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Month: October 2018

Ravens/Panthers Post Game Recap

In the NFL the ball bounces in funny ways sometimes, and today the ball bounced in favor of the Panthers. NFL films could actually put together a montage of plays showing how every bounce went their way. That said, the Panthers won because they are the better team. When the first half ended with the Ravens down 24 to 7, the one consolation was that you knew the game was over and you didn’t need to watch any more of it. The number one defense in the NFL did not look like it today they gave up 36 points and 386 yards, and they didn’t generate any turnovers. The Panthers executed several long-sustained drives one of which was 99 yards. Coach Wink could not keep up with the excellent play calling form the Panther’s offense and the Ravens defense was ineffective and sloppy at times. The Ravens record is now 4 and 4 half way through the season and they do not look like a playoff caliber team and I don’t see them going 6 and 2 to finish the season which is what they would need to do in order to be in position for a playoff spot. Other thoughts on the game are below:

• Ravens get a TD on their opening drive burning 7:10 minutes and all this in spite of committing three penalties. The play calling on that drive was nothing short of brilliant
• Alex Collins scoring on a 14-yard run is something that this offense needs to see more of if they are to contend for the playoffs
• Ravens tackling is sloppy at times and they too often give up yards after contact
• Terrible missed call on Cam grounding the ball and he wasn’t even close to getting out side of the tackle box
• Lamar Jackson’s throw on 3rd and one from the nine-yard line was a horrible throw and Snead was wide open and positioned for a big play and key first down. This is exactly why you need to give Lamar time to grow into an NFL quarterback
• Norv Turner may not have been a very good head coach in the NFL but he is a good offensive coordinator and he out coached the Ravens big time today
• Collins coughs up the ball as he is hit 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage as the O line leaves a lineman completely untouched. The turnover turns into 7 points for Panthers.
• Jefferson and Weddle are solid in the run game but they are not getting the job in coverage
• DJ Moore absolutely owned the Ravens secondary today with 9 receptions for 90 yards and 2 rushes for 39 yards
• The Ravens defensive front could not touch Cam today, and even when the Ravens blitzed with 5 or 6 – the Panthers O line did a great job picking up the pressure. The Ravens desperately need a dominant pass rusher in next year’s draft – because they don’t have one today
• Special teams penalty nullifies a first down on a fake punt which would have been big for the Ravens. Coach Rosburg is having his worst year with Special Teams since he joined the Ravens
• Buck Allen absolutely screwed up when he didn’t the first down late in the 2nd quarter – he caught the pass out of the backfield and all he had to do was lower his head and drive, but instead he does a juke and loses his momentum coming up short.
• Snead had an off day with two offensive penalties which are drive killers, a dropped pass, and he was no help in defending Flacco’s second interception. He seems to have regressed the last two games which is disappointing
• Not sure what Flacco was thinking when he threw that interception at the end of the half, but there wasn’t a Raven within a mile of that pass and it gave the Panthers the ball with great field position which ended in 3 points as the half expired
• Panthers had 4 straight possessions that resulted in points which tells you how ineffective the defense was in the first half
• Although it failed to convert – he Ravens going for it on 4th and three early in the 3rd quarter was a reasonable call being down by 17 points and the defense struggling
• Luke Kuechly is an outstanding linebacker and when you can run down a running back (Collins) from behind you know that have a football player
• Hurst had another drop today which is really disappointing but it was great to see him get his first TD
• Panthers tight end Greg Olsen again proved that the TE position is the kryptonite for the Ravens secondary as he caught 4 passes for 56 yards and 1 TD. Ravens linebackers simply cannot cover that position
• You may not have seen this but there was a play where Cam faked a handoff inside and then boot legged to the left. He actually did it on back to back plays with the first play gaining 8 yards and the second attempt went for a rushing TD. After the first play Weddle yelled at Suggs for cheating inside and not holding the edge and believe or not Suggs went ahead and did it again on the next play. I mention this because I called out Suggs last week for doing this – to be clear his job is to hold the edged and keep any ball carrier from going around end – to quote Coach Billecheck – “do your job”
• CJ Mosely had a tough day missing several tackles and terrible in coverage
• Both the Bengals and the Steelers won today and they now beginning to put some distance between the Ravens in the standings

Game Predictions                                                                                        Game Statistics
Score      Ravens 24 Panthers 23                                                               Ravens 21     Panthers 36
Turnovers      Even                                                                                            Minus 3
Net Rushing Yardage       Ravens 88  Panthers 122                        Ravens 101 Panthers 156
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens 290 Panthers 253                        Ravens 224 Panthers 232

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Christian McCaffrey has 7 receptions for 72 yards                     Nope, 4 catches for 11 yards
• Ravens commit 8 penalties for 88 yards                                                     Close, 9 penalties for 68 yards
• Flacco has 2 passes blocked                                                                       Did I say blocked passes – I meant intercepted passes
• Refs make terrible calls                                                                          Correct, several missed calls

Keys to the Game
• Win the turnover battle!                                      Nope, minus 3 on the day
• Attack Cam and don’t let him run                    Nope, 10 carries for 52 yards
• Close the game in the 4th quarter                      Nope, Ravens weren’t even in it

10/28/18 Panthers Pregame

Having come off one of their most disappointing defeats in recent memory the Ravens head to the Queen City to take on the four and two Carolina Panthers in what is likely to be a highly contested game. The Ravens typically respond well after a difficult loss and this week will require a complete team effort to beat the Panthers on their home court. Cam Newton is having a good season so far and has proven to be a comeback pro as he has already delivered a couple 4th quarter come from behind wins. He will give the Ravens defense a lot of trouble and because of his size and speed – you can’t let him get out of the pocket or he will hurt you with his feet. The Panthers are playing well on both sides of the ball which their record confirms.

The Ravens are playing a bit hobbled right now with the offensive line down 2 men and their star cornerback is fighting through a hamstring injury. These are key injuries and will have a bearing on game. If they were healthy I would really like the Ravens in this game, but with the O line banged up and with Humphrey questionable it makes this a tough game all the way around. One matchup to keep an eye on this Sunday is Christian McCaffrey – who I think is going to present a matchup problem for the Ravens because he is very good getting receptions out of the backfield, and we already know that the Ravens linebackers struggle in pass coverage. The Panthers are very effective at running the ball averaging 136 yards per game which surely will test the Ravens front seven.

Success for the Ravens is going to come down to whether the O line can keep Joe clean in the pocket. If Joe has time and can stay upright – he will get his share of yards and will move the chains. When Flacco comes out of the gate fast and if he is looking comfortable – that typically equates to a good game. If he comes out slow it usually takes him a quarter or more to get into any kind of groove. Assuming that this game is likely to be close you really hope that the Ravens can get at least one score in one of their first two possessions. The Ravens are 0 and 6 in their last six games which were decided by six or less points. The Ravens have to learn how to win the close games and the defense has to learn how to stop teams in the 4th quarter. I don’t care how good your defense is statistically – if you can’t get a stop when your team needs it the most then you are not getting the job done. My gut tells that the Ravens are going to grind this game out and find a way to beat the Panthers. This will probably be a nail biter but in the end the Ravens will prevail. If it comes down to a field goal let’s hope that Tucker shakes off last week’s fail and comes through like he has so many times before. The odds makers have the Ravens by 2 on the road, with the over/under set at 44 – I like the over in this one. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Baltimore Ravens hosted the New Orleans Saints Sunday, October 28th at 1:00 PM Odds Ravens by 2

Game Predictions
Score           Ravens 24      Panthers 23
Turnovers           Even
Net Rushing Yardage           Ravens 88      Panthers 122
Net Passing Yardage           Ravens 290      Panthers 253

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Christian McCaffrey has 7 receptions for 72 yards
• Ravens commit 8 penalties for 88 yards
• Flacco has 2 passes blocked
• Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines
• Ravens bounce back in road win

Keys to the Game
• Win the turnover battle!
• Attack Cam and don’t let him run
• Close the game in the 4th quarter

Ravens/Saints Post Game Recap

It is hard to imagine that the Ravens would lose on a missed extra point from Justin Tucker, but that is what happened today and this miss was the very first of his career. Words cannot explain that outcome, but it was bound to happen – just very unfortunate that it would happen at a very critical moment in the game. That said, the Saints marched into Baltimore and took care of business. They outplayed the Ravens in the second half of the game and when they needed a big play they got one. It is hard to be overly critical of the Ravens defense in this game because they certainly kept them in check, but when they needed a big stop from the D they just couldn’t deliver. The Ravens got out coached as Sean Payton exploited a lot of the Ravens weaknesses and played off their tendencies. It didn’t help that the Ravens were missing two starting lineman and Marlon Humphrey – because the absence of those players did make a difference in my opinion. The Saints are the better team and they deserved the win today. Congratulations to Drew Brees who got his 500 TD pass today and by beating the Ravens today has now beaten every team in the NFL. Other thoughts on the game are below:

• The Saints 1st drive of the game included four 4th down tries and they were successful on the first three but on the fourth try they coughed the ball up sacrificing three points. They also burned 10 minutes of the clock on that first possession
• Ravens front four got out muscled by the Saints O line today and the thing that was interesting to me is that Saints played with more nastiness than the Ravens D. They did a great job protecting Brees and keeping the pocket clean
• The Saints running backs played hard today and when they get tackled they always fall forward for a few extra yards
• Ben Watson was a chain mover early for the Saints and he was a mismatch for the Ravens linebackers. He also got a key score for the Saints late in the second half when the Ravens defense missed an assignment
• Calling out Suggs, who as a veteran gets too many off sides penalties. He is also responsible for holding the edge and when he cheats on the inside fails to hold the edge – he gets burned on sweeps – if you don’t believe me come over my house and I will show the tape
• Joe Flacco and the offense drove 81 yards in 1:43 at the end of the game and it would have been a great story line had they tied it with the extra point
• Harbaugh’s challenge on the Saints fumble was a good call and quite frankly I am surprised it was not overturned – that one is a head scratcher
• Joe had two, perhaps three blocked passes again today and while he is six and half feet he has to find a way to overcome this
• Ravens did a nice job finding creative plays to generate ground yardage – especially in the first half
• It seemed to me that the Fox NFL coverage is not as good as CBS, and they took longer TV breaks which caused us to miss referee decisions which had to be covered by the guys calling the game
• Alex Collins has developed a bad habit of going backwards to find an open field, but too often he is giving back yards that he already has. He is also getting happy feet looking for open holes rather than running North/South and getting some positive yardage
• Loved the call to go for it on 4th and 8 – and it was nice connection to Brown for the first down in that situation
• First score of the game occurs nine minutes into the 2nd quarter – sure didn’t see that happening
• Jimmy Smith had one of his worst games as a Raven – whiffed on a wide-open sack opportunity, got targeted a ton and was penalized multiple times and was scored upon
• Ravens offense really missed James Hurst and Alex Lewis, and you got the feeling that Flacco was not as comfortable in the pocket with the other guys in this game
• The Ravens two-minute drill before the second half ended was absolutely brilliant and Lamar’s run was a perfect call to get 7 points. Stanley’s block was key in getting him day light to score
• On 3rd and one yard the pitch sweep to Collins failed miserably and no surprise to me – with no wide outs and Joe in the shot gun formation they didn’t leave the Saints defense guessing in the least bit what was going to happen
• As predicted there were several lead changes throughout this game
• Hayden Hurst is off to a very slow start – I hope that he can work his way into the offense in the next few weeks
• Special Teams has been a bit of a disappointment this year, we have no return game to speak of and too many penalties on these plays hamper field position
• Snead dropped one today that would have been a big gainer, fortunately he doesn’t do that very often
• Ravens did a nice job burning clock on their drives and there is no better way to stop Brees then keeping him off the field
• One of the plays of the day was when Brees threw a pass while falling to the ground on third and 8 yards and somehow made the play and the first down – which is why he will be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee
• When the Ravens got the ball after the Saints scored to get within three points – the Ravens went three and out you could sort of feel the air go out of the stadium because you feared that it would be another fourth quarter come back – and it was just that
• Ravens gave up way too many 3rd and long first downs today which they have been prone to do this year
• Very disappointed that the Ravens lost their cool (and got penalized) on special teams – on extra points none the less. These are silly penalties and put the offense in bad field position
• John Brown had a monster game with 7 receptions for 134 yards

Game Predictions                                                                             Game Statistics
Score    Ravens 30 Saints 28                                                          Ravens 23 Saints 24
Turnovers     Plus 1                                                                            Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage     Ravens 70 Saints 86                    Ravens 77 Saints 134
Net Passing Yardage      Ravens 326 Saints 298               Ravens 274 Saints 205

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Ravens defense gives up its first 2nd half TD                               Correct, two of them
• Hurst gets his first TD                                                                             Nope, no recorded catches
• Lamar will rush 4 times for 26 yards                                               3 carries for 9 yards
• Refs make terrible calls                                                                          Correct, bad spots, missed calls and bad reviews

Keys to the Game
• Win the turnover battle!                                                                      Correct, plus one on the day
• Pressure Brees and don’t let him scramble                               Nope, Brees was clean for the most of the day
• Score in the red zone                                                                           Correct, did a nice job today

10/21/18 Saints Pregame

Sunday’s game should be titled “Somethings Gotta Give Bowl” because the Saints and Ravens are bringing their leagues best against one another. The Saints boast the league’s best scoring offense averaging 36 points a game while the Ravens bring their NFL leading defense which gives up a mere 12.7 points per game. So, it begs the question, who is going to prevail in this game? Drew Brees is having an MVP type season so far and he is averaging 332 yards per game, a league leading 122.3 QBR, and has 11 TDs to date with no interceptions. It also helps that Brees has only been sacked 8 times this season which indicates he is getting very good protection from his offensive line, and despite being 39 years old – the crafty Brees is as elusive as ever in the pocket.

Here are some of the other story lines to watch this Sunday. First, while the Saints have an average defense ranked 18th overall, they are incredibly stingy against the run giving up just 71.4 yards per game. A great run defense against an anemic run game would point to Flacco throwing a ton on Sunday. We know from experience that when Flacco throws for 45 or more times we typically lose. Coach Mornhinweg will be challenged to find a run game against this defense but he has to find a way somehow to grind out some yards to keep their secondary honest. It is also worth noting that Drew Brees, who holds almost every meaningful career record for quarterbacks, has never beaten the Baltimore Ravens. You heard that right, he has beaten every other team in the NFL at least twice but has never won against the Ravens. You know he wants this game in a big way, so you can be assured that you will get his very best effort. Brees also has the benefit of coming off a bye week which means that he is fresh as a daisy, and Coach Payton has had 2 weeks to game plan for the Ravens. I am personally interested to see how Ben Watson and Willie Snead perform this week as they have flipped teams and are likely playing to prove something.

Sunday’s game is really hard to predict because I don’t think anyone really thinks that the Ravens are going to stymie Drew Brees and his passing attack. The Saints are going to move the ball and they are going to score points, I don’t think they will get to 30+ points but I would be surprised if they didn’t get to 28. The Ravens defensive front needs to get pressure on Brees and the linebackers need to provide coverage in the middle of the field. You will know just how good this Ravens defense is after Sunday’s game. If the Ravens keep the Saints to 24 points or less – I will be thrilled. One way to keep Brees in check is for the Ravens to have long, time consuming scoring drives. Brees can’t score if he is not on the field. Flacco needs a big game to keep pace with Brees and I would expect that the Ravens will have to score 30 or more points to win this one. The Ravens can’t settle for field goals in the red zone, if they do they will lose. This game will go back forth with a few lead changes but the Ravens will prevail with a late game score to win at home. Vegas has the Ravens by 2 ½ points but I don’t think they will cover. The over/under is set at 50.5 and I would definitely bet the over on this one. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Baltimore Ravens hosting the New Orleans Saints Sunday, October 21st at 4:05 PM Odds Ravens by 2 ½

Game Predictions
Score             Ravens 30 Saints 28
Turnovers        Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage        Ravens 70 Saints 86
Net Passing Yardage         Ravens 326 Saints 298

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Ravens defense gives up its first 2nd half TD
• Hurst gets his first TD
• Lamar will rush 4 times for 26 yards
• Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines
• Brees comes up short in Baltimore

Keys to the Game
• Win the turnover battle!
• Pressure Brees and don’t let him scramble
• Score in the red zone

Ravens/Titans Post Game Recap

Ravens played a masterful game on both sides of the ball today and absolutely dominated the Titans on their home turf. Joe Flacco looked sharp today and he did from the opening snap. When he starts out good he usually has a good game. The Ravens looked prepared and they played with a purpose. The Titans had no answer for the defense and looked out of sync all day, and the Ravens went on to pitch their first shut out of the season. Coach Wink called a great game and had Mariota back on his heels all afternoon. When the Ravens started the 3rd quarter with a seven plus minute drive and scored to go ahead 21 to 0, you knew that this game was over. Other thoughts on the game are below:

• It was great to see the Ravens defense get 2 sacks on the Titans opening drive and it set the tone for the day. They got 11 sacks on the day which is a franchise record

• The Ravens offensive line gets no push off the line on running plays so unless you have Barry Sanders kind of talent you are going to have a tough time getting any yardage – that said the pass protection was outstanding and Flacco was upright all day

• Buck Allen has done a nice job on 3rd down and has really carved out a nice role with catching passes out of the backfield for first downs

• Flacco had two passes batted down at the line of scrimmage – this needs to improve

• First red zone trip Flacco delivers a beautiful pass to Crabtree for their first TD, and the Titans are particularly stingy on 1st quarter points

• 17 plays, 94 yards and 9 minutes burned on the Ravens first possession

• Jimmy Smith almost got burned for 68-yard TD, but fortunately for the Ravens Mariota over threw the Titan receiver by 5 yards

• Crabtree had a nice game with 6 catches, 93 yards and one TD – AND no drops! When he is on, he is a very dangerous receiver

• Titans offense generated a several penalties early which really hurt their drive momentum – and they never really got on track

• Hats off to Ladarius Smith who had three sacks and strip, and was a force to be reckoned with all day

• Judon’s personal foul penalty was both unprovoked and stupid. In my opinion he is having a rather unremarkable year thus far and this for a player that we had such high hopes that he would go to the next level

• Edwards looked better than Collins on the ground game today which makes you wonder how healthy Collins is right now. Makes you wonder if Edwards is going to get more touches in the weeks to come

• The Titans interception before the half looked like a trap catch and I have no idea why Harbaugh didn’t challenge it when he was sitting on 3 time outs. Also, can’t believe that the announcers completely whiffed on noting it on their play by play

• Titans first half stats were 0 points and 69 total yards of offense, and believe it or not they actually had the ball for 13 minutes

• Ravens offense was 8 for 9 on 3rd down in the first half and generated 192 yards of total offense

• When is the last time you saw the Ravens convert on 3rd and 18? The Flacco to Snead pass was a thing of beauty

• Hats off to Coach Mornhinweg who called an excellent game and out smarted Coach Pees

• Time will tell, but today Cyrus Jones looked solid on punt returns

• Coach Pees was way too slow in dialing up any blitz packages to get at Flacco. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter that you saw any corner or safety blitzes

• Time of possession stat tells you everything you need to know about the game – Ravens 37:49 minutes – which means the defense should be pretty fresh next week

• Alex Lewis was injured and carted off the field with a neck injury – say a prayer for the guy that he makes a full recovery Game

Game Predictions                                                   Game Statistics

Score Ravens 20 Titans 17                                    Ravens 21 Titans 0

Turnovers                  Plus 1                                      Minus 1

Net Rushing Yardage             Ravens 120    Titans 100                     Ravens 123     Titans 55

Net Passing Yardage               Ravens 220     Titans 201                        Ravens 238     Titans 51

Miscellaneous Predictions

• Ravens have 27 carries for 120 yards                                  35 carries for 123 yards

• Eric Weddle gets a pick                                                          Nope, no turnovers for the D today

• Judon gets his first sack of the season           Correct!

• Refs make terrible calls                                     Missed a few today

Keys to the Game

• Win the turnover battle                                      Nope, minus one on the day

• Score TDs in the red zone                                  Correct, three for three

• Stop the run                                                        Correct, 14 rushes for 55 yards

10/14/18 Titans Pregame

Ravens continue their three-week road trip – this time to Nashville, Tennessee to take on the 3 and 2 Titans. Both the Titans and the Ravens are coming off very tough losses, and are looking to make this the turnaround game to get their seasons back on track. Only one team is going to accomplish that task, and the other team is going to be at 500. The Ravens just played the Titans last year and it was an ugly game for the Ravens as they lost 23 to 20. The Ravens have to avoid another flat offensive performance. They also need to find better balance in their run/pass plays. When Flacco throws for 45 or more times in a game they are most likely to lose. They have to find an effective running game, and they need to find it in a hurry. There are not many road games that favor the Ravens this year but this is one opponent that they should be able to beat. They blew last week’s game against the Browns so this game becomes extremely important to them.

Sunday’s contest is likely to be similar to last year’s game. The Titans have an excellent defense and are very tough against the pass, ranking 3rd in the league so far through 5 games. They are soft against the run giving up 123 yards per game which ranks them at 27th. That said, both the Bengals and the Browns who are soft against the run did a pretty good job against the Ravens. The Titans have an anemic offense and if Baltimore plays smart they should keep them under 20 points on the day. The Ravens defense needs to force a few turnovers which would go a long way in keeping the Titans in check. On the offensive side Coach Mornhinweg is going to have use play action to hold the linebackers in and allow for the tight ends to get some space in the middle of the field. If they can run effectively and work the middle of the field they should be able to generate enough points to win. Play calling in the red zone is going to be critically important because the Ravens can’t afford to settle for field goals – especially when they are playing on the road. Dean Pees, defensive coordinator for the Titans, is a smart coach and he knows the Ravens very well so it will be very interesting to see if he gets the better of the Ravens offense. We will know soon enough. The odds makers have the Ravens by 2 ½ points which I believe they will cover. The over under is set at 41.5 points and I would go under in this game. If Flacco plays well and protects the ball the Ravens should take this one even though it is likely to be close. Should the Ravens lose this game on Sunday, I can assure you that it will be a very long time before I pick the Ravens in a road game. Enjoy the game and stay thirst my friends.

Tennessee Titans hosting the Baltimore Raven on Sunday afternoon at 4:25 pm Ravens by 2 ½

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 20      Titans 17
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens 120 Titans 100
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens 220 Titans 201

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Ravens have 27 carries for 120 yards
• Eric Weddle gets a pick
• Judon gets his first sack of the season
• Refs make terrible calls

Potential Monday Morning Headlines
• Tucker wins the day!

Keys to the Game
• Win the turnover battle
• Score TDs in the red zone
• Stop the run

Ravens/Browns Post Game Recap

Congratulations to the Cleveland Browns who out played, out coached and outscored the Ravens in a tough fought game. Today, Cleveland was the better prepared team and they played with more heart and intensity than did the Ravens. It is hard to criticize a Ravens defense that gave up a mere 12 points in 70 minutes, but when they needed a stop at the end of overtime they gave up big plays and yardage and ultimately the game winning field goal. Perhaps the Ravens were looking past the Browns and thought they could take it easy – they looked flat to me especially on offense. I think at the end of the season the Ravens will look back at this game and wish they had played better. Other thoughts on the game are:

• Ravens offense was 4 of 16 on 3rd down which is absolutely terrible. Play calling was suspect and the execution of plays was subpar all day
• Crabtree had the trifecta in dropped passes today and by my count two of his drops killed drives and the third drop would have been a TD. Crab leads the league in drop passes this season with 8 drops. In other bad news, when he catches the ball he often runs backwards and gets negative YAK
• Joe Flacco at 7 feet 4 inches leads the league in blocked passes. Here’s a hint Joe – try looking away every once in a while, and stop telegraphing your throws
• Ravens recorded 5 sacks today but most of them were coverage sacks and in my humble opinion we are not getting enough pressure with four. We got beat by a rookie QB today and he threw over 300 yards today
• Ravens defense was sloppy in their tackling technique today and they gave up too many yards to the Browns after first contact
• Flacco’s interception on the goal line was bone crushing and that makes two weeks in a row we have coughed up the ball on the goal line
• Flacco threw for 56 times today. I don’t know what the Ravens win/loss record is when he throws over 50 times but I am going to guess that it is not good
• Judon made a few nice tackles in this game, but it is hard not to be disappointed in his pass rush through the first 5 games
• Brandon Williams played his heart out today and was disrupted on the line, and he registered his first sack in two years
• Ravens rushing attack statistically looked ok with 25 attempts for 116 yards, but they were either feast or famine and unfortunately, they had several attempts for zero or negative yardage
• Flacco did not look comfortable today, did not look confident in the pocket – and his stats bear this out as he had a QBR of 60 and a completion rate of just 51.8%
• What happened to Ravens vaunted red zone offense? They were skunked today getting TDs in the red zone
• Ravens didn’t get their first 3rd conversion until 4 minutes into the 3rd quarter
• Baker Mayfield played well today and he absolutely shredded the Ravens D with 2 minutes left in the first half
• Marlon Humphrey did not have a great day and was burned on the Baker’s pass to Higgins late in the first half
• Tucker had another FG blocked today and if he makes that kick we are likely winners today. Coach Rosburg better get this blocking issue fixed and quick
• On 3rd and three – Lamar lines up in the wild cat formation and runs to the right to get the first down, and I still don’t know how he got around all those defenders to the edge – the man has some skills
• Matt Skura got pushed around today and it has to be a little concerning for this offense
• Ravens receivers did not get any separation today and the Browns coverage on them was tight. Also, not sure why they didn’t do any seam routes to the tight ends but they seem to have given up on that play
• Greg Williams called a very good defensive game for the Browns and he was one step ahead of Coach Mornhinweg
• Ravens played on of their cleanest games ever with just 4 penalties for 41 yards
• As expected this game was a painful game to watch and it appears to be the norm when we play the Browns

Game Predictions                                                                                 Game Statistics
Score Ravens 27 Browns 20                                                                 Ravens 9 Browns 12
Turnovers Plus 2                                                                                        Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 91    Browns 118                        Ravens 116 Browns 112
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 316   Browns 241                       Ravens 294 Browns 304

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Suggs gets 2 sacks                                                                                 Nope, one sac
• De ’Lance Turner gets 6 carries for 23 yards                         Nope, one pass for 7 yards
• Refs make terrible calls                                                                     Lots of missed calls and a few bogus calls

Keys to the Game
• Account for Mile Garrett                                                    Correct, only registered .05 sack
• Stop the Cleveland’s ground game                               Mostly, kept them to 112 yards and 4.0 per carry
• Protect the rock!                                                               Nope, two very costly turnovers and one of them on the goal

10/7/2018 Browns Pregame

The revitalized Cleveland Browns host the Ravens this Sunday and this will be the Ravens first chance to get a look at the rookie quarterback, Baker Mayfield, who has looked good in his first few games. The Browns offense has really rallied behind Baker, their number one draft pick, and this Browns team does not look like the Browns of yester year. That said, so far this season bad luck has seemed to follow the Browns, and if they had gotten a few breaks and some better officiating they very well could be 4 – 0. Hue Jackson is starting to turn things around for the Browns and some of their recent draft picks are starting to pay off for them. Baker is the real deal and he is likely to be their franchise quarterback for many years to come.

For reasons unknow to me, the Ravens traditionally struggle against the Browns – especially when they play in Cleveland. While the Ravens typically find a way to win these games they have historically been some of the most unattractive wins you have ever seen. Statistically the Ravens have owned the Browns over the past many years. Flacco is 8 -1 in Cleveland and 17 – 2 overall. On paper this game leans heavily in favor of the Ravens who statistically have a better offense and a better defense. That said, NFL games are all about match ups and who wins the battle in the trenches and who has the better skill players. The one key match up to watch is how the Ravens offensive line handles the rush from Miles Garret as well as Larry Ogunjobi. If they get pressure on Joe and make him jittery it could be a tough day sledding for the Ravens offense and could make this a tough game overall. Coach Mornhinweg has done a nice job drawing up good protection for Joe so far this season and hopefully has the right mix of plays and protection to keep Joe upright. Another match up to notice – is how the Browns secondary handles the Ravens receivers and tight ends. If Joe has time to throw he could have another 300+ yard day.

AFC North games on the road are always a tough contest. The teams know each other well and they understand the importance of winning these intra-divisional games. Although this is just week 5 in the NFL, the Ravens are playing their 3rd intra-divisional road game of the season. Make no mistake this is a very hard way to start the season, but if we come out of it going 4 – 1, we will be well positioned in the second half of the season when we get them all again at home. Road games are hard, but the Ravens know they need to win this one. They have several road games in their schedule that look daunting, but frankly this is one game that they should win. The Ravens are the better team and if they game plan well and protect the ball they win this by a touchdown. The Browns have an excellent run game and the Ravens will be challenged to keep them under 4 yards per carry. Hyde and Chubb are tough running backs and our interior line will have to plug up the middle to contain these backs. The Ravens are favored by 3 points in this one and I predict they will cover. The over under is set at 45.5 – I like the over. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Cleveland Browns hosting the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, October 7th 1:00 PM Odds Ravens by 3

Game Predictions
Score                                                                Ravens 27      Browns 20
Turnovers                                                    Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage                            Ravens 91      Browns 118
Net Passing Yardage                             Ravens 316      Browns 241

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Suggs gets 2 sacks
• De’Lance Turner gets 6 carries for 23 yards
• Ravens get two picks
• Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines
Smokey burns the Browns

Keys to the Game
• Account for Mile Garrett
• Stop the Cleveland’s ground game
• Protect the rock!

Ravens/Steelers Post Game Recap

The Ravens go into one of the most hostile environments in the NFL and absolutely humble the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both Coach Wink and Coach Mornhinweg did a fantastic job game planning for this game and they out coached the Steelers. Flacco was sharp and the O line kept him clean most of the game. The Ravens defense held the Steelers to just 283 yards of total offense which is widely considered one of the best in the NFL. Ravens have more work to do to improve and if you don’t believe me just watch the second quarter of the game again, but they are getting better each week especially on the O line.

Other thoughts on the game are below:

• First play on offense the Ravens get an 11-yard run from Collins which was a tone setter for the night
• Starting fast in Pittsburgh was key and going up by 2 scores on the road was outstanding. Ravens have traditionally had a hard time getting going in road games so this is a great sign for this team
• Marty did a great job using Lamar in the game and it did create confusion on the Steelers side and resulted in them needing to burn a time out to get the right personnel
• The 33-yard pass from Flacco to Smokey Brown was perfectly thrown and Brown really burned past the secondary. Having a deep threat that can consistently catch is paying off big time for the offense
• Jefferson’s strip fumble on the Steelers first possession was huge and put the Steelers back on their heels
• First time in the red zone Flacco hits Collins on a flare for 6 points and they made it look easy
• Can someone explain to me why the Ravens called a time out when the Steelers were getting ready to punt? Did they not enough players on the field? That TO made no sense to me.
• Ravens defense really ran to the ball in this game and you have to imagine that there are several Steelers sitting in the tubs this morning
• JuJu catches a ball in the end zone only to have Brandon Carr pry it out at the last second – an absolutely brilliant play! I have been critical of Carr’s play so far this season, but last night he was a Pro Bowl caliber player and defended several passes
• The Ravens were about to put their foot on the Steelers necks when Collins fumbled on the one-yard line. I don’t think you will see Collins getting any carries near the goal line any time in the near future. If he fumbles again in the next few games you will definitely see him slide down on the depth chart
• Collins fumble also interrupted the Ravens offensive flow not to mention created a mood shift in the game that clearly benefitted the Steelers who had a dominant second quarter
• Ravens defense cannot defend the middle of the field and they are giving up big yardages in that part of the field. Somehow Coach Wink is going to have to figure out how to provide tighter coverage
• So glad the Refs didn’t react to JuJu’s flop on the field when he was lightly bumped. This is now back to back weeks that the Steelers (Last week Ben) have tried their thespian skills to get flags – shame on them.
• Crabtree dropped another one right in his hands and it cost us a first down and killed a drive. Not sure what is going on with him, but he is dropping at least one pass a week and he seems to lack concentration when he is on the field. You have to wonder if Moore and White will start to get more snaps if he continues to have drops
• Ravens have no consistent pass rush and when we blitz we don’t seem to be getting to the quarterback. Judon for the hype he was given before the season that he would have a break out year – it just has not materialize so far this season. I very much hope that someone on this team emerges as a dangerous pass rusher
• Not sure why the Ravens wasted a play before the 2:00 minute warning in the 2nd half, but it gives you the impression that they were not interested in moving down the field before the half
• I would have liked to see the Ravens throw more seam routes with their TE’s because I don’t think the Steelers could have defended it
• CJ looked a little slow to me last night and he missed a few tackles but he was around the ball all night and the Ravens are better when he is out there. Where was his side kick, Kenny Young, who was missing in action and did not record a tackle.
• Hats off to the Raven’s D for stopping the Steelers on their first possession in the second half – this was key to getting back some momentum
• Penalties kill drives and that was certainly the case for the Ravens offense at times
• The Refs were terrible and missed so many calls on the Steelers O line. I saw at least two plays where the left guard tackled Suggs from behind and the Ref is standing there watching smoking a cigarette
• Going for it on 4th and 1 was a gutsy call in the 4th quarter and gave the Ravens 3 points
• You have to appreciate how much more the Ravens offense is pushing the ball down field and stretching the field. What a difference a year makes. I hope we can sign Smokey in the off season
• Anthony Levine was great last night and defended three passes and picked off Ben to seal the game in the final minutes
• The Ravens are 3 and 1 so far and I would have been happy with 2 and 2 given the schedule. Keep in mind you will likely get Smith and Hurst next week which will make them even that much stronger
• There are so many Coaches in the NFL that close their eyes when their kickers line up for a FG, but not here in Baltimore because Tucker is like money in the bank
• Snead is putting together a nice season and he is giving to the Ravens offense what we had hoped we could get from Campanaro – someone who can get separation, catch the ball and move the chains
• Ravens D shut down the Steelers run game to just 11 carries and 19 net rushing yards, and for the 4th straight game kept their opponents out of the end zone in the second half

Game Predictions                                                     Game Statistics
Score Ravens 24 Steelers 30                              Ravens 26 Steelers 14
Turnovers Minus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 84                       Steelers 98 Ravens 96 Steelers 19
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 302                     Steelers 343 Ravens 355 Steelers 265

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Alex Collins leads the Ravens run game with 18 carries/70 yds                Nope, 11 carries for 42 yards, 1 fumble
• A. Brown gets 10 receptions for 146 yards, and 1 TD                                      Nope, 5 receptions for 62 yards, and 1 TD
• Ravens tight ends combine for 12 catches and 133 yards                             10 catches for 99 yards
• Refs make terrible calls                                                                                                      Missed some blatant holds on the Steelers O line

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
• Ravens come up short in the Sling Fest

Keys to the Game
• Contain Brown/JuJu and don’t give up big plays              Correct, keeping this duo to 1 TD and 112 yards is a win to me
• Get Big Ben to the ground – without the flag                     Just one sack is not quite enough
• Win the turnover battle                                                                  Correct, plus one for the Ravens

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