Sunday’s game against the Seahawks begins a ten-game stretch that will be very difficult for the Ravens. Other than the Bengals game away and the Jets at home, and these games aren’t gimmees, the other eight games look pretty scary. The Ravens at 4 and 2 are right where I thought they would be at this point in the season, and now that we know more about the teams we are going to face – honestly it looks much more daunting. I didn’t think the Niners, Texans and Bills would be this good, and you also have to face the Patriots and Rams along the way. If the Ravens finished at 500 it would not surprise me one bit. Fortunately for the Ravens, since their division competition has gotten off to such a bad start, it is fairly likely that the AFC North champion will only need 8 or 9 wins to the win the division. Based on that I would like to think the Ravens have a good chance to be in the mix late December. That said, they are going to have to improve in some areas and they will eventually have to win some games against the better teams of the NFL. Through the first six gams the Ravens have played only one team with a winning record and they lost one.
The Seattle Seahawks are playing very good football and their 5 and 1 record is legit. Russell Wilson is having a tremendous year and through 6 games he is the odds-on favorite to win the MVP this year. He is going to be very difficult to stop on Sunday and given our lack of pass rush from the Ravens he is going to have all day to find receivers. It really doesn’t matter how much talent you have in your secondary, if you give an NFL quarterback time – he is going to complete passes. So far Coach Wink has been unable to find the right recipe of players and schemes to get pressure on the quarterback and that has been the theme all year. Did you know – that the Ravens lead the league in blitz attempts at 50% and they still only have nine sacks on the season. Keep in mind too that the Ravens couldn’t pressure Dalton and he had an offensive line of second stringers. I know that I have been harping on this lack of pass rush issue but it is arguably the biggest defect of the Ravens team. You have to wonder if DeCosta can find something in the trade market in the next two weeks. The recent addition of Marcus Peters will help the secondary, but I don’t expect him to be a savior for the defense. Keep in mind, he is brand new and might make some bad reads and miss some coverage assignments as he learns the Ravens system. The Ravens have really been snake bitten with the injuries in the secondary, and what was once seen as a defensive strength is looking very thin right now.
Looking at the match up this Sunday it is surprising how similar their stats and ranking are in both offense and defense. They are both top 5 offenses and both have average defenses. I think this game, as most games are, will be won in the trenches. Establishing the run game and stopping the opponents run game will be key for both teams and the one who does that best will likely win this game. The Hawks are plus six in the turnover stat and that is one area they are superior to the Ravens. This Hawks defense knows how to go after the ball. Playing in Seattle’s Century Link Stadium is no picnic, and they know how to make some noise – so this will be problematic for the Ravens offense and their play calling. Earl Thomas is returning to his old stadium and it will be interesting to see how he plays as you would imagine he has something to prove to the team that let him go after 9 years and being the leader of the Legion of Boom.
It is hard to think that the Ravens are going to beat the Seahawks on the road this Sunday. They have a lot to overcome and the deck is stacked against them. West Coast travel, depleted secondary, the 12th player, banged up skill players, and questionable defense all lead me to believe that the Seahawks hold court. If the Ravens were to steal a win, they would need to play penalty free, win the turn over battle, score TDs not FGs, and get Russel on the ground. I don’t think they will do enough of these things to win – but we do have the secret weapon in Lamar and he will have to have an incredible game to bring home a win. The odds makers have the Seahawks by 3 ½ points and I think they will cover. The Over/Under is set at 49 and I like the under in this one. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.
Seattle Seahawks hosting the Baltimore Ravens – October 20th at 4:25 pm
Odds – Seahawks by 3 ½
Score Ravens 23 Seahawks 31
Turnovers Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 172 Seahawks 112
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 230 Seahawks 311
• Wilson passes for over 300 yards, and runs for over 40 yards
• Ravens are down by two scores by the end of the first quarter
• Lamar rushes for over 100 yards for the second straight game
• Refs make terrible calls
Keys to the Game
• Run the ball and burn the clock – Keep Russel on the sidelines
• Don’t give up the big plays
• TDs in the RedZone – FGs won’t cut it
• Play clean football