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Month: November 2017

12/1/17 Lions Pregame

The 6-5 Lions come in to town hoping to keep their playoff chances alive by getting a key road victory. The Lions have been very good on the road this year and have already notched 4 road wins thus far. The Ravens having played Monday Night have a short week to prepare and to heal up from their very physical game with the Texans. The Lions on the other hand had an extended rest as they last played on Thanksgiving and have had extra time to game plan for the Ravens. This is a clear advantage to the Lions and you hope that the short week doesn’t show up with the Ravens giving a lackluster effort on the field.

The Ravens defense will face one of the better quarterbacks in the league, something that they have not had to do for most of the season. The Lions have a weak running game and depend heavily on their passing game which is ranked 7th in the league. The Ravens secondary will be tested and hopefully will be up for the challenge because you can go to the bank on Stafford throwing at 40+ times. Ravens need to keep the ball in front of them and avoiding big plays will be paramount for them in order to win this game. The Ravens should be able to limit their ground game which is ranked just 26th. Dean Pees will have to game plan for getting pressure on Stafford, and if he fails to do that it will be a long afternoon for the Ravens.

The Ravens should be able to run against the Lions front seven but if they don’t prove to the Lions that they can pass downfield – I suspect that the Lions defense will stuff the box and take the ground game away. Joe Flacco and the Ravens wide receivers just have to play better starting Sunday. There is nothing to give me hope that this will occur, but I have to say it none the less. Flacco’s skills have declined and he has been reduced to a game manager QB much like Dilfer in his day, with the exception that Dilfer had much better numbers than Flacco. Maclin, Wallace and Perriman all need to step up their game. They need run their routes with conviction, catch the ball when targeted and play with some intensity. This is something that has been lacking from this crew all season. The offense needs more than just trick plays, wild cat formations, and fake punts.

Sunday is shaping up to be an interesting game as the Ravens tough defense is facing one of the better offenses – so something has to give. The Ravens are in control of their destiny with 5 games remaining and all they need to do is win and they stay in the Wild Card spot. The odds makers have the Ravens by 3 and that sounds about right. The coaching staff will have their hands full this Sunday and will need to game plan well to get the victory. This game is likely to be won by the team that holds the ball last and I believe the Ravens will win this one in a squeaker. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Detroit Lions hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday, December 1st @ 1:00 PM Odds – Ravens by 3

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 27 Lions 24
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 138 Lions 81
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 188 Lions 269

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Suggs continues his great play with another sack
  • Buck Allen leads the Ravens with 13 carries
  • Ravens commit 7 penalties for 85 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Friday Monday morning headlines

  • Ravens win their 3rd straight for first time this season

Keys to the Game

  • Play ball control offense and convert on 3rd down
  • Pressure Stafford and force some mistakes
  • Play fast and get the lead early

Ravens/Texans Post Game Recap

Ravens take care of business by holding home court but they don’t look great in doing so. If not for the great special teams play and the strong defensive effort which forced 3 turnovers – this game could have easily gone the other way. Flacco passed for a paltry 141 yards, and he had all his receivers playing against one of the lesser (Ranked 26th) secondaries in the league. The offense is dreadful and shows absolutely no signs of improving. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with the win but this kind of game does not give me big hope for the future of this season. Other thoughts on the game are:

  • Ravens first possession is 3 and out, Texans first possession is a 90 yard touchdown drive
  • Clowney is a premier talent and he gave the Ravens a fit with his speed and power – this guy will be a gamer for years to come
  • Matt Judon is apparently deaf because he threw the player down 5 seconds after the whistle and it cost the team dearly with a 15 yard PF penalty and a continued Texan drive
  • For some reason the Ravens often give up a lot of yards on their first series and tonight was no exception letting the Texans move with ease down the field
  • The 1st quarter PI call on Brandon Carr was not a good call and the flag should not have been thrown – a key penalty that helped keep that first Texan drive alive
  • Penalties (7 for 89 yards) hurt the Ravens in this game and cost them dearly on some of the drives – and the defense was the big culprit for most of them
  • Special Teams continue to be a key strength for the Ravens and keep them in games, often helping them with field position throughout the contest
  • Why why why why do the Ravens throw swing passes, and dunks that lose yardage – it is absolutely insane to see this week after week. I will bet you money that the Ravens lead the league in negative yardage pass plays
  • The M&T Boo birds heckled the Ravens offense just 9 ½ minutes into the game which tells you how frustrated the fans are becoming with this offense
  • The O line had trouble getting any push against this Texans front 7, but they did a decent job in pass protection
  • James Hurst got shoved around on the O line like he was child in a man’s game. Ravens desperately need to upgrade this group in the offseason
  • Sam Koch made the best throw of the night on his pass to Chris Moore on the punt fake – seriously it was!
  • Alex Collins had no running lanes but still managed to grind out some yards and make the most of the few holes that he found
  • Flacco was not sharp and missed targets throughout the night, but he did he use his legs and generated 42 yards on the ground
  • On 4th and 1 the pitch out to Collins was a brilliant call that delivered a huge play that led to another TD
  • Ravens defense struggled to get pressure on Savage but they did a nice job blocking passes at the line of scrimmage
  • CJ Mosely uncharacteristically fails to bring the RB down on a 3rd and long situation giving up the first down and keeping their drive alive and an eventual score
  • The PF call on Canady was a joke – even the announcers both agreed
  • La’Darius Smith had a clean and unblocked shot at Savage but at the last minute thought to drop back in coverage and then slipped to the ground – C’Mon man
  • The Ravens secondary was out of synch in this game and had several missed coverages – not sure why there was so much confusion but the Texans receivers were wide open throughout the game
  • Perriman suited up and played and was non-factor in the game – 3 Targets/ 0 completions
  • Flacco did not look sharp tonight and the receivers didn’t seem to be on the same page on routes and comebacks
  • The Buck Allen run up the middle with the giant scrum to the end zone was a great play to watch and was capped off with Jensen diving on the pile
  • The gunner for the Texans punt team was apparently unblockable not to mention the fastest man on the planet
  • Wallace missed a long pass that went right through his hands – which just continues to prove the point to me that the Ravens have no real play makers on the offensive side of the ball
  • In the Jimmy Smith versus De’Andre Hopkins match up – you would have to say Hopkins came out on top by a land slide as he had 7 receptions for 125 yards
  • Ravens D line was tough again on the run and kept the Texans to 66 yards
  • The only decent receiver on the field for the Texans was Hopkins and for some reason the Weddle and Jefferson gave absolutely no help over the top for Smith and Carr
  • Maclin was on the field all night but was missing in action and seemed to check out mentally at times not completing his routes
  • After Texans score in the 4th, the Ravens receive the ball and have three straight plays with negative or no yards, and two of them were passes
  • Suggs is without question one of the best Ravens ever to suite up and after 15 years in the league is still very much an impact player – just amazing at his age
  • Flacco’s naked boot sweep was a brilliant call and perfectly executed
  • I think Flacco’s knee brace will be the end of him one day
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 23 Texans 16 Ravens 23 Texans 16
Turnovers Plus 2 Plus 3
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 92 Texans 109 Ravens 139 Texans 66
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 199 Texans 171 Ravens 155 Texans 237

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Woodhead gets his first TD of the season         Nope, not even close
  • Judon gets a sack         Nope, but he came close a few times
  • Campanaro gets off a good return         Nope – he was inactive
  • Refs make terrible calls         Correct – This flag happy crew made at least 5 bad calls

Possible Tuesday morning headlines

  • Ravens offense stumbles but gets enough to win the day

Keys to the Game

  • Stop the running game and force them to throw              Correct, kept them to 66 yards
  • Open up the offense and work to get more chunk plays           Nope, except for the Sam Koch pass
  • Win the turnover battle and you win!               Correct, plus 3 and it deliver the win

11/27/17 Texans Pregame

After getting a much needed win on the road against the “Roger less” Packers the Ravens come home to take on the much beleaguered Houston Texans. The Ravens stand at 5 wins and 5 losses, and with 6 games remaining in the schedule it is clearly now or never for them to make a run for one of the wild card spots. If they can’t beat this Texans team which is missing so many key players then they don’t really belong in the wild card discussion anyway. Remember several weeks ago when TreBiscuit led the Bears over the Ravens while completing just 8 passes for 113 yards. A very regrettable home loss. Point here, the Ravens are a team that can take nothing for granted. They have to play well under the lights and take care of their business. Let’s take a quick look at the remaining schedule and make some predictions.

Houston Texans – Ravens Favored by 7 at home and should win this one      Record 6 – 5

Detroit Lions – Ravens will likely be favored or perhaps a pick em game and Ravens win this in a close one       Record 7 – 5

Pittsburgh Steelers – Steelers at home will be favored and will win this one completing the divisional sweep       Record 7 – 6

Cleveland Browns – Ravens will be favored and will beat the Browns on the road in an uncomfortably close game       Record 8 – 6

Indianapolis Colts – Ravens at home will be favored and will win      Record 9 – 6

Cincinnati Bengals – Ravens at home will be favored by 3 and will lose      Ravens finish the season at 9 – 6

So if this holds true the question would be is 9 and 6 enough to get in? It could be – time will tell. Ravens are playing just their second home Monday Night Game since Harbaugh took over the team 10 years ago. For some reason the League has been stingy with giving the Ravens home MNF games. The Ravens like the bright lights and we should see a pretty fired up crowd for the game which likely be loud and menacing for Tom Savage who is their 2nd string QB filling in for Watson. It is amazing how many 2nd string QBs we have faced this year.

The Ravens need to come out fast in this game and push the ball down the field. They need to score early and play with the lead. The Ravens defense needs to stop Miller and Foreman who combined have given the Texans the 6th best running game in the NFL. They also need to double team DeAndre Hopkins who is their only real threat in the receiving game, and who is one of the best in the league. The Ravens offense will have to try and run against one of the best run defenses which means our OC cannot be so predictable. Flacco needs to play with some speed and avoid always going to the check down. Less dink and dunk and more slants downfield routes. The O line will have their hands filled Clowney and when he lines up on the right we will need to give Hurst some help, otherwise Flacco will get his leg broken. Stanley looks like he should be back this week (fingers crossed) which will be a huge boost to the line. While the Texans have a subpar secondary based on past experiences there is nothing to suggest that Flacco will be able to exploit it. He simply is not having a good year and is not improving as the year progresses. He seems to have a bad case of the “yips” which he can’t shake. In spite of the good, the bad and the ugly this should be a game that the Ravens take control of early and maintain. The odds makers have the Ravens by 7 and that seems about right to me. In other news if you didn’t see it, Ryan Mallet got called for Unsportsmanlike conduct in the Packers game and cost the Ravens 15 yards. This week he was fined $12,000 for the offense, and this for a guy who never saw the field in the game – C’mon man! Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Houston Texans hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Monday, November 27th @ 8:30 PM Odds – Ravens by 7

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 23 Texans 16
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 92 Texans 109
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 199 Texans 171

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Woodhead gets his first TD of the season
  • Judon gets a sack
  • Campanaro gets off a good punt return of 25 plus
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Tuesday morning headlines

  • Defense is savage in win over Texans
  • Ravens offense stumbles but gets enough to win the day

Keys to the Game

  • Stop the running game and force them to throw
  • Open up the offense and work to get more chunk plays
  • Win the turnover battle and you win!

Ravens/Titans Post Game Recap

The Ravens came up short today and it was very much a team effort. Bad play calling ball, turnovers and inopportune penalties along with some poor performances led to a beat down in Tennessee. The Titans were ready and prepared for the Ravens today and out played the Ravens making them one dimensional on offense. Now at 4 wins and 5 losses you have to believe that this season is all but over the Ravens. Other comments on the game below:

  • The Titans came out of the gate quick on their first series and cut through the Ravens defense like a hot knife through butter but the Ravens were able to hold them to 3 points
  • Titans came in today’s game with just 5 sacks on the year – and today they got 2
  • The 4th down fake punt was a gutsy call and Sam’s throw to Chris Moore was a thing of beauty
  • I know that Perriman has elite speed and all that, but even on a fly pattern he doesn’t seem to get any separation from the defender which is to say his game speed must be throttled back. He is also good for a drop or two not to mention an interception off his hands. Just to be clear, I am going to rag on this guy until the Ravens admit that made a horrible draft choice in selecting him
  • Mariota had way too much time to throw today and to go through his progressions which left our secondary in a tough situation
  • The Ravens defense played pretty well in the 2nd half and kept the Ravens close as a result
  • Titans rush defense was stout today and kept Collins under control
  • Ravens found themselves in 3rd long too many times today and made for some tough sledding for the offense
  • Flacco’s decision making left something to be desired today at times and I don’t like all these high sailing passes which put his receivers at risk exposing their bodies to defenders
  • In the second quarter the Ravens went for it on 4th and 2 yard which I thought was a good call given where they were in the game. They did convert on the play even though the Refs gave a horrible spot on the run by Allen – fortunately a challenge got it overturned
  • Ravens O line got manhandled in the run game today with the Titans D line playing in the backfield much of the day
  • This is example on how penalties kill you – Bowser gets called for an illegal formation penalty on what was a 57 yard punt which then gets called back and kicked again – but this time for a 17 yard shank by Koch. I have said this before and it is worth repeating that you can’t have players on special teams that commit penalties
  • Titans who statistically were horrible in the red zone so far this year were 3 for 3 for TDs in their red zone opportunities today
  • The PF call on Za’Darius Smith was a horrendous call and gave the Titans a first down on the 5 yard line practically handing them 6 points – refs have to do better
  • Our coaches are too slow to react to the game conditions and for some reason Pees was adverse to sending more than 4 to rush Mariota which left him way too much time to find receivers
  • Really surprised that the Ravens didn’t try running on the edge when there was nothing available between the tackles
  • I don’t know if the NFL tracks this statistic, but I will bet you crazy money that the Ravens lead the league in completed passes for negative yards
  • With less than two minutes in the game Buck Allen catches the ball on the sideline and does not go out of bounds which cost the team about 20 seconds – C’mon Man!
  • In future games I am going to start counting how many times the Ravens, on 3rd and short situations, do not throw past the chains
  • Going for it with 4th and inches when you needed 10 points to tie made absolutely no sense to me especially when you had virtually no running game all day. Take the 3 points in that situation and make it a one score game instead they come up short and turn the ball over on downs
  • Note to Special Team’s Coach Rosburg and Justin Tucker – when executing an on-side kick the most important thing is making sure that the ball travels a minimum of 10 yards – which is to say that kicking trickery should take a back seat to execution. Ravens have not successfully executed a successful on-side kick since the late 1800s
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 20 Titans 18 Ravens 20 Titans 23
Turnovers Plus 1 Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 114 Titans 97 Ravens 73 Titans 70
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 187 Titans 179 Ravens 268 Titans 186

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Mariota rushes 5 times for 41 yards – Nope, just one run of 7 yards
  • CJ leads Ravens defenders with 11 tackles – He didn’t get 11 but he led all Ravens with 6 tackles and assist
  • Alex Collins carries the ball 17 times for 90 yards – Nope, 13 carries for 43 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls – Correct, bad ball spots and bogus calls

Keys to the Game

  • Contain DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry – Correct, they combine for just 45 yards
  • Pressure Mariota and keep him in the pocket – don’t let him scamper – Nope, very little pressure from our front four albeit he didn’t run much
  • Play ball control offense while pounding the rock – Nope, couldn’t run well today and had a lot of short possessions
  • Score TD’s in the red zone – Nope, couldn’t convert in the 1st half which cost them dearly

11/5/2017 Titans Pregame

In all the years that I have been doing these pregame predictions, I have never seen a year where things are so up and down from week to week. On a weekly basis you will see the unexpected where an inferior team beats a very good team. Case and point, how do the Panthers beat the Patriots in Foxboro? So that brings us to the Ravens and Titans contest this Sunday. Both teams are trying to stay in the playoff hunt and in my opinion the Ravens are the more desperate of the two as they sit two games behind the division leader Steelers. The Titans are tied for the lead in the AFC South. The Ravens record sits at 4 and 4 half way through the season, and if you use 10 wins as the projected number of wins to get into the post season then the Ravens have to finish the next eight games going 6 and 2 which seems like a tall order to fill, especially with games coming against division rivals not to mention 4 road games. If the Ravens are going to stay in the hunt – it begins this week with a win on the road.

As of this writing it appears that Joe (one tough hombre) Flacco is cleared and ready to play this Sunday. He will need to play well if we are going to beat the Titans at home. Titans are coming off their bye week, are well rested and have had two weeks to put together a solid game plan for the Ravens. The Titans have a good rush defense and an average secondary, so Flacco should have some opportunities to move the ball through the air and he will need to take advantage of that opportunity if they are going to move the chains and control the ball. The Titans rank 30th in sacks so if the O line does their job – Joe should remain upright and have time to get the ball out of his hand. It also looks like Wallace will be back on the field this Sunday which will help, however the tight end situation looks tenuous as Watson and Boyles are banged up and may be sidelined. There are not many receivers practicing this week, so we will have to see who suits up Sunday as some of them will be game time decisions.

Sunday’s match up with the Titans is a tough one to figure out because both teams have been consistently inconsistent. Statistically the Titans and Ravens are pretty similar and both have lack luster offenses. Coming off the bye week and playing at home has most experts picking the Titans this Sunday which makes a lot of sense. As a general rule, I don’t like the Ravens on the road as they don’t play their best football away from home. That said, I am thinking that the Ravens defense we saw this past Sunday may be here to stay and if that is the case they are likely to stop the run and limit the passing game. I also like Ravens keeping the Titans out of the end zone. They will have their hands full getting to Mariota though as he has only been sacked 5 times all year. Coach Pees will have to dial up some exotic schemes to get to him. Vegas has the Titans by 3 ½ in a low scoring affair but I believe the Ravens will find a way to win Sunday in what is a back and forth game. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Tennessee Titans hosting the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday, November 5th @ 1:00 PM Odds – Titans by 3 ½

In the “did you know” facts category – that Danny Woodhead who basically played one quarter of one game before his injury still has more receiving yards than Breshad Perriman. Can you say bust!

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 20 Titans 18
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 114 Titans 97
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 187 Titans 179

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Mariota rushes 5 times for 41 yards
  • CJ leads Ravens defenders with 11 tackles
  • Alex Collins carries the ball 17 times for 90 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Friday Monday morning headlines

  • Defense brings home the win
  • Ravens squeak one out in Music City

Keys to the Game

  • Contain DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry
  • Pressure Mariota and keep him in the pocket – don’t let him scamper
  • Play ball control offense while pounding the rock
  • Score TD’s in the red zone
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