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Month: September 2019

Ravens/Cardinals Post Game

The Ravens hold on to win against the Cardinals and start the season 2 and 0, but for a game that was supposed to be a blow out this game did not live up to the hype. It was a game of two halves with the Ravens looking good in the first half and then coming out for the 3rd quarter looking lackluster. Half way through the 3rd quarter I was wondering who it was that came out of that tunnel dressed in purple and white. Fortunately, the Ravens played a solid 4th quarter to keep the lead and to close out the game.

Lamarvelous had a very good game and went 24 of 37 for 272 yards and two TDs. He also led all running backs with 120 yards on 16 carries. There were times when he was running for the sidelines that I thought he had no chance of turning the corner and lo and behold he rips around the edge for a big run. To be clear, the Ravens would not have won today without his running game, as Ingram was held in check for most of the game and the Cardinals front four was stout against anything up the middle. Mark Andrews was also big with 8 receptions for 112 yard, and one TD. The chemistry between Lamar and Andrews and Brown is giving a big boost to the offense as well as giving opponents a challenge.

Other thoughts on the game are below:

• The Ravens committed 10 penalties and most of them by the offense. These are self-inflicted wounds that hampered the offense from keeping drives alive and scoring more points.
• You can see why Kyler Murray was an overall number one pick and he is going to delight Cardinal fans for a long time coming. He threw 40 passes today and no picks – not bad for a rookie
• The Ravens defense was stout against the run giving up a stingy 20 yards but got torched in the air today for 329 yards and at times looked confused and, on several plays, missed coverages.
• The refs missed the call on interference on Brown and then NY got it wrong as well – I don’t know how you can’t throw the flag on that play
• Justin Tucker is worth his weight in gold – he just makes field goals all day long. I never bite my nails when he lines up to kick – the guy is pure money
• Ravens defense was great on 3rd down giving up just 2 out of 11, but they gave up too many big plays downfield that permitted the Cards to get into scoring position
• The Ravens first possession was absolutely brilliant and Lamar Jackson was sharp and composed going 5 for 5 for 74 yards with a 27-yard TD pass to Andrews. The play calling was perfect and they took advantage of what the Cardinals gave them.
• The Ravens won this game in part because they were tough in the RedZone otherwise we may have had a different outcome
• Really didn’t like the play called on 4th and 3 in the first quarter, felt that the Ravens should have done a slant or button route instead of a roll out pass downfield. To me when you are throwing on 4th down you need to go with a high percentage play – otherwise just punt the ball.
• Ravens had tough sledding on the ground game at times, but part of that was the Cardinals played 8 in the box making a tough to run in the middle
• Brandon Carr just has to do a better job playing the ball in pass defenses, he got burned on a few today and he had tight coverage but just didn’t make a play on the ball
• Suggs registered 3 tackles and 2 assists, but his name was not called much today and he didn’t register a sack
• Offensive line committed way too many penalties in this game and Orlando had a few to his credit. They have to clean that up.
• Really disappointing to see the Ravens offense go three and out to start the 3rd quarter. Those drives are supposed to be tone setters for the second half and in this case, it gave the Cards a sense of life when they stop you cold and get the ball right back.
• The 40-yard pass from Murry to Fitzgerald on the first offensive play in the 3rd quarter was absolutely embarrassing to the defense. They left Larry wide open and 5 Ravens players could not tackle him – they looked confused and soft.
• Ravens defense was called twice for having 12 men on the field – inexcusable!
• Some of the things that I appreciate about Mark Andrews is that he finds the seam, he catches the ball, and when he does his routes on 3rd down he knows how to go past the chains.
• Fourth and one inside the 10 – you cannot let the clock run out for a delay of game penalty. Lamar or Harbs should have called a time out – just bad clock management
• With just a few minutes left in the game and 3rd and long for the Ravens – Lamar throws a perfect strike downfield to Brown who made a beautiful over the shoulder catch. It moved the chains, put them within FG range and essentially ended the game and the hopes of a Cardinal comeback. Those are the kind of plays that you need to have a winning season
• Judon is a good player but this year he is taking his play to the next level. He is playing with a lot of intensity and seems to be near the QB on every drop back
• Special teams committed two penalties today one of which negated a big run back that would have given the Ravens great field position
• I am guessing that the Ravens are thrilled to get the win, but feel like that they have a lot of work to do to get better in order to beat the better teams in the NFL

Game Predictions
Score         Ravens    30      Cardinals    16           Ravens    23      Cardinals    17
Turnovers           Plus  2                                                          even
Net Rushing Yardage         Ravens   161      Cardinals    72           Ravens    182        Cardinals    20
Net Passing Yardage         Ravens    292      Cardinals    269           Ravens    258      Cardinals    330

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Peanut leads all tacklers with 7 tackles and 1 assist           Incorrect, that would be Carr
• Chris Moore has 3 receptions and 1 TD           Incorrect – not even targeted once
• Suggs does not record any sacks           Correct – not even a whiff
• Refs make terrible calls           Correct – too many to mention

Keys to the Game
• Contain Murray and don’t let him run on you           Correct – 3 attempts for 4 yards
• Control the clock 35+           Correct – 37:38
• Protect the rock           Correct – No turnovers

9/15/2019 Cardinals vs. Ravens Pregame

The Ravens host the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday in their home opener. The fans will be loud and proud to be sure and I would expect them to push the decibel meter to the max. Seeing the bevy of receivers and the accurate throws from Lamar last week has given new hope to the fans that these are not the same Ravens we have been seeing in recent years. The Ravens are coming off perhaps their most impressive and dominating road victory in franchise history and the temptation is for the players to think they are better than they really are at this point in the season. I have no doubt Harbaugh and the coaches are trying to keep their player’s heads from getting inflated but these are young men and not so easily persuaded. Let’s hope that this group stays hungry and motivated.

Sunday’s game will also be a home coming for Suggs, Williams and Crabtree. No one cares about Max and Crab, but it will be interesting to see the fans reaction to seeing T-Sizzle in a red jersey. Suggs was the defensive leader for the Ravens when Ray left and as a 16 year veteran he was a loved player in the stands as well as in the locker room. You have to believe that Suggs would love nothing more than to be a game wrecker on Sunday and you also have to know that Coach Roman is going to do everything in power to make Suggs a non-factor in this game. I would expect that Coach Roman will game plan to double team, chip and harass Suggs all day long. Let’s hope that it works and that Suggs stat line at game’s end is full of goose eggs.

The Cardinals are not projected to be very good this year and they are starting a new rookie quarterback in Kyler Murray – who like Jackson has a strong arm and running back like skills. Murray and Jackson are very similar in style and talent. Ravens are pretty good at home and they are especially good against rookie quarterbacks where their record is 15 and 2. In his season debut Murray threw for two TDs and over 300 yards, but it took 54 attempts to get these stats. Lamar had better stats last week with less than half those pass attempts. The Ravens secondary can only hope that Murray throws over 50 times on Sunday.

After week one in the NFL the Ravens are the number one ranked offense and defense. This won’t likely last too long but it is fun to see it in the stats section even if for just one week. The Ravens are the overwhelming favorites this Sunday and the odds makers have the Ravens by 13 ½ points. For those of you unfamiliar with betting lines that is a huge margin for victory. That tells you that Vegas expects this game to be a blow out. If the Ravens stay to their game plan and protect the ball then this game should be a walk away win. The Cardinals have some very good receivers in Fitzgerald and Johnson and the Ravens will have to keep their games in check. The Cardinals are not as bad as the Dolphins but they are not very good and that is why they are ranked in the bottom 5 teams in most NFL power rankings. I think Ravens play their game on Sunday and they will control the ball and the clock and have this game in hand by the 3rd quarter. Even at 13 ½ points I would take the over. Enjoy the game my friends and stay thirsty.

Game Predictions
Score      Ravens    30      Cardinals    16
Turnovers      Plus    2
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens    161      Cardinals    72
Net Passing Yardage      Ravens    292       Cardinals    269

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Peanut leads all tacklers with 7 tackles and 1 assist
• Chris Moore has 3 receptions and 1 TD
• Suggs does not record any sacks
• Refs make terrible calls

Keys to the Game
• Contain Murray and don’t let him run on you
• Control the clock 35+
• Protect the rock

Ravens/Dolphins Post Game Recap

The Ravens win today was the most impressive win I have ever seen bar none. The game was virtually over by the second half and everyone in the stadium and on the sidelines knew it. I know that many will point out that the Dolphin’s stink and are likely the worst team in the NFL, but the Ravens did what you are supposed to do when you play weak teams – you stomp them good. Some of you might remember when the Ravens played the hapless Dolphins in 2007 and lost to them 22 to 16 which was the only win for the Dolphins that season. In recent years the Ravens have played down to bad teams and beat by the slimmest of margins, but perhaps this is a new day for the Ravens who dominated in every phase of the game. I would like to give a shout out to the NFL for giving us such a nice softball to start the season. Other thoughts on the game below:

• One game does not make a season and we will likely know more about this team when we travel to KC in week 3, but you have to be filled with a lot of hope after seeing what the Ravens accomplished today
• Lamar Jackson was perfect on the day, and in fact his QB rating was perfect. He was 17 of 20 for 324 yards and one of those was a drop. He threw 5 TDs on the day and his down field throws were perfect. His first two throws to Hollywood both went for TDs
• The Ravens tight ends accounted for 14 catches and 175 yards and this is a trend that is likely to continue. Andrews, Hurst, and Boyles all have great hands and they seem to match up well with ILBs in the middle of the field
• Ravens played a very clean game today and had just 4 penalties for 40 yards. Stanley was responsible for two of those and he will want to clean that up in future games
• Bowser looked good today and played with a high motor and was a around the quarterback on drop backs. If he keeps this up, we just might be able to get pressure with 4 rushing
• Judon had a big game and was flying around the field like his hair was on fire. He had one sack and a tackle on a screen play that created a 10-yard loss
• Sam had to punt just one time all day and when he did – he kicked a bomb for 65 yards which was muffed by Miami and recovered by the Ravens
• Early in the game Jimmy Smith was clipped by Peanut who was flying through the air and caught Jimmy on the side of his leg. It looked bad and we have to hope that it is just a knee sprain and not something more serious. Averett filled in for Jimmy and was targeted quite a bit in the game
• Ravens offense racked up 643 yards on the day, 31 first downs, and ran 73 plays. I don’t care who you are playing those are impressive numbers in the NFL
• Ravens defense gave up just 200 yards on the day, and rendered just 12 first downs, had 3 sacks, and two interceptions. Not bad for a team that lost 4 premier starters from last year’s roster
• Ravens rushed the ball 46 times today and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Ingram was a beast on the day and ran for 49 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Decosta is looking smart for signing him in the off season
• The offensive line was solid today and Lamar had time to throw when he dropped back. It will be very interesting to see how this group holds up when they face stronger defensive lines
• The draft picks of Boykin and Brown appear early on to have been good ones. Seeing Brown run away for his two TDs gives you an idea of what speed can do for your team. In years past you have seen opposing teams play their safties up tight, but I suspect that is going to change now with the addition of Brown
• I was surprised to see the Ravens do a fake punt when the game was in hand but when you think about it – it is great time to use one in a real game and to see how the team executes in a live game. If you fail on the play there is no real hard done, and if you execute the play well you will give future opponents something to worry about
• Special teams play was solid today but the return game was average at best. There were a few times that Jones could have returned punts and instead didn’t field the ball or call for a fair catch. No big deal on a day like today, but you would not want to see that kind of play in a highly contested game
• Ravens set a franchise best score with 59 points today, here’s to hoping that this year’s team set’s other good records
• Wink and Roman called good games today and while winning big I still think they left a lot of plays and schemes in their playbooks for another day

Game Predictions
Score     Ravens   27      Dolphins   13           Ravens   59      Dolphins   10
Turnovers           Plus 1                                                 Plus 3
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens   135      Dolphins   79           Ravens   265       Dolphins   21
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens   226      Dolphins   211           Ravens   379      Dolphins   190

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Mark Andrews leads all receivers with 7 catches for 68 yards           Correct, 8 catches for 108 yds, but it was Marquis that led in yards
• Lamar Jackson has 8 carries for 48 yards             Incorrect, just 3 carries for 6 yards
• Earl Thomas gets an interception in his first game as a Raven            Correct!!!
• Refs make terrible calls           Correct, the PF call on Tim Williams was ticky tacky and unnecessary

Keys to the Game
• Pressure Fitzpatrick and force mistakes           Correct, 3 sacks, many hits and 2 interceptions

• Control the clock            Correct, Ravens had the ball for 40 minutes – just wow!
• Win the turnover battle            Correct, the Ravens were plus 3 on the day

9/08/2019 Dolphins vs. Ravens Pregame

The NFL’s 100th season is now underway and the 2019 campaign is upon us. The Baltimore Ravens kick off their season this Sunday in Miami for what is likely to be one of the easiest road games on their schedule. The Dolphins are getting absolutely no love from the sports pundits and in most pre-season rankings they are finding themselves ranked dead last in the NFL. Expectations are low for the Dolphins this season and the Ravens are fortunate to start the season against an inferior opponent, especially on the road. The Ravens looked good in preseason and for the fourth straight year they ran the table going 4 and O. The only real disappointment during the preseason was losing Tavon Young to a season ending neck injury. That said, compared to previous years the Ravens got through camp and the preseason relatively unharmed. This year’s Ravens team is younger and faster than last year’s squad but that also comes with less game experience in key positions. For the Ravens to be successful this season – much of the burden will fall on their coaching staff who will have their hands full developing this talent. Lamar in particular will have to improve for the Ravens to be contenders, and by all accounts he has improved which is an important early sign.

Here are few things to like heading into Sunday’s game

• Lamar is healthy and has had full camp of first team reps. He has had time to get extra work in with his new receivers. He demonstrates an excellent work ethic and is already showing that he can be a leader on the field.
• Boyles, Andrews and Hurst are a dynamic group of tight ends and they each bring something unique to the position. Can’t wait to see what they produce as the season progresses.
• The linebackers, while lacking experience, may be some of the fastest that we have had in seen in years. Board, Young, and Peanut will all share time on the inside and should provide better pass coverage than CJ.
• The Ravens secondary is strong and deep, albeit Tavon’s injury hurt the defense because he was so good in the slot. The Ravens should do better in garnering interceptions especially with the addition of Thomas and the progression of Humphrey.
• Ingram, Gus the Bus and Hill along with Lamar should rack up healthy numbers on the ground and I would be shocked if they didn’t rank in the top 5 for yards per game by season’s end.
• Ravens have the best kicker in the game, and there are several games a year that are won by the team with the best kicker.

Here are few things to be concerned

• Offensive line is looking sketchy to me and their options at left guard and center are, in my opinion, below average talent. You have to hope that Coach D’Alessandris can help this group improve over time. Any injuries on our offensive line are really going to hurt given our lack of depth.
• While I love our new receiving group, the reality is rookie receivers don’t typically set the world on fire in their first year. Moore and Snead, the two veterans of this group, are solid but neither of them is a number one or number two receiver on most NFL teams. Let’s hope that Brown and Boykin rise to the challenge and exceed expectations.
• The Ravens lost Smith and Suggs in the offseason and they accounted for 15.5 sacks last year and it doesn’t look like they have the personnel to get those sacks this year. Judon should get his fair share of sacks but it remains to be seen who will step up and provide some additional support. Bowser flashed at times in the preseason but that was against the scrubs so not sure what he will actually contribute. It will likely be up to Coach Wink to dial up blitzing schemes to get pressure on the quarterbacks given his lack of talent on the edge.
• Weather will be hot and humid on Sunday and the Ravens will be in their purple jerseys – so let’s hope that they don’t wilt under the sun.

The first game of the season is always difficult to assess because we don’t really know how the offense and defense will play in game conditions. Also, most of these players have only played a quarter or so in games thus far and on Sunday they will be expected to play 60 minutes. The heat and fatigue will absolutely play a part in this game and you will know by game’s end who the better conditioned team is by how well they play in the second half. The defense will have to deal with Ryan Fitzpatrick who last year started out on fire racking up back to back 400+ yard games. Defense needs pressure him and force some mistakes – which he is prone to make. Ravens are clearly the more talented team and that should prove out to be true on Sunday. If they play within their strengths and protect the ball this game should be over by the end of third quarter. Game predictions in September are always dicey because we are still learning who is who – but I think the Ravens win this one going away. Vegas has the Raven’s by 6 ½ points and I think they cover this one. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Game Predictions
Score                Ravens   27     Dolphins   13
Turnovers       Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens   135     Dolphins   79
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens   226     Dolphins   211

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Mark Andrews leads all receivers with 7 catches for 68 yards
• Lamar Jackson has 8 carries for 48 yards
• Earl Thomas gets an interception in his first game as a Raven
• Refs make terrible calls

Keys to the Game
• Pressure Fitzpatrick and force mistakes
• Control the clock
• Win the turnover battle

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