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Month: December 2019

Ravens/Steelers Post Game Recap 12-29-19

The Ravens sweep the Steelers and roll to their 12th straight victory. I feel that I should apologies for picking the Steelers today as the Ravens, even with second string players, had this game in hand from the start of the game. There are not enough superlatives to describe the game as the Ravens dominated this game on both sides of the ball. This game could have easily been 42 to 3. With win number 14 the Ravens set another franchise record for wins in a regular season. They also set the all-time record for rushing yards in a season which is saying something in this pass happy league. The Ravens held the ball for over 38 minutes which tells you how much they controlled this game. Other thoughts on the game are below:

• Ravens defense held the Steelers to just 159 total yards of offense – wow!
• Special teams’ story has not changed much all year – Tucker and Koch do a great job, and the kick return game is nonexistent and the punt and kick coverage gives up too many return yards. That said the Ravens special teams did get a score when the punter muffed the snap and then the Ravens recovered the ball in the end zone
• Congrats to McSorely who got his first snap in the NFL getting a first down on a two-yard run
• RGIII did a nice job on the opening drive burning 7 minutes of clock ending with a Tucker FG. All in all he did a nice job today running the offense and he did a nice job in the running game gaining 50 yards on the ground
• I get the no call on the fade pass to Jaleel Scott, but by any standard that was pass interference
• Steelers O line did a good job protecting Hodges as there were times, he had 10 seconds in the pocket without any pressure whatsoever
• 18 minutes into the game the Ravens broke the all-time record for rushing yards in a season with a 9-yard run by Gus the Bus! That is an incredible accomplishment
• Hats off to the Duck who under blitz pressure did a spin away move on the Ravens free rusher and then turns to hit McDonald for a first down pass
• Note to TJ Watt – if you want to be considered for defensive player of the year you best not commit a ton of penalties
• RGIII played well but I don’t think his stock went up by any significant amount today for those looking for an NFL starting QB. He struggled in the red zone and on 3rd down and long yardage
• Judon’s strip sack on Hodges was brilliant and created a turnover with just 45 seconds left in the 2nd quarter and then23 seconds later Justice Hill runs in from the 7-yard line
• Gus the Bus had a very productive day as he gained 130 yards on 18 carries, and was the chain mover all day
• Snell gave the Ravens a lot of trouble today as he had several runs for good yardage and much of that after first contact. On one play he met Carr at the line of scrimmage and then commenced to carry Carr for 8 yards
• I thought the Steelers were playing a dirty today, not that I am surprised by that but I saw several hits after the whistle that were completely unnecessary
• Ravens were deep in their own territory and called a QB sweep on 3rd which I hated and which they came up short, but then to follow that call and go for it that deep in your own territory on 4th down with a fake punt – I hate that call too but loved the result of it

• Funny stat of the game – the Ravens mustered just 81 yards in the passing game but it was more than the Steelers – go figure

Game Predictions

Score       Ravens    13      Steelers    16              Ravens   28      Steelers   10
Turnovers                 Plus 1                                                  Even
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens    100       Steelers    121        Ravens   223     Steelers   91
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens    219       Steelers    226          Ravens    81     Steelers   77

Miscellaneous Predictions

• RGIII is sacked 3 times            Correct, 3 sacks for 15 yards
• The Duck throws two picks            Incorrect, but Averett dropped one
• Ravens barely break the rushing record           Incorrect, they shattered it!
• Refs make terrible calls            Correct, and they missed calling some that should have been

Keys to the Game

• Chase the Duck and get him to flinch           Correct, the Duck was just 9 of 25 today
• Use screens and misdirection to keep the Steelers defense in check           Nope, they didn’t need to
• Win the turnover battle by two           Nope, it was even on the day but it felt like we were two ahead

12/29/19 Ravens vs. Steelers

Ravens host the Steelers Sunday in a game that that will look more like week four of the preseason than it will game 16 of the regular season. The Steelers have to win Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive as they are fighting to get the number six seed in the AFC. The Ravens however, who have locked up their number one seed, have absolutely nothing to play for other than the sheer pride of beating the Steelers twice in a season. Advantage Steelers. Coach Harbaugh has decided to sit Lamar and most of the veteran players to rest them before heading into the playoffs. With the stars and veterans watching this game in their sweat pants it is hard to predict how things will go Sunday. We are going to see lots Ravens players that we are unfamiliar with, and you are likely to see several players that have not suited up until this game. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing McSorely suit up to see might do.

If this game counted for both teams, I think the Ravens win this by seven or more, but that is not case. Coach is smart to rest these guys because the Ravens have been playing really tough, physical teams and those games take their toll on their bodies. During that one offensive series with the Browns last week – we saw Ingram, Andrews and Jackson all hobble at some point. That one series alone was likely enough for Harbaugh to see to convince him to rest some of his stars.

The big question mark for Sunday is how well will RGIII do playing without some of their best lineman and possibly without some of their best receivers. RGIII is a pro and he is going to give his very best. He knows that there will be lot of eyes on him and this may be his best chance to prove to the other teams that he is capable of starting in the NFL. That said, without some of your best players on the field it is going to be challenging to say the least to run on all cylinders. I think Sunday’s game is going to be a low scoring affair and the punters are going to get a workout. I see a lot three and outs on both teams and suspect that it is going to be tough sledding on the offensive side of the ball.

The Ravens are 93 yards shy of breaking the all-time record for rushing yards in a season. Even though they have eclipsed the 3,000 yards on the ground this season, you have to think that they would love to break the all-time record. The problem is they will have to do it without Lamar and Ingram who account for the bulk of those yards. I may be wrong about this but it would not surprise me if they had to run 35 times to get to that 93 yards. And if it takes that many, I actually hope that they will do it. You can bet your &%# that the Steelers are going to do all that they can to hold the Ravens short.

As of this writing we have absolutely no idea who will take the field Sunday afternoon. My hunch is that the Ravens are going to sit a lot more starters than they have already declared. Playing with second stringers against one of the best defenses in the league is going to put a cap on the scoring. I think this game will play close throughout and will likely come down to the 4th quarter. I expect the Steelers front seven pressure is going to be stifling and will keep RGIII on the run all afternoon. In the end I believe the Steelers, albeit anemic offense, will do enough to get the win – because they have to. The Steelers cover and I like under in this one with the – Over/Under at 37.5. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Pittsburgh Steelers hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday – December 29th @ 4:25 PM      Odds – Steelers by 1 ½      Over/Under 37.5

Game Predictions

Score       Ravens    13      Steelers 16
Turnovers              Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage       Ravens    100       Steelers    121
Net Passing Yardage        Ravens    219       Steelers    226

Miscellaneous Predictions

• RGIII is sacked 3 times
• The Duck throws two picks
• Ravens barely break the rushing record
• Refs make terrible calls

Keys to the Game

• Chase the Duck and get him to flinch
• Use screens and misdirection to keep the Steelers defense in check
• Win the turnover battle by two

Ravens/Browns Post Game Recap 12-22-19

The Ravens take care of business and secure the number one seed in the AFC. Assuming the Ravens win their opening playoff game the AFC title comes through Baltimore which will be the first time the AFC title is held in Baltimore. The Ravens got the revenge they wanted today against the Browns, and they capped it off by keeping Chubbs, the league rushing leader, to just 45 yards. The defense did a great job keeping the Browns in check and if not for the officials, they might have pitched a shut-out. Other thoughts on the game are below:

• Browns defense gave up two TDs to the Ravens in the final 1:50 seconds of the first half which is absolutely in excusable. Keep in mind that the Browns offensive possession used just 15 seconds of clock which allowed the Ravens to get another possession before the end of the half – folks that is why the Browns with all the talent that they have are not contenders. Those two minutes completely switched the tone and momentum of the game – and all in the Ravens favor
• Early in the game the Ravens go for it on 4th and 3 failing to convert and give the Browns great field position. I don’t ever like roll out plays on 4th down because you have no plan B if the play is not there. Fortunately for the Ravens the defense got a stop and kept the Browns from taking advantage of the good field position
• Early in the game I thought the Ravens secondary played soft in coverage leaving a lot of room for the Brown’s receivers
• Lamar’s running game is incredible and his ability to slip, slide and juke his way out of tight spaces is partly why he is a lock for the MVP award
• Beckham getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct is a great example of all that is wrong with the Cleveland Browns. There was absolutely no reason for him to taunt in that situation
• Browns defense really committed to stopping the Ravens run game and at times it worked, but when the game got to the second quarter the Ravens just grinded them down to a nub
• I really like Hollywood Brown, but he does fall down more than any other receiver I’ve seen after he catches the ball. Not sure if it is to protect his body but he is missing an opportunity to get yards after the catch
• The sloppy fake handoff from Jackson to Ingram caused the first turnover of the game and provided the Browns with excellent field position which turned into seven points for the Browns. They are so good at that fake but it was bound to happen at some point
• The PI call on Marcus Peters was a ticky tacky call and I say that having watched a lot of football and that kind of contact from a DB is rarely called. The PI call on Jimmy Smith was a horrible call and it was very clear that the ball could not have been caught in the field of play. Refs really need to do a better job
• Ravens offense looked completely out of sync in the first half and Lamar was not sharp at all in his passes as he seemed to be off target. Then he woke up with 1:50 seconds left in the half – scored twice and took the lead
• Ravens offensive line gave Lamar a clean pocket most of the day and did an exceptional job in run blocking – especially in the second half
• Browns were aggressive on 4th down and they converted several due to Raven’s penalties
• Browns offensive line was pretty good today in protection and Mayfield had time to find open receivers
• Ravens had terrible field position today which really made it hard for them to sustain drives to score
• Ravens defense did a great job containing Chubbs in the first half as he had just 8 carries for 17 yards. Chubbs did a little better in the second half but all in all was a non-factor in this game
• Congratulations to Lamar Jackson who set a franchise record for TD passes!
• Mark Andrews has come up so big in just his second year and has turned out to be one of the best TE’s in the game and was big for the Ravens today with 6 catches, 93 yards and 2 TDs
• Ravens kick return game continues to be lethargic and this will have to be addressed in the off season because De’Anthony Thomas is not he answer. I am pretty sure the hit he took on his return in the 4th quarter dislodged his soul from his body
• Justice Hill is not a very big man but I really like how physical he runs when he gets contact, and if he beats you to the edge – just forget about it
• I really hope that I don’t see this referee crew in the playoffs because they officiated a terrible game in my humble opinion
• Pierce and Williams in the middle are about as good a pair of interior linemen as you will see in the league
• I hate seeing our players get banged up this late in the season. Peters, Ingram, and Smith all went down in this game at some point. I do hope that Ingram’s calf issue was just cramps and not more serious.
• The Ravens goal line defense with the Browns at 4th and 1 was great for 3 downs, but a face mask penalty calls on Smith gave them new life and seven points on the very next play
• Ravens offense racked up 481 yards of offense today and held the Browns to just 241 yards of total offense – that is what you call championship caliber football
• For the record the Browns got most of their first downs by penalties – most of which were bogus
• How about Gus Edwards and the job he did in the second half moving those chains with his 6-yard runs

Game Predictions

Score      Ravens    31      Browns    20          Ravens 31     Browns   15
Turnovers             Plus 2                                                  Even
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens    210      Browns    124          Ravens   243     Browns   49
Net Passing Yardage      Ravens    229      Browns    261          Ravens   238     Browns   192

Miscellaneous Predictions

• Ravens rush 35+ times          Correct – 40 attempts and 243 yards
• Judon gets 2 sacks             Incorrect, but he did lead the team in tackles with 5
• Hill gets 5 carries for 23 yards           Incorrect – 3 carries for 19 yards and 1 TD
• Refs make terrible calls                Clearly these refs were Cleveland natives

Keys to the Game

• Harass Baker and force mistakes            Correct, threw one pick and missed a few big plays
• Play ball control offense and score in the red zone             Correct, held the ball for over 34 minutes and scored 4 TDs
• Contain Chub and keep him under 80 yards           Correct, outstanding job from the front seven today

12/22/19 Ravens vs Browns

The Baltimore Ravens take their 10-game winning streak to Cleveland in an effort to secure a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which if occurs will be the first one for them in franchise history. As we all know the last time the Ravens lost a game was at the hands of the Browns who came into M&T Stadium and slobber knockered them. Funny to say this out loud, but that was probably one of the best things that could have happened to the Ravens. The shocking loss to the Browns at home was a big wake up call to the team and the organization. The outcome of that game created a ground swell of activity from the front office that brought a number of new players to the Ravens including L. J. Fort, Josh Bynes, Marcus Peters, and Jihad Ward – and with corresponding exits from Young and Williams along with others. They reshaped their defense 4 games into the season. On September 29th the Ravens were the 27th worst defense in the league and today they are the 6th best, and they are the very best defense statistically since week 4. Not to be overlooked but the injury to Jefferson which put Chuck Clark in the starting role has proven to be a great improvement to the back end of the secondary. Good teams know how to move players around to make them successful and they develop game plans around their strengths. No one has done it better in 2019 then the Baltimore Ravens, and that is why you are seeing a franchise record 12 Ravens invited to the Pro Bowl.

The Browns who had high hopes coming into the season are now languishing in 3rd place in the AFC North and with no hopes of playing in January. They have a lot of talent on this team but have been unable to capitalize to make it a winning season. Their head coach is under duress and you have to wonder how long he will survive. The team always seems to be in some state of disarray and they often are dealing with some drama. Baker is mouthing off, Beckham is whining about his role on the team, Garrett is smashing heads with his helmet, and Kitchens is wearing a t-shirt that makes you scratch your head. If you are a Ravens fan you have to love that you don’t have to put up with that kind of drama on a regular basis.

So far Baker is 2 and 1 against the Ravens, and has thrown for over 300 yards in all three contests. His success against the Ravens is a bit mystifying, but there is no arguing that the Ravens seem to get his best effort. I will be surprised if this game doesn’t get chippy from the very beginning of the game. There is no love between the teams in the AFC North. The Ravens are flat out pissed off about that loss and they want revenge in the worst way. They want to limit Chubbs and attack Mayfield. This time when the Ravens play them, they will have Brandon Williams in the middle which will make it far tougher sledding for Chubbs. Now a word about the difference between Baker and Lamar. Baker was the number one draft choice in the 2018 draft and Lamar was 32nd. Baker is fiery, cocky, and seems to have an ego that matches his number one selection. Lamar is competitive, focused and all about having fun playing the game of football. Lamar is humble and always team centered. Now the comparison of stats – Lamar has a QBR of 112.8, league leading 30 passing TDs, 6 interceptions, 66% completion percentage and 1 lost fumble. Baker Man has a QBR of 78.7, 17 TDs, 17 interceptions, 60% completion percentage and 4 lost fumbles. It would be rubbing it in to display the rushing comparison.

What are the Browns and Ravens playing for on Sunday? The Browns get to play the number one ranked team in the league and beating the Ravens twice in a season would be a great boost to their team ego. That is the one downside to being on the top of the hill, everyone loves a chance to knock you off the hill. The Ravens are fighting to have the playoffs go through Baltimore which they have never enjoyed and you have to believe they want this in the worst way. Cleveland is a below average team both offensively and defensively. They have struggled against the run, and with Miles Garrett suspended they don’t have the same disruptive pass rush that they had when he was playing. It will be interesting to see how hard the Browns play on Sunday, because with Head Coash Kitchens likely being dead man walking – you have to wonder how hard they will play for him. That said, they are at home and they may play tough just out of hate for the Ravens. The Ravens are not likely to take the Browns lightly as many of them still have that nasty taste in their mouths from September. The Ravens are playing much better on both sides of the ball this time and this should present more troubles for the Browns. Wink is likely to attack the line of scrimmage with blitzes to keep Mayfield off balance. I like the Ravens running the ball a ton in this game and it would make sense for Ingram, Edwards, and Hill to split the work to stay fresh going into the playoffs. Ravens need to start fast and get the Browns back on their heels in the first quarter. The Ravens will play ball control offense and limit Baker’s time on the field. If they do that effectively, they wear the Browns down to a nub by the 4th quarter and the game could be out of hand enough to bring in RGIII and some of the other second stringers. I am certain of this – the Ravens will try and win this game at any cost – no matter what it takes, even if that means Lamar running it 15 times. The weather Sunday looks good so that bodes well for the Ravens offense as bad weather tends to reduce scoring. If the Ravens protect the ball and play penalty free, I don’t see how they lose this one. Vegas has the Ravens by 10 with the over/under at 49.5. I like the Ravens to cover and I like the over here. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Baltimore Ravens hosted by the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, December 22nd at 1:00 PM Odds Ravens by 10 points / OU at 49.5

Game Predictions

Score      Ravens    31      Browns    20
Turnovers               Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens    210       Browns    124
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens    229        Browns    261

Miscellaneous Predictions

• Ravens rush 35+ times
• Judon gets 2 sacks
• Hill gets 5 carries for 23 yards
• Refs make terrible calls

Keys to the Game

• Harass Baker and force mistakes
• Play ball control offense and score in the red zone
• Contain Chub and keep him under 80 yards

Ravnes/Jets Post Game Recap 12-12-19

The Ravens win the AFC North Division Title and with just one more win can lock the number one seed in the AFC! To add to the celebration – Lamar Jackson breaks the all-time single season rushing record for quarterbacks breaking Vick’s record set in 2006! The Ravens scored on their first 3 possessions and the game was over about 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter. The Ravens extend their winning streak to ten in a row and can now enjoy a few days extra rest before they go to Cleveland. Other thoughts on the game are listed below:

• Ravens offensive line did a very good job both in the run game and in protection. James Hurst did well at left tackle filling in for the injured Stanley
• Ravens opening drive goes 85 yards for 7 points and marks the 11th time this season that the Ravens have scored first in the game
• Kickoff and punt coverage team played poorly tonight giving up runs in excess of 30+ yards and giving good field position to the Jets
• When the Jets kicker Ficken missed the 49-yard FG attempt and the extra point, what do you think the Jet’s fans are saying at home?
• Congrats to Patrick Ricard who not only plays offense and defense, but on special teams play got some hand on Ficken’s first FG attempt
• Tucker missed an extra point for the second time this season – seriously what the heck is going on here?
• Ravens Special Teams played terrible in this game and it was perhaps their worst game of the season. This group needs a lot of work and it needs to get right in a hurry
• Ravens Offensive Possessions – 1st – TD, 2nd – TD, 3rd – TD, 4th – Punt, 5th – Punt, 6th – Punt, 7th – TD, 8th – TD, 9th – Punt, 10th – TD, 11th – Punt, 12th –
• In the 1st quarter alone the Ravens rushed for 99 yards and averaged 11 yards per carry – and this against the leagues best rushing defense as measured by yards per carry given up – Impressive!
• Jet’s receivers looked open a lot in this game with lots of separation
• How exciting is it to have a talent like Hollywood Brown who has crazy speed, great hands, and end line awareness. Lamar and Brown have a great opportunity to TD machines in the games and years to come
• Crowder’s drop in the end zone was one of the worst I have seen in recent history, but good for him for making a great catch on the very next play for a TD in very tight coverage. Crowder owned the Ravens secondary and I won’t share the stats because I don’t want to see it print
• The Ravens wide receiver’s, specifically Snead and Boykin do an outstanding job blocking downfield on runs and is partly why the Ravens can get big chunk runs
• Brandon Carr’s missed tackle on 3rd and 7 to keep the Jets drive alive is not going to get him more snaps on this deep defense
• Ravens 4-man rush is one of the worst statistically in the league at getting pressure, and it showed quite a bit this evening as Sam had plenty of time to throw
• Jimmy Smith made an outstanding play defending a pass on 4th and one yard to break up what would have been a sure TD
• Most shocking stats of the first half was that the Jet’s offense had the ball for 17 minutes, gained 200 yards and 6 of 9 on 3rd down – and this from the League’s 31st worst offense
• Things I hate to see – going three and out to open the 2nd half – very unsatisfying
• The Jets make shift offensive line did well against the Ravens front four both in run blocking and protection
• After getting gashed in the first 3 possessions the Jet’s defense adjusted well and Coach Williams had that defense stuffing the Ravens 3 straight possessions
• When you score touch downs on your possessions instead of FGs you are going to win a lot of games
• The special team’s penalties by the Ravens in the 4th quarter was embarrassing. Harbaugh has to be furious at poorly they played – they get an F!
• Ravens go for it on 4th and 1 at their own 30-yard line and throw it for a 36-yard pass. Not sure I would have called that play or even gone for it, but wow!
• The movement call on Makeri was a terrible call as was the refs missing the ball hitting Levine on the punt – Jets got robbed
• Lamar Jackson has to be a lock for league MVP. His stat line in this game includes 86 rushing, 212 passing, 5 TD’s, and QB rating of 138.4. Just another day at the office for him and keep in mind he did that against one of the better defensive units in the league
• As I predicted Bell came out with a fire in his belly and he did have his best game of the year against the Ravens. Let the man go bowing for crying out loud!

Game Predictions

Score     Ravens    27      Jets    19       Ravesn   42      Jets   21
Turnovers           Even                  Plus 2

Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens    130       Jets    84         Ravens   218     Jets   103
Net Passing Yardage      Ravens    221       Jets    161          Ravesn   212       Jets   203

Miscellaneous Predictions

• Gus leads RBs with 11 carries for 42 yards       Nope, not even close
• Boykin gets 1 catch for 8 yards        Close, 1 catch for 5 yards and a TD
• Ravens commit 6 penalties for 58 yards        Actually, 6 for 35 yards
• Refs make terrible calls           Correct, noted in the comments above

Keys to the Game

• Don’t turn the ball over and you win!       Yep!
• Score in the red zone          Correct – everytime in fact
• Pressure Darnold and force mistakes       Correct, one forced fumble and one INT

12/12/19 Ravens vs. Jets

The Jets come to Charm City with a 5 and 8 record and they have very little to play for except that they don’t want to look bad under the National spot light of Thursday Night Football. It is a short week for the Ravens so I will keep my pregame thoughts short as well.

Jets have a good defense and they are stout against the run (ranked #2), which makes you wonder how much the ground game will work for the Ravens this week especially with Lamar fighting through a quad injury. After a horrendous start to the season the Jets have won four of the last 5 games and during that time have scored an average of 26 points per game. There defense is good enough to keep them in games and if the Jets offense gets rolling, they can beat just about anybody. One thing I wish hadn’t happened is all the attention on Le’Veon Bell going bowling when he missed the game due to the flu. I would not be surprised if he played with a fire in his belly tonight to shut down all the haters. The Jets have been very inconsistent this year but except for a few games where they got blown out – they have lost most of their games by one score. Coach Roman will have to be clever this week to find some room to run against them and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the Ravens pass significantly more in this game.

The Ravens offense has sputtered the past few weeks – mostly due to the level of competition as well as the weather conditions. Tonight, will be yet another test for the Ravens and they just need to keep doing what they have been doing – play to your strengths and take what they give you. The Ravens have done a good job of that all year and that is why they keep winning. Both Wink and Roman have been calling good games for the Ravens and you have to give credit for much of the success of this team. Last week was a great example of that when the Bills went all in to blitz Lamar and left the middle of field wide open for Goldie Locks who took the pass 61 yards to the house. Fun Fact: Hayden’s 61-yard touchdown is the fastest recorded Raven this year at 21.3 miles per hour. Pretty impressive considering you have Lamar and Brown on your team.

The Ravens are 6 – 0 on Thursday night and they are going for 7 in a row. The book makers have the Ravens by 16.5 points and there is a good chance that could go to 17 by end of day. The Ravens were 14-point favorites on Monday so you can see by the line moving up that there must be big money on the Ravens. Personally, I think this game is a bit tougher to figure out because there are so many players on both teams that are either out or questionable for tonight’s game. The Ravens should win this game handily but I don’t think they will cover. Lamar having a quad issue will make him less of a threat to run and that allows the Jets to be more aggressive defensively. A perfect night would be the Ravens running away with it early in the 3rd quarter and having a chance to put in some of the backups. I would love to see RGIII play a quarter plus tonight. Ravens defense is playing well and I think they should be able to keep the Jets under 20 points. Ravens will get their tight ends involved in the game early and that should move the line backers back a bit and give some room for the running game. Ravens are clearly the better team and if healthy would win by a bunch, but tonight they win outright but I don’t think they clobber them. The over/under is set at 44.5 and I like the over. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Baltimore Ravens hosting the New York Jets on Thursday, December 12th at 8:20 PM Odds Ravens by 16.5 points / OU at 44.5

Game Predictions

Score      Ravens    27      Jets    19
Turnovers            Even
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens    130       Jets    84
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens    221       Jets    161

Miscellaneous Predictions

• Gus leads RBs with 11 carries for 42 yards
• Boykin gets 1 catch for 8 yards
• Ravens commit 6 penalties for 58 yards
• Refs make terrible calls

Keys to the Game

• Don’t turn the ball over and you win!
• Score in the red zone
• Pressure Darnold and force mistakes

Ravens/Bills Post Game Recap 12-8/-9

Congratulations to the Ravens who have clinched another trip to the playoffs. The Ravens add another big road victory to their resume and I understand a little better today just how tough the Buffalo Bills are. The Ravens defense played a spectacular game and they pressured Allen all day long. This was not an easy win to be sure, and today they had to beat both the Bills and the officiating crew. I doubt many on the sports shows will point this out but I thought this game was poorly officiated. And to continue my rant I something needs to change in the NFL because this officiating crew gave the Bills a million yards in personal foul penalties some of which were bogus penalties. At least two of the PFs were so bogus even the announcers couldn’t explain why they were called. Other thoughts on the game are detailed below:

• Even though the Buffalo defense is stout against the pass down field I loved how the Ravens went deep on their first series to show the Bills they are not afraid of their secondary
• On 4th and 16 Allen throws the ball up in the air and when Humphries touches the back of Cole Beasley, he violently arches his back and falls to the ground for the most impressive flop I have ever seen. And no surprise to me the commentators are silent to point it out
• Mark Andrews had two passes that were just off his fingertips which if caught would have been game changing plays. Unfortunately, Andrews received a knee injury in the game that kept him from returning to the game
• Lamar never looked a little uncomfortable today and he had a lot of trouble in the run game and he seemed to lose his footing several times. That said, he did gain 40 yards and cracked 1000 yards for the season and is now only the 2nd quarterback to eclipse that number.
• Early in the game the Bills were pretty liberal in throwing down field but Allen was over throwing by a big margin which had to be frustrating for the Bills coaches as in almost all the cases the receiver had a step or two on the Ravens corner
• Marcus Peters had a mediocre day but when the game was on the line at the very end, he made a brilliant play on ball thrown to John Brown which sealed the victory for the Ravens
• Bills defense is legitimate and they held the Ravens to just 257 yards. Some of that was due to our play calling but the Bills were stout on 3rd down. They held the Ravens offense to just 95 total yards in the first half.
• Ravens defense played like the 2000 Ravens in the first quarter and they ended the quarter with Judon sack on Allen that caused a fumble
• The Ravens had first and goal on the 6-yard line and were unable to impose their will on the Bills front seven – that was until Lamar shot putted the ball to Nick Boyle off the sweep option – and absolutely brilliant call by Coach Roman
• Judon is putting together an impressive season and is amped up play has given our pass rush some much needed life
• Bills were a little slow to adjust to the Ravens defense early in the game but when they started to run the ball with more regularity, they got their offense going and moving down field
• The Ravens pass rush was impressive today and they kept Allen on the run most of the afternoon. Allen proved to me that he is one tough ombre because he took a lot of hits
• I kind of feel bad for Gus Edwards because this season I think he has at least 3 or 4 running plays of 20+ yards where offensive holding is called and the play is called back
• Lamar throwing high today really cost him in the second quarter when he threw high to Sneed the ball coming off his hand goes right the Bills LB for pick. The good news is the Bills were unable to capitalized on the turnover and in fact on 3rd and 9 Allen was sacked moving the Bills out of FG range – I am certain much to the delight of Lamar Jackson
• The Bills did an excellent job containing Lamar today and they were clearly ready to deal with his running game
• At times the Ravens corners play so far off the line of scrimmage it makes me wonder why they don’t get burned more underneath. Personally, I think it is a bad practice on 3rd down because it invites the offense to dink for 1st down yardage. For all my criticism I should point out that the Ravens gave up just 105 yards in the air today
• The 61-yard pass from Lamar to Hurst was perfectly thrown and the pass hit Hurst in stride and he had the speed to get it all the way to the end zone. What I really love about the call is that the Bills were stuffing the box to stop the run up the middle and they left the middle of the field wide open to be exploited
• The PF on Thomas was about as bogus of a call as you can see and often gives the offense the spark that they need. Refs need to do better in these games because these PF calls are really costly
• Stephen Hauschka was brilliant today and his leg kept the Bills in this game
• Special teams’ coverage was solid today and pinned the Bills back on kick offs and punts alike
• The Ravens offense had some drives that got stymied because they got a little too cute on some misdirection plays that lost some yardage and gave them some long 3rd downs. I felt like the running game was there all day but for some reason they didn’t want to pound it down their throats
• For the record, I can’t stand Dan Fouts – I don’t know why CBS’s is so committed to him. I am so tired of hearing him rail on during games often to point out something that the Ravens did wrong
• Ravens secondary was outstanding in coverage today and they had tight coverage all afternoon. I will say however that the Bills helped us out a few times with some drops on easy catches
• Marcus Peters was held on the play where Beasley got the 4-yard pass for a TD – I know that Fouts said it was a legal block, but the receiver had his hands gripped on the outside of the jersey which by rule is holding
• I expected Cole Beasley to have a bigger impact on the game, but the coverage on him was excellent
• I am not sure if DeAnthony is allergic to leather but he looked like he wanted nothing to do with the football today and didn’t attempt to return anything
• Ingram had a nice game today and he played hard all the way to the whistle. His 15 carries for 50 yards were hard fought and key to our success today
• With 6 minutes left in the game the Ravens went three and out giving the ball right back to the Bills right after they had scored to get within a TD. It really felt like the game momentum was all Bills at that point but this Ravens defense got the job done in spite of the officiating crew’s best efforts
• There is no other team in the NFL that has a more impressing game winning resume and today they took on anther top team on their home turf
• How great is it that the Ravens have the depth of talent to lose their season leading TE receiver early in the game and to have Hurst who steps in with 3 catches for 73 yards and a TD
• It is not often that you see an interior lineman get seven tackles and three assist – congratulations Brandon Williams
• Don’t look now but the Ravens are a top ten defense now and they have clawed their way back to this ranking since giving up back to back 500 yard plus games. The emergence of this group with all the new faces they have added is absolutely brilliant and credit goes to the GM and all the coaches that have made it work

Game Predictions

Score      Ravens    26      Bills     20       Ravens   24      Bills   17
Turnovers           Plus 1                Even
Net Rushing Yardage       Ravens    195       Bills    112       Ravens   118       Bills   104
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens    135       Bills    167       Ravens   139      Bills   105

Miscellaneous Predictions
• DeAnthony has a return of 30 yards plus        Nope, he didn’t want to touch the ball
• Smith gets an interception       Nope – but he defended a few
• Andrews leads receivers with 6 catches for 63 yds       Nope, the injury to his knee put that on hold
• Refs make terrible calls       Correct – called more PF penalties than I think I have ever seen

Keys to the Game
• Force turnovers and limit drives        Correct, forced fumble and tough on 3rd down
• Harass Allen, force mistakes and don’t let him run        Correct, all day long
• Score TDs in the red zone        Correct, this was the difference in the game

12/08/19 Ravens vs Bills

The Baltimore Ravens take their eight-game winning streak to up-state NY to take on the up and coming Buffalo Bills. The Ravens are coming off a very impressive win at home against the 49ers where they prevailed in a very physical game. Likewise, the Bills are coming off an equally impressive Thanksgiving Day win against the Cowboys where they beat them handily in the Big D, giving up just 15 points to what is one of the more high-powered offenses in the league. The Bills at 9 wins and 3 losses have to be one of the NFL’s big surprise stories this year and their second year QB Josh Allen is playing very solidly. Josh Allen, a 2018 draft first-round pick (7), is showing great improvement in his second year and is starting to look like the talent that the Bills hoped he would be. Josh Allen is a talented player and I expect him to play for Buffalo Bills for many years to come.

The Ravens are sitting at the top of every Power Ranking list you can find. And It is not just that they have an eight-game winning streak and a 10 and 2 record, there are four other teams with identical records. Ravens sit at the top in part because of the caliber of the teams that they have beaten over the past two months as well as the manner they have done that. They have defeated three of the four teams that currently have 10 and 2 records, and they have beaten those teams by a combined score of 87 to 56. Additionally, since losing to Cleveland in late September, five of the eight Ravens wins have been against playoff bound teams. The Ravens schedule has been really tough and they have prevailed in spite of that.

Many of the talking heads have been saying the Ravens are due to have a letdown game. In some respects, I am inclined to agree with them. It’s not uncommon for an NFL team to have a bit of a letdown after playing a very tough opponent and getting the win. The Ravens burned a lot of calories last week and it was a physical game that resulted in a handful of banged up players. Keep in mind too, that Buffalo has the benefit of a few extra days of rest – which at this time of year makes a world of difference. No question that the atmosphere in Buffalo will be playoff like, because beating the Ravens would not only be a signature win for them but also keeps them in the hunt to win the AFC East Division out right. For those of you unfamiliar with Buffalo, they have great fans and they know how to make noise. Name me another US city that could endure four straight years losing in the Super Bowl and still have their fans show up at the stadium.

The Buffalo Bills have won nine games because they are a very good team, and they have a solid running game, and similar to the Ravens have a quarterback who can run. Josh Allen is 6‘5“tall and 230 pounds, and when he gets going, he is quite a load to bring down. If you don’t believe me take a look at the highlights of his last game in Dallas. Allen averages over 35 yards per game and the Ravens pass rush will have to account for him as he is apt to scramble for big gains if you let him out of the pocket. Additionally, the Bills have two solid running backs in Singletary and Gore both of which have over 500 yards on the ground this year. The Bills defense is ranked 3rd in the league which is a key reason why they are enjoying such success this year. They have a very good defensive line that can get after the QB, very fast linebackers that get to the ball, and an excellent secondary. There is no blatant weakness in this defense and Lamar will have his hands full dealing with this team.

Here is what has me worried about this game. Last week against 49ers the Ravens defense got exposed for their inability to stop runs coming off the edge. I have no doubt that the Bills watched that tape and want to take advantage of that this Sunday. Additionally, the 49ers kept Lamar in check in the second half with their mush rush and you would have to think the that the Bills will try to replicate that approach. The Ravens are 5 and 1 on the road this year and they know what it takes to beat teams on their home turf. They will need their A game to beat the Bills at home and like most NFL games this game will be won or lost in the trenches.

As you might imagine the Ravens are favored Sunday and will likely be favored for the remainder of the season. There is a lot on the line for both teams. Most years the AFC playoffs goes through Foxboro, but if the Ravens can win out the regular season schedule the playoffs will go through Baltimore. How great would that be! So, the Ravens have complete control of their destiny – just keep doing what you have been doing and get the win on Sunday. The winning recipe is no secret – run the ball – burn the clock – protect the rock – and keep your opponent out of the end zone. The Ravens are the much better offense and I expect them to outscore the Bills. I don’t think it will be easy for the Ravens but they have enough talent to move the ball both on the ground and the air – even against the best defenses. One of the things that the Ravens have done well this season is making the right in game adjustments on both sides of the ball. Big credit needs to go to Coach Wink and Coach Roman on knowing how to get the job done in these high-pressure games. Sunday is going to be a hard-fought game, and I think the Ravens O line will rise to the occasion and keep Lamar clean in the pocket as well as push the ground game. The defense will keep the Bills in check and likely force some mistakes from Allen. I like the Ravens winning this one but don’t think they will runaway with it. I am seeing a nail biter much like last week with the Ravens barely covering the 5 ½ point spread. The over/under is set at 44 and like the under here.

Game Predictions

Score      Ravens    26       Bills    20
Turnovers           Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens    195       Bills    112
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens    135       Bills    167

Miscellaneous Predictions

• DeAnthony has a return of 30 yards plus
• Smith gets an interception
• Andrews leads receivers with 6 catches for 63 yds
• Refs make terrible calls

Keys to the Game

• Force turnovers and limit drives
• Harass Allen, force mistakes and don’t let him run
• Score TDs in the red zone

Ravens/Niners Post Game Recap

Every NFL game has its own story and this game was all about the “Go for it” on 4th down. In actuality there were only 5 attempts on 4th down but it felt like 10 to me. You also might call this game “who has the best kicker”? We all know the answer to that question – because Tucker ended this game with a 49-yard field goal in absolutely horrible field conditions, excruciating pressure and with the clock running down. It was a 49 yarder that beat the 49ers. He was up to the challenge – Long live the Tuck!! There were lots of things that I didn’t like in that game (officiating included) but in the end the Ravens prevailed and proved to me that they have plenty of grit to grind out this 2019 campaign. This game really lived up to the pre-game hype and I suspect the NFL office is kicking themselves for flexing this game to a better time slot. Congratulations to the Ravens who held court against one of the best NFL teams in the league and also set a record for the most consecutive wins (8) in a regular season. Other thoughts on the game are detailed below:

• One of my favorite things about this game is that we didn’t see the best from the Ravens on either side of the ball and yet they collectively did enough to win this game in the end
• The Ravens ability to burn clock was never so important as it was on their last possession when they burned the remaining 6 minutes and 37 seconds to close out the game
• Belly ache comment for the day – How does Humphries get called for PI in a critical point in the game on a love tap when Andrews gets mauled by the CB and no flag comes out – so terribly inconsistent with the officiating
• Lamar had another 100-yard game towards his almost certain record setting season
• Congrats to Chris Wormley who blocked Garoppolo’s pass on 4th and 1 – that is why it is said that great teams find a way to make great plays in critical points in the game
• The game opened with a brilliant 3-minute drive by the Niners who came up with some big plays to get on the scoreboard early which is something that the Ravens are not used to seeing, at least not in recent weeks
• The second Niner series Chuck Clark forces a fumble on Garoppolo for great field position and two plays later score on a touchdown pass to Andrews. That play was huge!
• Ravens pass rush did a good job keeping Garoppolo in the pocket and not scrambling, but as the game wore on they had a lot of trouble getting pressure
• I think that the Ravens kick coverage leaves something to be desired because today I didn’t see the any contact on the receiver until they reached the 20-yard line. Seems that we need some speed on coverage because no one seems to be down inside the 20 to pin them back. Our best play is Tuck kicking it out the back of the end zone
• Ravens receivers do a great job week over week blocking down field on running plays and today they were absolutely brilliant especially in the first half
• Mostert, the backup running back for the 49ers, did an amazing job today getting 146 yards on 19 carries, and had several long runs – one for a TD
• Lamar frustrates defenses such that they take cheap shots on him and today was no exception when the Niners hit him late on 3rd and 4 to extend the Ravens drive
• Niners got some nice runs against the Ravens defense when they over pursued and failed to hold their lanes
• You have to love how the Ravens offense came out in the second half with lots of Ingram runs up the middle but unfortunately the drive ended with Lamar getting stripped by the Niners for a turnover
• You have to take your hat off to 49ers offensive line who opened up gapping holes in running game and who got the better of the Ravens front seven
• Big play in this game was when the Niners went for it on 4th and 1 on the Ravens 29-yard line and converted to keep their drive alive when Humphries commits a PI penalty – a little ticky tacky for my taste especially since Jimmy threw behind the receiver. The Ravens did finally get a stop on the drive and kept them to a FG.
• The red flag on the PI on Mark Andrews was likely an emotional throw from Harbaugh because it is almost impossible to get that call over turned. Not even sure why they added the booth review on these calls since you don’t ever seem them overturned
• The play by Chris Moore on the punt coverage was one for the ages when he dove to save the ball from being a touchback, and one of the reasons why the Ravens have kept him on their roster
• Ravens secondary didn’t make any plays on the ball today and recorded zero passes defended. I know it sounds harsh given they only gave up 157 yards passing, but with this talent I am expecting more aggressiveness on the ball
• DeAnthony Thomas has brought a much-needed boost to the Ravens return game and his 18-yard punt return in the 4th quarter was a much-needed play to give the Ravens good field position
• Ravens must have been afraid of the Niners secondary because they didn’t take many shots downfield in this game
• With 9:45 left in the 4th quarter the Ravens go for it on 4th and 5 yards which I thought was a mistake because there was nothing that I was seeing that led me to believe they would convert in that situation. The Niners defense had found their mojo and were sniffing things out and quite frankly none of TE or Receivers were getting any separation
• Niners in their first offensive series convert on first 3rd and long went for 30 yards and it was a real crowd husher early in the game. Then they went for it on 4th and 2 and threw for a 30+ yard pass for 6 points. Marcus Peters looked like he was asleep on that coverage and seemed more interested in getting a penalty called than covering his player
• Marcus Peters didn’t have his best game today and his tackling was just awful which is really the first game where he laid an egg. I will be interested to see if others write about this
• While the Ravens defense did a good job with runs up the middle the defense did not do well in setting the edge today and got burned on several big runs off the edge – one of which was a 40-yard TD run
• Ravens are enjoying great success on going for it on 4th down, but boy does it make me anxious when they do it
• Lamar was not sharp on his throws today which is understandable given the weather conditions, but some of the short throws were off target which hurt the yards after catch since the receiver had to adjust to the ball
• Ravens defense did not swarm to the ball today especially in the first half, and I saw way too many plays where one Raven defender was trying to wrestle a Niner to the ground. In the first half alone the Niners ran 119 yards on the ground
• I was really impressed with how well Patrick Mekari did at the center position. An undrafted player who is filling in for Skura and snapped the ball flawlessly today in very wet conditions

Game Predictions
Score      Ravens    27      Niners    19          Ravens   20     Niners   17
Turnovers           Plus 1               Even
Net Rushing Yardage       Ravens    221      Niners     111          Ravens   178      Niners   175
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens    174      Niners    178          Ravens   105      Niners   157

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Marcus Peters continues his solid play with another interception       Nope, likely his worst game of the year
• Judon gets a sack and blocked pass          No and no

• Ingram has two TDs       Nope
• Refs make terrible calls          Yep, PI calls were horrible

Keys to the Game
• Stop the Niners run game       Nope, Niners ran very well
• Run the ball and dominate TOP    Correct, the Ravens ran well and won TOP by 5 minutes
• Convert in the RedZone       Yes, they converted two out of three
• Win win win the turn over battle    Nope – even on the day

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