Flacco, Forsett, Smith, Pitta and Suggs all playing again and looking healthy.  Ravens passed their first test, now we will see how they do when they go on the road.  Other thoughts on the game are below.

 

  • If I was giving game balls I would have given it to Shareece Wright.  He was all over the field and made some spectacular tackles (11) of which 3 were for losses.  He also made two of the tackles on the Bill’s first possession which set the tone for the day.  For a guy who was played underwhelming in the preseason – he looked all world against the Bills.
  • The Ravens O line did a subpar job protecting Joe (sacked 4 times) and the Bills were often able to get pressure with just 4 .  Add to that the O line committed 3 of the 6 penalties.  Zutah especially looked bad today (bad snap) and was having a lot of trouble handling pressure up the middle.  Yanda committed two of the penalties which was a surprise.
  • Ravens defense recorded 2 sacks but watching the game it felt to me that Tyrod had plenty of time to throw on most plays.  We really need Dumervil to return soon and I would expect Judon to get more snaps in the coming week.  I like Jernigan and Williams in the middle but in my opinion they don’t really generate that much pass pressure.
  • The play calling today left me wanting more, and I will never understand why the Ravens on 3rd and short do not throw passes past the chains. It makes no sense to me and they did twice in this game and once on 4th If I am missing something here please enlighten me.
  • Now that we have 3 burners on this team, I would like to see more wide out sets that push corner coverage and safeties out to the sidelines to open up the middle of the field.  Too often our receiver packages are bunched to the strong side.
  • The defense played fast today and there was quick pursuit to the ball.  I was really happy to see them contain the running game which they had not done all that well during the preseason.
  • Perriman’s catch down field was impressive and if he can make those kinds of acrobatic catches throughout the season he will be a nice addition.
  • The Ravens did a nice job of getting into 3rd and short situations but unfortunately still only converted 6 out of 16.  This needs to get better as the offense gets more in sync.
  • Flacco’s pass to Wallace was a thing of beauty and the fact that Mike was able to take to the house was a clear message to the league that Mike is back.
  • Ravens didn’t generate a turnover yesterday which fortunately didn’t affect the outcome, but they will need them to beat the better teams in the league.
  • Tucker and Koch did a good job with their kicking duties, but the rest of the special teams were mediocre at best.  Hester looked like he still has some cob webs on his returns but at least he did not cough up the ball.  Tavon Young had one punt where he could have laid the lumber on the returner but whiffed because he was staring at the sky looking for the ball.
  • Trestman’s play calling and game plan was too heavy on the pass game in the second half and I thought they could have run the ball more.
  • How cool was it when Pitta made his first catch of the game to hear the fans go crazy cheering.
  • As far as I could tell there were not any injuries for the Ravens yesterday which was nice to see.

 

 

Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 23 Bills 17 Ravens 13 Bills 7
Turnovers Plus 1 Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 99 Bills 108 Ravens 83 Bills 65
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 269 Bills 201 Ravens 225 Bills 95

 

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Judon gets his first sack of his NFL career No sack, but he did come close and also registered a QB hit
  • Bills receive 8 penalties for 70 yards Close, it was 8 penalties for 89 yards
  • Aiken leads all receivers with 7 receptions No, only 2 catches as Flacco used 10 different receivers
  • Refs make terrible calls They missed a key hold on 4th down and gave some poor ball spots

 

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers

  • Joe Cool looks solid in home opener
  • Ravens win, but injury bug plagues them again

 

Keys to the Game

  • The offensive line needs to set the tone and establish running lanes They did an ok job for their first outing and especially given that 2 new players on the lefty side
  • Get pressure on Tyrod and keep him contained They kept Tyrod from getting big runs and made move out of the pocket
  • Play penalty free 6 penalties for 35 yards which is ok, but I like that they had no PF calls against them
  • Win the turnover battle Nope, we didn’t generate any and ended the day minus one

 

 

 

September 21, 2014 – Browns – Pregame

The Ravens are coming off a decisive win against the Steelers and now head into Cleveland for their 3rd consecutive intra-division game.  The Browns seem to be a new and improved team this year and they are featuring a lively running game with the baby back rookies – Terrance West (TU stand out) and Isaiah Crowell, not to mention Ben Tate who came to them in the off season.  Beating the Saints at home also served noticed to the league that this is not the same old Browns.  Personally, I don’t think the Ravens are heading into Cleveland thinking that this will be a walk over win.  They beat us last year and their defense was very tough to move the ball against.  However, the Ravens are coming off a 10 day rest and I think the extra time, given their injuries, will help give them the added edge to win this game.  For the record, the Ravens are 11-1 in the last 12 games and I would expect that trend to continue.  One concern for the Ravens is that Flacco was sick this week and did miss at least one practice.  Let’s hope that is at full health as he will need to be sharp to beat the Browns on the road and let’s all hope he can get going early.  This game is likely to be close but the Ravens are the better team and this is one road win in their schedule that cannot afford to lose – and they know that.  Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

 

Cleveland Browns hosting the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, September 21st @ 1:00 PM     Odds – Ravens by 1

 

versus                                 You

 

Game Predictions

Score:                   Ravens  24  Browns 23

Turnovers:           Plus 1

Rushing:               Ravens 134 yards/Browns 104 yards

Passing:                Ravens 248 yards/Browns 211 yards

 

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Ravens RBs combine for 28 carries for 134
  • Senior has 7 receptions for 83 yards
  • Jacoby takes one to the house
  • Joe Thomas handles Sizzle and holds him sackless again
  • Refs make terrible calls

 

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers

  • Browns get Cundiff’ed
  • Another ugly win by the Ravens

Keys to the Game

  • Win the turnover battle
  • Convert on 3rd downs
  • Win the line of scrimmage

December 28, 2016 – Bengals – Pregame

Coming off the heart breaking loss to the Steelers, the Ravens head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals who currently have a 4 game (at  home) winning streak against them.  The last time the Ravens beat Andy Dalton in Paul Brown Stadium was January 1st, 2012.  As we wrap up the 2016 season neither team has anything on the line – except for team pride – that said I think this game will deliver a typical Bengals / Ravens hard fought contest.  Some reports indicate that AJ Green will miss the game which would make sense since he is dealing with a hamstring tear and could further injure himself in a non-critical game.  Dalton plays well against the Ravens and with Smith out he should be able to get his share of passing yards even without Green.  One could argue that you should lose so you can get a better draft position, but I don’t think the Ravens nor the Bengals will take that position.  Ravens finishing 9 and 7 would be a significant improvement from last year and would build some momentum for the future.  Flacco is playing better the last few weeks and the running game is looking solid so I am expecting the Ravens to win Sunday and sweep the series with the Bengals.  This could be Steve Smith’s last game so it will be interesting to see how he plays in this season finale.  The Ravens defense should be motivated this week and hopefully they will find a way to contain the Bengals play makers.  This game is likely to be another close one but with no big stakes on the line your finger nails should be safe.  Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

 

Cincinnati Bengals hosting the  Baltimore Ravens –  Sunday Afternoon – January 1st  @ 1:00 PM       Odds –  Bengals by 2 ½

 

    versus

 

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 23 Bengals 20
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 92 Bengals 107
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 255 Bengals 254

 

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Flacco goes 25 of 38 with 2 TDs and 1 interception
  • Burfict plays dirty and gets called for a PF
  • On a Jets sweep Campanaro gains 22 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls

 

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers

  • Ravens win in Paul Brown Stadium, Finally!!!
  • Smith finishes with a bang!

 

Keys to the Game

  • Contain Bengals receivers LaFell, Boyed and Eifert
  • Play balanced on offense with 25+ runs
  • Convert on 3rd down and move the chains – eat the clock

 

 

 

 

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