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Category: The 2017-2018 Season

Ravens/Titans Post Game Recap

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

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

Miscellaneous Predictions

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

Keys to the Game

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

11/5/2017 Titans Pregame

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miscellaneous Predictions

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

Possible Friday Monday morning headlines

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

Keys to the Game

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

10/26/2017 Dolphins Pregame

On a short week the oft battered Ravens will host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night. Miami comes in having won three straight games and most recently beating the Jets in a comeback win on the arm of their second string quarterback – Matt Moore. The Dolphins also beat the Falcons in Atlanta which has to be one of their signature wins this season.  You have to wonder if the NFL is disappointed with this Thursday Night’s line up as it features the two worst offenses in the league in what should be titled, “The Battle of the Inept”.  The Dolphins have a good defense and they have been good against the run which is why they have a 4 and 2 record.  The Ravens on the other hand have the worst run defense in the NFL which is partly why they have lost 4 of their last of 5 games.

The return of Brandon Williams was supposed to be the key to bringing back a stout run defense, but that didn’t happen this past Sunday. The inability to stop the run is killing the Ravens this season and is keeping the defense on the field way too much. Our linebackers are not making contact with running backs until they are 3 to 4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.  Until the Ravens can prove that they can stop the run – teams are going to run 30 plus times a game and control the tempo of the games.  While the Ravens secondary is playing pretty well they are too susceptible to giving up 3rd down conversions on long yardage situations, and often the opposing quarterbacks are targeting Webb.  It may not happen immediately, but I would not be surprised if you saw Jaylen Hill take over for Webb in the slot before this season is over.

Picking Thursday’s game is a challenge because neither team has a potent offense.  That said, Miami does have a very good running back in Ajayi and a solid receiver in Landry both of which are superior to any talent on the Ravens.  The Dolphins also boast a good run defense which will likely keep the Ravens running game in check. Since the Ravens passing game is still struggling to find any momentum it is hard to imagine that we will score more than 16 points. Vegas has the Ravens by 3 points (Odds makers usually give home team 3 points) which means this is basically a “pick em” game.  In a close game I like the Dolphins in this one because they can control the line of scrimmage.  In this up and down year of mediocre football you can never be certain of the outcomes – so let’s hope that I got this wrong.  Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Miami Dolphins hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Thursday, October 26th @ 8:25 PM Odds – Ravens by 3

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 16 Dolphins 17
Turnovers Even
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 80 Dolphins 101
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 171 Dolphins 181

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Thursday Night Football records its lowest TV ratings since starting in 2006
  • Ndamukong Suh & Cameron Wake dominate Ravens O line recording 3 sacks
  • Justin Tucker hits two 50+ yard field goals
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Friday Monday morning headlines

  • Flacco battered and bruised in loss to Fins
  • Sputtering offense comes up short in third straight loss

Keys to the Game

  • Establish the passing game to open up the running attack
  • Pressure Moore and create some mistakes
  • Don’t give up any big plays

Ravens/Vikings Post Game Recap

Minnesota Vikings manhandled the Ravens today and except for the 4th quarter when it was junk time – the Vikings absolutely stifled Joe Flacco and the offense. You can officially hit the panic button on this season as the injuries to the O line and receivers have rendered this team ineffective. The Ravens defense, while not terrible, is at best a mediocre unit and are one of the worst defenses against the rush. It is going to be a challenge for Harbaugh and the coaching staff going forward because they just do not have the talent to beat good teams. Other rants on the game are below:

  • The Ravens 1st offensive series gets a bull rush sack on Flacco which was telling for the day
  • You have to love Brandon Carr’s interception because he kept his eye on the ball and never gave up on the play
  • Not sure why the Refs didn’t immediately flag the hit on Mike Wallace, if the helmet comes flying off you have to assume that the big hit on him was aimed at the helmet. Fortunately the Refs consulted and threw a delayed flag
  • One thing I have noticed in recent weeks is that the Ravens defense is not the most physical team on the field most weeks which has been hard to get used to this year
  • Typical Ravens Offensive Possession – 1st and ten on the 27 and they lose 3 yards on a bad snap, a pass for a yard loss, and incomplete pass – so awful
  • The call on Judon for hands to the face was wrong, replay shows it was below the neck. The play gives the Vikings a 1st down and puts them in field goal range for 3 points
  • Vikings are very physical defense but I thought they played dirty and speared a lot of Ravens players even when on the ground
  • The Ravens O line had no answer to the Vikings front 4 – the pocket was not a safe place for Flacco today as he was sacked 5 times for a loss of 42 yards
  • Flacco highlights today – muffed snap, trips on his own feet, and fumbles when hit from the blind side
  • 1st Quarter – Ravens offense gained a whopping 8 yards
  • Watching Mike Wallace look all over the stadium for his helmet after he was ruled out for concussion protocol was proof that he should not have gone back in
  • Case Keenum targeted Webb and Carr all day long, with some success at times
  • Justin Tucker kicks a 57 yarder showing off his monster leg
  • The Ravens secondary plays too soft on 3rd and long and they give up too many first downs in those situations
  • Ravens defense has been unable to mount any real pressure on quarterbacks this year and today was no exception as Keenum had plenty of time to find the open receiver and was not sacked once
  • 1st half Ravens offense gained 80 yards
  • Except for Tuckers field goals, there was very little to be pleased with in today’s game
  • The Ravens inside linebackers were sloppy in their gap assignments and were gashed on the ground as a result as they gave up 5.1 yards per carry on the day
  • Special teams punt coverage was very poor today
  • I don’t know how many negative pass plays the Ravens had today but it had to be in the 5 to 7 range – which is absolutely inexcusable
  • One positive on the game is that the Ravens had only 3 penalties for 15 yards
  • Chris Moore is not a world beater but he is better than Perriman so I hope when Perriman is cleared to play that he moves back on the depth chart
  • Brandon Williams being out of the starting lineup has been the excuse for the Ravens giving up a lot of ground yardage. What will the coaches and talking heads say this week?
  • Looking ahead at Thursday Night Football, you have to imagine that the NFL just might have their lowest ratings of the year with the Dolphins and Ravens queued up for the evening
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 9 Vikings 20 Ravens 16 Vikings 24
Turnovers Minus 1 Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 76 Vikings 110 Ravens 64 Vikings 169
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 155 Vikings 184 Ravens 144 Vikings 188

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Everson Griffen gets 2 sacks a forced fumble on Flacco  –  Correct, 2 sacks not sure about the forced fumble as Flacco did fumble
  • Ravens commit 8 penalties for 80  –   Incorrect, Ravens played clean with only 3 penalties
  • Justin Tucker accounts for all 9 points  –  Incorrect, but almost correct as we scored our TD as time ran out
  • Refs make terrible calls  –  Correct, call on Judon as noted above

Possible Monday morning headlines – Pick One as they both work

  • Flacco’s woes continue in loss to Vikings
  • Ravens continue to struggle to score in road loss

Keys to the Game

  • Stop the running game and force them to throw  –  Nope, Vikings racked up a 169 yards
  • Open up the passing game and force the Viking safeties to play back  –  Nope, Ravens didn’t even crack 150 yards in the air
  • Win the turnover battle  –  Correct, plus one on the day

10/22/2017 Vikings Pregame

At 3 wins and 3 losses it may be too premature to hit the panic button on this season, but I would certainly keep it within arm’s reach. If the Ravens cannot dispatch the struggling Bears in a home game then it is very difficult to imagine that that they can take their anemic offense on the road against a good defensive team and come back victorious. But this is the NFL and each week always shows some surprises. By the numbers the Ravens look pretty bad through the first six games, and six games is a decent sample size for trending a 16 game season. Let’s take a closer look at the rankings and see where the Ravens stand – here you go:

Offensive Stats

  • Total yards per game (YPG) 289 – Ranked 29th
  • YPG Passing 160 – Ranked 31st
  • YPG Rushing 130 – Ranked 7th
  • Points per game 19 – Ranked 24th

Defensive Stats

  • Total yards per game 330 – Ranked 16th
  • YPG passing 190 – Ranked 5th
  • YPG rushing 141 – Ranked 30th
  • Points per game 20.7 – Ranked 11th

Straight up the Ravens offensive strength is in their running game and if they are going to win on Sunday they will have to move the ball on the ground. The challenge for the Ravens this week is the Vikings are stout against the run (ranked 3rd) and they give up a paltry 79 yards a game. Don’t expect the Ravens passing game to show much improvement this week although I do hope that the receivers will do a better job catching the ball. For reasons unknown to me, Joe Flacco has regressed in his play and even to the untrained eye it is easy to see that he is not playing like a 10 year veteran. Given his play these past few seasons and in light of the injuries to his knee and back – you have to come to grips that this is what you now have with Flacco. And as bad as the passing game looks right now – let me be very clear in stating that the answer is not Ryan Mallet – he is awful. For good or for bad Flacco is our guy and the coaching staff is going to have to scheme things in such a way that he can be successful. To be clear now, I am not putting this all on Flacco, the coaches, receivers and O line have all contributed to this lackluster offense.

I suggest you watch Sunday’s game with low expectations for the Ravens. The Vikings have played most of this season without their starting quarterback and yet they have somehow managed to win 4 games. They are winning because they have a stout defense and they are going to be a handful for the Ravens this week. It also doesn’t help that the following receivers are not practicing this week – Williams, Watson, Wallace, and Perriman.  The Odds makers have the Vikings by 5 ½ and I think that they will cover. Ravens will struggle to get points on the road and the Vikings will win this one in a low scoring affair.   If you are keeping track of my game predictions this year you will know that I am only 2 and 4 so far, so take my picks with a grain of salt. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Minnesota Vikings hosting the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday, October 22nd @ 1:00 PM Odds – Vikings by 5 ½

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 9 Vikings 20
Turnovers Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 76 Vikings 110
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 155 Vikings 184

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Everson Griffen gets 2 sacks a forced fumble on Flacco
  • Ravens commit 8 penalties for 80
  • Justin Tucker accounts for all 9 points
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines

  • Flacco’s woes continue in loss to Vikings
  • Ravens continue to struggle to score in road loss

Keys to the Game

  • Stop the running game and force them to throw
  • Open up the passing game and force the Viking safeties to play back
  • Win the turnover battle

10/15/2017 Bears Pregame

The Bears roll into town to take on the rebounding Baltimore Ravens.  The Bears lead the all-time series with the Ravens at 3 to 2, but they are still winless in Baltimore and this will be their first contest since 2013.  The last place Bears have played poorly so far and currently sit at 1 – 4, they have struggled especially on the offensive side of the ball and average just 15.6 points per game. Their one victory came against the Steelers which just goes to prove that anything can happen on any given Sunday. The Bears can be tricky however and if watched them play this past Monday against the Vikings you got to see a few of their trick plays. Last week the Bears benched their starting quarterback (Mike Glennon) in favor of their rookie Mitchell Trubisky.  Trubisky was a first round pick by the Bears this past May and was one of the best quarterbacks coming out of the draft. You would think that he is likely to have his hands full against the Ravens defense.  That said, Trubisky is quick on his feet and likely to give us some problems keeping him in the pocket.  I will not be surprised if gets a few first downs with his feet. Harbaugh is undefeated against rookie quarterbacks and hopefully that streak will continue this Sunday.

Last Sunday’s game was easily the Ravens best all round performance this year and the formula for success is pretty simple – play penalty free, establish the run game, and don’t turn the ball over. If the Ravens can do that again this week it will not only produce another win, it will start to establish some consistency for this team – which is sorely needed.  This year the Ravens have been full of surprises, few of which I saw coming. Coming into the season I had them going 3 and 2 in the first 5 games, with wins against the Browns (H), Jags (A), and the Steelers(H) – shows you how much I know about this team.

The weather Sunday is expected to be in the mid 80’s which should bring out the cramp monster for some players. I have to imagine that the players hate playing in that kind of heat – especially this late in the year. Ravens are typically very strong at home against inferior teams and if you add a rookie quarterback to the mix – you have to believe that the Ravens win with some ease. Vegas has the Ravens by 6 ½ and I expect that they will cover. The 12th man should be loud and proud on Sunday which will make it challenging for Trubisky. I expect that this game will be decided by the 3rd quarter. Here are a few things on my wish list for this Sunday.

  • I would like to see Perriman make a few catches and build up his confidence
  • I would like to see a game where there are no Ravens assisted off the field
  • And finally, I’d like to a game where the Ravens don’t burn a time out because they can’t get the play snapped in time

If things work out this Sunday this could be the beginning of a string of wins as we follow with Minnesota, Miami and Tennessee – all winnable games before we hit the bye week.  Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Chicago Bears hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday, October 15th @ 1:00 PM Odds – Ravens by 6 ½

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 24 Bears 16
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 133 Bears 112
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 242 Bears 177

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Trubisky runs for 42 yards, and throws a pick
  • Collins breaks off a run of 25+ yards
  • Mike Wallace has 7 receptions for 83 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines

  • Frisky Trubisky falls short against Ravens
  • Ravens gain momentum in home victory

Keys to the Game

  • Stop the run and force them to throw
  • Pound the rock and don’t drop it
  • Convert on 3rd down and move the chains

Ravens/Raiders Post Game Recap

Well I have to admit that I didn’t see that coming. Ravens go 3000 miles west into the Black Hole and not only take care of business but in fact dominate the game from the very beginning. This was a team effort and in every phase of the game, and everyone seemed to be on the same page. Flacco looked focused, calm and in control throughout the game. The coaches had solid game plans to achieve this victory. Except for a sleepy 3rd quarter this was a fun game to watch. And to make things sweeter the Steelers got spanked at home by the Jaguars. Ravens are now back in a tie for the AFC North. Let’s hope the injuries to West, David and Skura are not too serious. Other thoughts on the game are below.

  • Nothing like beginning the game with a 52 yard strike to get things going, and it was just what the doctor ordered
  • Losing West, Davis, and Skura in this game was disconcerting and continues to baffle me as to why we have so many injuries on this team
  • Vince Mayle got his first TD as a Raven on a 2 yard run and this is a guy who was up until today a practice squad player
  • Ravens D got gashed at times in the run game and I think our middle linebackers didn’t pick the right lanes to get pads on their running backs
  • I thought Ben Watson did a great job on helping to block Khalil Mack today to keep him from getting to Flacco
  • Jimmy Smith’s fumble recovery and TD was huge play in the game and put the Raiders behind by 14 points and back on their heels
  • Flacco was sharp today and his deep throws were outstanding, and he really stepped into his throws
  • Flacco’s pass to Maclin as he was falling down was a great play and moved the chains on 3rd down to keep the drive alive
  • What Ryan Jenson gives up in talent and technique – he makes on effort and grit, and he always plays to the whistle – he is one crazy red head
  • Ravens burned 8 plus minutes on a 75 yard drive in the first half and got 7 points on the drive – that is a formula for success
  • Brandon Carr got burned on a 41 yard pass to Crabtree, and missed on a few other plays as well – not his best game this season
  • Watson had an uncharacteristic drop today and unfortunately it would have been a TD
  • I was pleased to see the Ravens punt late in the 2nd half versus trying a long FG, you have to play the percentages in that situation and make sure you don’t give them good field position – Good call coach
  • Mike Wallace had 3 receptions for 133 yards and more importantly it opened up the field and forced the Raider’s safeties to play back and not cheat on the running game
  • Two of the three sacks the Ravens got today were from the secondary which is how they are going to have to get them this year I think
  • Ravens didn’t turn the ball over today and had only 1 penalty for 5 yards, which just goes to show how much better you look when play clean and take care of the ball
  • For me one of the most critical drives of the game was when the Raiders pulled within 7 points and the Ravens got the ball with 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter and drove down the field for 3 points pushing it to a 2 scored lead
  • While Perriman had just 2 catches for 15 yards it was nice to see him get some targets, and to make a nice catch. Let’s hope that he can build off that and produce more in the games to come
  • The Ravens make shift O line held their own today and kept Flacco clean in the pocket and did a very nice job in the running game and created some nice running lanes
  • Raiders got away with about dozen PI’s on Ravens receivers today but this officiating crew kept their flags in their pockets for most of the day
  • Weddle and Jefferson played much today and were active in both the ground game and the secondary
  • So glad that we have Tucker and Koch, these guys do such a good job in the kicking game. After watching the Bucs lose to the Pats on Thursday night because the Bucs kicker couldn’t make a FG from any distance – it makes you appreciate what you have all the more
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 20 Raiders 16 Ravens 30 Raiders 17
Turnovers Minus 2 Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 112 Raiders 109 Ravens 143 Raiders 108
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 189 Raiders 198 Ravens 222 Raiders 137

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Perriman drops another one – He did miss one but I think it was more on Flacco than him
  • Flacco’s streak goes to 11 – Incorrect, the streak is officially broken
  • Khalil Mack gets two sacks – Incorrect, in fact Flacco was not sacked at all today
  • Refs make terrible calls – They missed two PF calls and several PI calls

Keys to the Game

  • Establish the Run and play ball control – Ravens ran 39 times for 143 yards with TOP of 33:43
  • Contain the Beast – Marshawn was limited to 12 carries and 43 yards
  • Get out the gate quick and score early – Correct, 14 points in the 1st quarter

10/8/2017 Raiders Pregame

The Ravens travel west to take on the Oakland Raiders in a battle of what would appear to be two mediocre teams. Statistically speaking, these teams are very similar.  The Raiders are coming off a difficult loss to the Broncos where they lost their starting quarterback Derek Carr to a back injury. E. J. Manuel will fill in for Carr this Sunday and will try to break their two game losing streak. Manuel, who was a first round pick back in 2013, has been in the league for 5 years and has played in 30 regular season games, so he has plenty of game experience. Privately, the Ravens have to be celebrating that Carr is out and can only hope that Crabtree, who missed last week’s game, will miss this week’s game as well. It is no secret that the Ravens need any break that they can get right now. While most of the news on the Ravens has been overwhelmingly negative there are a few bright spots to note, some of which include:

  • Alex Collins, initially a practice squad player, has brought some excitement to the running game
  • Ben Watson has proven to be a very reliable receiver and is also bringing some leadership to the team
  • Humphrey, while still green, is showing some promise with his CB skills
  • Although ranked dead last in passing yards, and 31st in total yards they have still managed to win 2 games

After two straight games of looking pretty bad on both sides of the ball, the Ravens did show a little glimmer of hope last week. In the second half of the Steeler’s game the Ravens defense showed up and forced several three and outs. Likewise in the 3rd quarter, Flacco looked good with his throws and they moved the ball well against the Steelers defense. While the success was limited, they need to build off of this and hope there is more where that came from.

Sunday is a tough game to figure out and it is hard to say with any conviction how things are going to go. The odds makers have Oakland by 2 ½ which is basically a home town advantage. You are not going to see a lot of changes in personnel or approach as Harbaugh has already gone on record as saying they are not making wholesale changes.  In coach speak this means “we got what we got” and we have to make the most of it. I think Sunday is going to be tough on the Ravens. They have not played well on the road for a few years now and West Coast trips are always tough on them. The Raiders have had our number these past two years.  Our offense doesn’t normally travel well and I would expect another sub 250 yard day for the offense. Khalil Mack is likely to have a big day against our O line and I would expect him to not only get a few sacks but also force a fumble along the way.  I think the Ravens will look better on Sunday than they have the past two weeks, but I believe they will come up short and lose their 3rd straight. Raiders win this one in a low scoring affair and do cover the 2 1/2 points.

Even if they lose Sunday the Ravens still have plenty of time to get their act together. Flacco is still in preseason form and should show some steady improvement as he gets more acquainted with his receivers. The rest of league is also having ups and downs so there is no need to panic at this point in the season. I just hope that we have a game where we don’t lose another player to a season ending injury. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Oakland Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday, October 8th @ 4:05 PM Odds – Raiders by 2 ½

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 20 Raiders 16
Turnovers Minus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 112 Raiders 109
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 189 Raiders 198

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Perriman drops another one
  • Flacco’s streak goes to 11
  • Khalil Mack gets two sacks
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
Ravens fall short but look better in loss to Raiders
Mack trucks over Flacco

Keys to the Game

  • Establish the Run and play ball control
  • Contain the Beast
  • Get out the gate quick and score early

Ravens/Steelers Post Game Recap

The Steelers took it to the Ravens today and dominated on both sides of the ball. The defense gave up 382 yards on the day, and 174 yards rushing. The game was essentially over by the first half as the Ravens were unable to get things in gear on offense until later in the game. It was encouraging to see the Ravens play better in the second half but too little too late to have an impact on the outcome. Other thoughts on the game below:

  • In the first half Flacco had no touch, and he was not accurate in his throws which hampered the flow of the offense
  • Ravens total offense at the half was 69 yards – somebody has to go – you pick it folks – Harbaugh, Mornhinweg, Flacco? Something has to change
  • Za’Darius Smith had a tough day as he got beat on the edge all day, whiffed on an open shot at Big Ben, and got called for a stupid PF
  • Just as I had suggested the Ravens over pursuit defense is susceptible to shovel passes and screens which were used several times today to burn the Ravens
  • Steelers did a great job on their first possession chewing up over 10 minutes and running the ball at will against the Ravens front 7
  • Mike Wallace dropped a pass that would have been a huge gainer and would have changed the field – as one of the veterans he has to be better especially with the offense struggling
  • Shazier is a dominant defensive player and he was a one man wrecking crew against the Ravens offense today
  • Ravens special teams are losing their mojo with silly penalties – I counted at least 3 today on special teams
  • Brandon Williams is worth every dollar they paid him because this Ravens defense is not the same without him clogging up the middle
  • Alex Collins is showing some quickness and determination in his play and has provided a much needed boost to the running game but he has to clean up these fumbles or he won’t last long
  • Still no pass rush from the Ravens front four which is making it really tough on the secondary
  • Steelers sent blitzes into the backfield all day long to harass Flacco and it seemed to be effective
  • The rookie Humphrey got targeted today when on the field and he got exposed in coverage several times and he narrowly escaped a big play due to an overflow from Ben
  • Justin Tucker’s 62 yard attempt was our best chance to score in the first half which tells you all you need to know about the Ravens offense today
  • Ravens defense stopped the Steelers on their first possession starting the 2nd half which was an encouraging sign in what was otherwise a disappointing game
  • I am going to declare the Perriman draft a bust, he has no hands, doesn’t seem to be in the right spot on routes and in my humble opinion does not appear to be have what it takes to be a premier receiver in the NFL
  • I still don’t know why Weddle didn’t get a pick six on his interception – I never heard a whistle
  • Our ends and linebackers could not hold the edge today and Bell ran well around the edge all day long
  • CJ Mosley is not doing very well in pass coverage in the middle of the field and you have to wonder if he should be pulled on 3rd down in favor of someone better in coverage
  • The TD pass from Flacco to Wallace was a perfect throw and catch and gave the Ravens some life in what up an until that point had been a dismal game
  • James Hurst gets pushed around and spends most of his time backing up
  • 10 consecutive games for Flacco throwing an interception and if watch the play close it was yet another pass off his back foot. When Flacco steps into his throws he is good, but too often now he is using bad technique
  • The holding call on Howard was a joke and so ticky tacky
  • Jimmy Smith is quietly putting together a nice year thus far, but it is being obscured by the poor play of our inside linebackers in coverage

Steelers predicted to cover the 3 points and they do

Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 19 Steelers 24 Ravens 9 Steelers 26
Turnovers Minus 1 Minus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 111 Steelers 125 Ravens 82 Steelers 174
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 182 Steelers 249 Ravens 206 Steelers 208

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Alex Collins leads the Ravens run game with 14 carries/81 yards   –  Pretty close as he got 9 carries for 82 yards
  • Bell carries for 18 carries/116 yards – 35 carries, 144 yards
  • Flacco’s streak of games with an interception continues at 10  –  Correct!
  • Refs make terrible calls  –  Always

Keys to the Game

  • Contain Brown/Bell/Bryant and don’t give up big plays  –  Nope, you need look no further than Bell
  • Establish the run game and set up the play action  –  Nope, only ran the ball 11 times
  • Win the turnover battle by plus 2 or better  –  Nope, minus two on the day

10/1/2017 Steelers Pregame

Ever taken the trash outside in the heat of summer and when you lift the lid a foul and putrid smell wafts up into the air assaulting your nostrils. And in response you quickly toss the bag in – shutting the lid – hoping to minimize the stench in the air, and as you walk away you are painfully aware that this horrendous smell lingers in your nose. That’s exactly how I feel right now as I share my thoughts for the upcoming game with the Steelers. It is hard to put that Jags game out of my memory, and I fear that this may be the case for some of the Ravens players as well. A poor performance like that has to shake your confidence and while you would like to name the many reasons for this (jet lag, new field, new surroundings …) you can’t explain losing by 37 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars. There aren’t enough reasons to get there!

So here we are a few days away from taking on our divisional rival Steelers. Typically the media sports shows would be flooded with comments about the game and what to expect for Steeler week, but this week it is all about the “knee”. I personally look forward to the day when we get back to the game, but I suspect the media will keep this up front and center for some time to come. I however will move on. Last Sunday the Steelers lost in overtime to the Bears, a team that they should have beaten – but came up short in OT. Their run defense looked poor and their offense was not firing on all cylinders. That said, the Steelers have some great skill players on the offensive side of the ball and quite frankly they have more talent than the Ravens. Offensively you have to give a big edge to the Steelers. Coach Harbaugh and the Ravens have a lot to prove this week. You can say all you want about bouncing back, correcting mistakes, and turning things around – but unless you show it on the field and in your game planning it doesn’t mean much. Talk is cheap, good whiskey costs money. The good news is – this week we are at home which should bring better play from Flacco and provide some extra incentive for the team to perform.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly for this week’s game

  • The Good – Home game, running game ranked 4th, Steelers bring out our best, 12th fan, and games typically close
  • The Bad – No Urban (foot surgery), Brandon (?), confidence shaken, injuries mounting, Antonio Brown owns the Ravens, Steelers 2nd in sacks, and Ravens O line is awful
  • The Ugly – Ravens rank dead last in the league in passing yards at 134 ypg, Buffalo who ranks 31st averages 187 ypg – so we own last place by a margin of 53 ypg. Ravens also rank dead last in yards per game.

These contests are typically very close and most games are decided by 3 points or less. If not for last week’s debacle, the Ravens may have been the favorites this week, but the odds makers wisely have the Steelers by 3, and I think they will cover. The Ravens offense needs to come out fast and determined. Mornhinweg needs to game plan around a subpar O line and give Flacco some protection with “stay at home” tight ends and blocking backs. Defense needs to play within themselves and avoid over pursuit – if they don’t you will see Bell have a career day both on the ground and on screen plays out in the flat. Coach Pees needs to dial up some blitz schemes that get Big Ben some hits otherwise it will put too much pressure on our coverage teams. In spite of all my negative comments today, the Ravens are still sitting at the top of the AFC North and can maintain that spot with a win on Sunday. I hope I am wrong with my predictions this week and that things do in fact bounce back for the Ravens. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Pittsburgh Steelers hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday – October 1st @ 1:00 PM Odds – Steelers by 3

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 19 Steelers 24
Turnovers Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 111 Steelers 125
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 182 Steelers 249

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Alex Collins leads the Ravens run game with 14 carries/81 yds
  • Bell carries for 18 carries/116 yds
  • Flacco’s streak of games with an interception continues at 10
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
Ravens lose another to the IR in loss to Steelers
Flacco’s rebounds this week but comes up short

Keys to the Game

  • Contain Brown/Bell/Bryant and don’t give up big plays
  • Establish the run game and set up the play action
  • Win the turnover battle by plus 2 or better

Special Bonus – If you haven’t see this bone head play by the Bears Marcus Cooper you will have to take a look.

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