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Category: The 2017-2018 Season

Ravens/Bengals Post Game Recap

Win and you are in, snooze and you lose – today the Ravens snoozed. Sadly the Ravens fans were treated to a very difficult loss in what was another game where they couldn’t hold the lead. The Baltimore Ravens made enough mistakes to lose a game that they should have not lost. They played uninspired football in the first half and had too many missed opportunities. Coaches got out coached and players got out played. Bengals get the ball with 2:40 seconds and all you needed was a stop by your defense. Bengals on 4th and 12 had to convert and not only did they convert but they got a game winning TD to put the game on ice. The defense could not get the job done. The Ravens organization will spend next weekend in their lovely family rooms watching the Bills and Titans who took care of their business to advance. Other thoughts on the game are below:

  • Alex Collins 17 yard run for a TD in the 3rd quarter was one for the ages, running on 4th and 3 seemingly on the verge of getting caught for a loss – reverses field and outruns the pursuit for an amazing run
  • Even though there were only about 300 people at the game they sure did a decent job making noise
  • Game time temperature of 19 degrees was apparently too cold for the Ravens offense as they were O fer on 3rd down and collected just 61 yards of total offense in the first half
  • The Bengals first possession gauged the Ravens defense and cut through them like a hot knife through butter and 44 of those yards were on the ground
  • First quarter PI call on Carr was so ticky tacky – we seem to get at least one or two a game
  • You have to be impressed with the Bengal team and organization going on the road to finish the season with such effort and passion for a coach who is likely to be gone in the next few weeks. I am sure they are smiling big on their flight home back
  • I am still trying to reconcile how the worst rushing offense in the league ran up 147 yards *4.7 ypc) against the Ravens front seven
  • Drops today from Raven’s receivers include – Buck Allen, Mike Wallace(4), Alex Collins(2), Chris Moore (pick six), Ben Watson, Nick Boyle, and Patrick Picard – 11 drops is completely unacceptable
  • Ravens first four possessions come up empty, which produced one first down and was generally uninspired
  • All season long tight ends have been a challenge for the Ravens cover team and today was no exception – giving up over a 130 yards and 2 TDs to them
  • Dan Fouts who called the game for CBS did a poor job – bad analysis and seem to miss a lot of things
  • Joe Mixon had a big game for Cincy and appeared to be channeling Le’Veon Bell in his running style
  • Not sure if it was the wind or the cold ball, but Flacco was under throwing the long ball consistently today
  • When Collins struggles I don’t understand why they don’t mix in Allen for more carries
  • The Ravens losing this game will most certainly force Steve to make some changes in the off season. The talk shows are going to be flooded with angry fans calling for the head of Harbaugh, Pees and Morniheg. Pees is likely going to retire anyway but fans will want more changes
  • It is uncanny how many fumbles the Ravens have recovered this year and it doesn’t matter if we fumble or the opposition
  • Hats off the Bengals offensive line that manhandled the Ravens front four and gave Dalton plenty of time to find the open receiver
  • Carlos Dunlap owned the Ravens O line today and played in Flacco’s grill most of the game
  • Joe was not great today but boy he got no help from his receivers
  • Ravens have absolutely no pass rush from their front four – zilch, nada, zero
  • Brandon Carr almost had a pick six but it caromed off his hands, and Humphries has one in his hands as well – but unable to hold on
  • The Raven Special teams continue to be one of the big game changers for this team
  • Chris Moore came through big today with an awesome run back with seconds left in the half and then makes a nice catch on the next play for their first TD score. And then Chris Moore bungles a pass for a pick six – oh how the tables were turned for his day
  • Ben Watson had a number of key catches for the offense today and once he got involved in the game things started to turn around
  • Kudos to Ryan Jensen who seem to me to be the only person on offense who seemed interested in trying to catch the Bengal Denard on his pick off return
  • When you are third and anything and you don’t throw past the chains you are just plain and simply not playing smart football – if Coach Mornhinweg is responsible for these continued calls than he needs to go in the off season
  • Tony Jefferson stood out today and really laid the lumber on running plays
  • Campy had a nice game and when Moore went out due to concussion he was key part of helping the offense move the chains
    • One of my favorite plays of the game was Judon’s sack on Dalton on 3rd and 5 and he plants him
  • Mayle ‘s holding call on the punt is inexcusable and really put the Ravens deep in their territory
  • Vincent Rey must have had 3 or 4 injuries during the game all of which stopped play. I think they should have a 3 knock down rule like they have in boxing and call it a game for him
  • I completely disagree with Coach Pees rushing just four in the last series, they really needed pressure on Dalton who in the end skewered the Ravens secondary to end the game
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 27 Bengals 23 Ravens 27 Bengals 31
Turnovers Plus 2 Even
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 130 Bengals 91 Ravens 118 Bengals 147
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 204 Bengals 201 Ravens 197 Bengals 212

 

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Collins and Allen combine for 30 carries for 125 yards     Close, 25 for 115 yards
  • Ravens burn 2 time outs because they don’t have a play ready       Shockingly no
  • Dalton scrambles and runs 6 times for 42 yards      Nope, he never ran not even once
  • Refs make terrible calls      Correct, and they got flag happy at the end of the game

Keys to the Game

  • Pressure Dalton like you did in game 1     Nope, just one sack
  • Contain A J Green and Bernard      Correct, Green was a not a factor and Benard had 52 yards
  • Win turnover battle      Nope, it was even, but the Bengals got a pick six which helped them get the win

12/31/17 Bengals Pregame

All week long the Baltimore sports airwaves have been proclaiming, “Win and you’re in”. The Ravens have control of their destiny and one would think that both players and coaches alike will be hyper focused on getting this win. That said, should the Ravens lose they still have ways to get into the playoffs. No one at the Castle wants to leave themselves at the mercy of what other teams do or don’t do – but a Raven’s loss might not be the end of the world. With a Titans or Bills loss or tie the Ravens would win the tie breaker and get into playoffs. The Ravens genuinely seem focused on this game and it would be a surprise to see them given anything less than 110% effort. Despite the Bengals poor 2017 season, no one who knows football thinks that this is going to be a walk away win. The Bengals play well against the Ravens and they would like nothing more than to humble them. There are several reasons why I think we will get the Bengal’s best effort, some of which are:

  • This is Marvin’s last game coaching the Bengals, so the players will want to win for the Gipper
  • The Bengals genuinely hate the Ravens and would love to play the spoiler
  • The Bengals would like revenge for the embarrassing home loss in week one where they were shut out
  • A J Green was held to 5 receptions and 74 yards (no TDs) in game one – he wants to score this week in a bad way
  • Bengals would like to redeem what has been an unremarkable season by ending with a signature win
  • Bengals have won 6 of the last 8 head to head contests

For those of you keeping track you may recall in my write up for the Texans game where I provided my win/loss predictions for the rest of the season.  So far I have been spot on. I predicted wins against the Texans, Lions, Browns and Colts; and a loss against the Steelers and the Bengals – finishing 9 and 7. I always feel a little nervous when we play divisional teams because team tendencies seem to change when they play familiar foes. Statistically, the Bengals are a bad team.  Offensively they are ranked dead last in yards per game, 31st in rushing yards, and 28th in points per game. Defensively, they are ranked 31st in rushing yards given up, and 20th overall on yards per game.  There secondary is decent and ranks 7th in passing yardage. Bengals are minus 7 in takeaways versus the Raven’s leagued leading plus 17, and if this trend holds true this Sunday you have to like the Ravens in this one.

Sunday’s game is shaping up to be a Chilly Bowl with game time temperatures likely in the high teens. Games in the frigid cold weather suck the life out of the softer players so we will soon see who has the tougher team. Injuries tend to increase as well in colder games as the ground is like concrete.  Marty Mornhinweg has not consulted me on the game plan for the Bengals but looking at the stats above it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we should probably run the ball 30 or more times.  If our O line can do their job and open up some holes we should be able to play possession football and keep the Bengals defense on the field.  I would like to see at least 5 drives of 5 plus minutes from the Ravens. Hopefully Collins can protect the ball in the cold weather and not cough it up.  The Ravens defense needs to stop the run and get pressure on Dalton just like they did in week one.  You can’t give Dalton 3 or 4 seconds to throw, if you do Green will have a career day against the Ravens. Coach Pees will need to do a better job making adjustments in game to get pressure.

When I made my prediction for this game back in November we were still questioning the Ravens offense.  Now that the Ravens are putting together more consistent and respectable offensive numbers I will change my prediction for the Ravens to win this one 27 to 23. The Ravens have scored 23 points or more for the past 8 games but I think they will need more than 23 to win Sunday.  Vegas has the Ravens by 9 ½ points but I would be shocked if the Ravens covered that.  We squeaked by the Colts and Bengals are a much better team in my opinion. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Cincinnati Bengals hosted by the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, December 31st at 4:25 PM Odds Ravens by 9 ½

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 27 Bengals 23
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 130 Bengals 91
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 204 Bengals 201

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Collins and Allen combine for 30 carries for 125 yards
  • Ravens burn 2 time outs because they don’t have a play ready
  • Dalton scrambles and runs 6 times for 42 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines

  • Kansas City here we come!

Keys to the Game

  • Pressure Dalton like you did in game 1
  • Contain A J Green and Bernard
  • Win turnover battle

Ravens/Colts Post Game Recap

Congratulations to the Ravens who have guaranteed another winning season for the franchise. While this game left something to be desired on both sides of the ball, it was enough to get the job done on what was a windy and rain swept game. I would have loved for the Ravens to put this game away early but that was not to be the case as they took this game all the way down to the final minute and half. Other thoughts on the game are below.

  • Hats off to the Zebras who for the most part let them play today and also helped to keep the game moving along
  • Frank Gore ran the ball 17 times for 68 yards, but I swear sitting in the stands it seemed like he ran 25 times for 168 yards
  • The Ravens front four again did not getting any pressure on Brissett and he had plenty of time to throw. I will say this however, the front four did show up in the Colt’s final possession and they clearly amped up their effort
  • Special teams plays was really kind of strange tonight as they blocked a FG, game up a big kickoff return, and had a punt blocked which almost cost them a late fourth quarter tie. Tucker was perfect again, but Sam had an off day
  • The Ravens had several opportunities to intercept passes but came up empty.  The butter fingers list includes Canady, Weddle, Weddle 2, and Mosley
  • Play calling in the red zone was inconsistent for the Ravens and they had too many FGs which kept the game closer than it needed to be
  • I was impressed with the Colts who played all out tonight and never gave up the fight, and this for a team that has absolutely nothing to play for other than pride
  • Ravens offense had a lot of long clock burning drives which really kept the game moving
  • Collins had trouble between the tackles but had good yardage on the edges, but I didn’t see the play calling change to accommodate this success
  • Buck Allen was getting good yardage up the middle and I was surprised that they didn’t use him more given the success he was enjoying
  • Plain and simple if the Ravens play error free football they are likely to win games
  • Ravens had the ball almost 36 minutes in this game which is great for your defense
  • I thought both Mosley and Peanut had subpar games and seemed unable to get off their blocks to stop the run
  • Flacco missed a couple passes one of which could have been a TD, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt as the ball was slick and the wind was pretty strong
  • Would have liked to see the Ravens throw a long bomb or two but they never took a shot down field
  • Suggs had two offside penalties – shame on you Sizzle!
  • Campanaro almost gave up a fumble on a punt return that he had no business trying to field on a bounce – especially in that situation
  • Woodhead really has become a difference maker on 3rd down plays and he is getting better each week
  • One thing that needs to improve is our receivers don’t continue to run to the open spot when Flacco extends the play – they look like statues out there
  • Refs missed a blatant PF on TJ Green throwing Collins to the ground when he was clearly out of bounds
  • Why on 3rd one would you throw a pass to Boyle for a 3 yard loss – that is a horrible call that stopped a drive and left you with just 3 points
  • With four and half minutes left in the game and you get the ball, you really want your offense to get a few first downs and end the game something the Ravens were unable to do this evening
  • Wallace and Watson both had drops tonight – have to do better
  • When La’Darius Smith turns up the notch on his effort he is a force to be reckoned with, I hope that we see more of this in the coming games
  • Campy is the only Raven that I have seen that can successfully do the end around play and makes yardage
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 30 Colts 16 Ravens 23 Colts 16
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 131 Colts 104 Ravens 103 Colts 93
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 270 Colts 197 Ravens 220 Colts 203

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Ravens force 3 turnovers      Nope, but they should have
  • Perriman catches a 16 yard pass for his biggest gainer of 2017      Nope, 2 catches for 14 yards
  • Flacco cracks 300 yards for the first time year      Nope, just 220 net yards
  • Refs make terrible calls      Correct, they missed a face mask on Allen that was caught on the camera

Keys to the Game

  • Pressure Brissett and get his uniform dirty     Nope, they had two coverage sacks but little pressure
  • Don’t beat yourself – play penalty free and protect the rock Correct, no turnovers and just 5 penalties
  • Play possession football and score in the red zone      Correct, great possession time but need more TDs in red zone

12/23/17 Colts Pregame

After this weekend’s slate of games the Ravens are now in control of their destiny, and if they win the next two games against the Colts and the Bengals they are in the playoffs. They also have the benefit of playing both of these games at home which should be a big boost as it never hurts to have the 12th man helping you generate some energy and noise for the home team. The Colts come into Baltimore with a 3 and 11 record and are having a very disappointing season. Their franchise quarterback is on the IR and their head coach is almost certainly going to lose his job at the end of the season, so this team does not have much to play for at this point in the season. It will be interesting to see how hard the Colts play for Coach Pagano on Saturday – my guess is they will give a good effort. The team statistics for the Colts also tells a pretty dismal story. The Colts offense is ranked 31st in both yards per game and points scored. On the defensive side of the ball they are ranked 31st in points surrendered and 30th in giving up points. What is surprising is that in spite of these terrible statistical rankings for both offense and defense they have played fairly competitive throughout the season – only getting clobbered a couple times.

The Ravens know that they cannot look past the Colts because we have all seen too many times the favored team falls to an underdog. This is why you hear sports commentators declaring on a regular basis – “On any given Sunday”. If you need an example you need look no further than the Dolphins and Patriots game a week ago – I can assure you no one saw that coming. The encouraging news is that right now the Ravens are playing their best team football of the season with the offense averaging 36 points per game over the past 3 games. During this same stretch Joe Flacco has averaged 275 yards passing which is a far cry from the 161 yards he was averaging in the first half of the season. The Special teams are playing outstanding and continue to be a huge advantage in games – giving the Ravens an edge in field position as well as converting on FGs when presented. The defense is getting the job done by limiting teams in their running game and forcing turnovers. The Ravens who were dead last in the league stopping the run several weeks ago are now ranked 14th in the league showing steady improvement. The Ravens lead the league in interceptions and are tied for third in fumble recoveries. They also lead the league in the turnover differential at +17 which is one of the most important statistics in the game. Here’s one more to add to the good stat list – Ravens rank 4th in penalty yards which shows that they are playing clean football and not beating themselves.

According to the sports gurus, who run the numbers out the wazoo, the Ravens have a 91% chance of making the playoffs. That said, you will not hear anyone at the Castle talking about the playoffs this week. The only thing you will hear from players and coaches is talk about beating the Colts. Although a bit boring to beat writers and fans – this really is the right approach. You make good things happen by taking care of the next game in front of you. On paper this game should be a rout and I for one hope that is the case. The Ravens should get out of the gate fast and put their foot on the neck of the Colts so that this game is over half way through the 3rd quarter. The only way the Ravens lose this game is if they cough up the ball a few times. Vegas has the Ravens by 13 and I think there is a good chance that they will cover. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Indianapolis Colts hosted the Baltimore Ravens – December 23rd at 4:30 pm    Odds – Ravens by 13 1/2

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 30 Colts 16
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 131 Colts 104
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 270 Colts 197

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Ravens force 3 turnovers
  • Perriman catches a 16 yard pass for his biggest gainer of 2017
  • Flacco cracks 300 yards for the first time year
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Sunday morning headlines in the Sun Papers

  • Ravens Corral the Colts

Keys to the Game

  • Pressure Brissett and get his uniform dirty
  • Don’t beat yourself – play penalty free and protect the rock
  • Play possession football and score in the red zone

Ravens/Browns Post Game Recap

Ravens took care of business this afternoon dominating the Browns in their final road game. Ravens generated 4 turnovers today and except for a stutter step in the second quarter were in control throughout the game. The Browns suffered their 14th loss of the season but I must say in their defense that they have some good pieces in which to build upon. With this win the Ravens stay in the hunt for one of the wild card spots. Other thoughts on the game below:

  • The Ravens opening drive was nicely done with good balance of pass and run which burned over 6 minutes of clock, but ended in just 3 points
  • Ravens O line had some trouble picking up the free man in the Browns blitz packages but overall they did a nice job protecting Joe
    • Chris Moore had an untimely drop which would have been a key 3rd down conversion in the first quarter which you never like to see from one of you starters
  • Ravens defense did a nice job in the 1st quarter keeping the Browns to just minus 12 yards
  • PI call on Carr in the 1st quarter was yet another example of poor officiating and incredibly inconsistent across the league
  • Kizer is an impressive athlete but he has to work on his decision making as he continues to make throws when he should eat the ball or throw it away
  • Not to take anything away from the Brown’s defense, but the Ravens on the 2 yard line have to score on 2nd and goal with two straight running plays. To further aggravate the situation they fail on 4th and goal giving the Browns a huge shift in momentum. On the very next play the Browns offense gets a 59 yard run by Crowell
  • Harbaugh got skewered by the announcers for going for it on 4th down in that situation – and quite frankly he deserved it – you have to take points when you are in the lead on the road
  • Cleveland’s first touchdown drive was 95 yards and was all on running plays – wow!
  • Joe Flacco’s quarterback draw was a beautiful play call and perfectly executed – the O line made a whole wide enough for Brandon Williams
  • After watching 2 straight games where the Ravens are unable to get any kind of pressure with their front four I am thinking that they need to get a legitimate pass rusher in next year’s draft
  • Judon had an impressive game with several tackles for a loss and a sack, and the hit that he put on Kizer running down the sidelines was a wicked shot
  • With just 59 seconds left in the half the Browns move down the field and score 3 points as time runs out for the half. Ravens defense, in particular their secondary, gave up way too many chunk plays and the pass rush was awful. You expect more from a Ravens defense
  •  Flacco to Watson pass was beautiful and gave the Ravens a 10 point lead
  • Cleveland’s kickoff return game was one of the better we have seen this year and gave the Ravens some trouble
  • The Browns front 4 dominated the Ravens O line on rushing plays often playing on our side of the line of scrimmage, but that was not case in the 4th quarter when Ravens ran very effectively
  • Sam Koch had another really good day punting pinning the Browns deep in their territory several times and at least 3 times inside the 5 yard line. Chris Moore is key to the coverage team often being the first on site to down the ball
  • There was a Perriman sighting today – mostly because of the injuries on the defensive side of the ball that left an opportunity for him to suite up
  • Flacco letting himself get sacked when the Ravens were in field goal range is absolutely unacceptable. If I was the OC I think I would call a running play next time in that situation just to make my point with him
  • Brandon Williams made one of the most brilliant plays of the game when he recovered the fumble on Smith’s strip sack and quickly moved the ball from the half yard line to the end zone side to get the 6 points – a pretty heady move in my opinion in the heat of the moment
    • Not sure what the attendance was for today’s game but boy did the stands look empty in Cleveland
  • Ravens are susceptible to giving up first downs on 3rd long which will have to be cleaned up if they make it to the playoffs
  • The Browns defense is punishing and when they tackle you they leave a bruise
  • Danny Woodhead has really been a great addition to the offense and his ability to get separation as well as his reliable hands has been a great help to Flacco
  • I would like to see the Ravens defense get back to swarm tackling as I see way too many plays where defensive players are on an island to bring down a running back or receiver
  • Willie Henry has to be smarter and know that you can’t drive a QB to the ground after he has thrown the ball
  • T-Sizzle was held all throughout the game and not one flag was thrown in his direction
  • Ravens converted on 3rd and 16 which is a positive sign for this offense
  • Mosley had a really good game today – better in pass coverage, physical at the point of attack and had a few pass blocks as well
  • Buck Allen had a very strong 4th quarter generating first downs and helping the Ravens shorten the game by burning clock. The Collins and Allen tandem is working very well and it is hard to imagine, unless of an injury, that West or Dixon will ever see any meaningful playing time in the future
  • I hope that Alex Collins is ok as he had his worst game of the season gaining just 1.6 yards per carry
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 24 Browns 20 Ravens 27 Browns 10
Turnovers Plus 2 Plus 4
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 121 Browns 88 Ravens 97 Browns 130
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 242 Browns 239 Ravens 279 Browns 136

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Collins carries the rock 17 times for 76 yards      Nope, 12 carries for 16 yards
  • Ravens commit 7 penalties for 68 yards      Close, 7 for 57 yards
  • Kizer runs 7 times for 51 yards      Close, 7 carries for 35 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls      Correct, and the catch by Johnson should have been overturned

Possible Monday morning headlines

  • One down, Two to go!

Keys to the Game

  • Win the turnover battle! Win the turnover battle!      Correct, 4 plus on the day
  • Contain Crowell and Gordon      Correct, No TDs and Gordon was under 50 yards on the day
  • Score 24 points or more      Correct, Ravens scored 27

12/17/17 Browns Pregame

With the loss this past Sunday to the Steelers the Ravens are no longer guaranteed a wild card spot for the playoffs.  That said, if the Ravens can win their final three games they are statistically likely to make it to the post season.  The quest to run the table begins this Sunday on the road against the Cleveland Browns.  The hapless Browns are 0 for 13 in 2017 but have been playing more competive of late.  The Ravens would be mistaken to look past the Browns as they are hungry to get their first win of the season and end this losing streak.  And given that this is the Brown’s last home game of the season this is going to be their best chance to get a victory – so expect this team to be all in on Sunday.  So far the Browns have not mailed in and have been playing hard for Coach Jackson which is saying something.  The Browns historical play the Ravens tough and since they see each other twice a year there is no fear facing off as they know one another well.  The Browns recently added a new weapon to their offensive arsenal when Josh Gordon was reactivated from his substance abuse suspension.  Make no mistake about it, Josh Gordon is an elite receiver and is likely to give the Ravens a handful come Sunday.  Carr and Humphrey will have their hands full covering Johnson and Gordon.

The Browns have struggled to score points this season and average just 15.2 points per game.  If they just did a better job protecting the ball the Browns would likely have 3 to 5 wins this season.  If you look at the tale of the tape the Browns aren’t as bad as their record would suggest.  They average more yards per game than the Ravens and boast a better run defense than the Ravens.  The Browns have a tough defense and they are keeping the Browns in games this year.  On the offensive side of the ball Kizer has struggled this year with interceptions, but as he gets more experience he is more than likely going to improve.  At 6’ 4” and 235 pounds DeShone Kizer is a load and he is not shy about running the ball – so I would expect him to run a handful of times to keep the Ravens honest.  Ravens will have to pressure Kizer and get some hats on him, if they can do that they will force some mistakes.

Sunday’s game is a must win for the Ravens and their playoff chances begin with taking care of business against the Browns.  If the Ravens muff this game and fall short, I actually think it would put several jobs in jeopardy beginning with Harbaugh.  Everyone in the world expects the Ravens to win so they had better come through with a spirited effort.  The weather on Sunday is expected to be dicey and there is talk of snow which often is the great equalizer that can make games low scoring and more unpredictable.  The thing that scares me the most about this game is the Browns have nothing to lose.  They can play without fear and take risks all game long and if some of those gambles pay off they could pull off an upset.  The Ravens understand what is in front of them and if the coaches do their job in game planning the Ravens should come away with a victory.  The odds makers have the Ravens by 7 points but I don’t think they will cover.  I expect this game to be close throughout and likely a nail biter for Raven fans.  The Ravens special teams is stronger than the Browns and may very well be the difference in this game.  The Ravens would do well to come out quick and get the first score and play with the lead.  The Ravens offense has been much improved over the past two games and should build on that momentum this week.  Ravens win 24 to 20.  Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Cleveland Browns hosting the Baltimore Ravens   Sunday, December 17th at 1:00 PM   Odds Ravens by 7

 

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 24 Browns 20
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 121 Browns 88
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 242 Browns 239


Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Collins carries the rock 17 times for 76 yards
  • Ravens commit 7 penalties for 68 yards
  • Kizer runs 7 times for 51 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines

  • One down, Two to go!

Keys to the Game

  • Win the turnover battle! Win the turnover battle!
  • Contain Crowell and Gordon
  • Score 24 points or more

 

12/10 17 Steelers Pregame

Ravens head into the steel curtain to take on the division leader Pittsburgh Steelers. Steeler’s week is always a big week in Charm City and this week should be no exception. The Steelers are coming off a very physical game with the Bengals where they lost their star linebacker Ryan Shazier to a spine injury. To add insult to injury, the Steelers will also lose JuJu Smith-Schuster Sunday to a one game suspension from a hit he leveled on Vontaze Burfict that pasted him to the ground and forced him out of the game. If you watched that game you would have also seen the vicious hit that Burfict laid on Antonio Brown’s head that left Brown sprawling to the ground apparently unconscious as he made no attempt to break his fall to the ground. How Brown got through the concussion protocol to return in that game is nothing short of astonishing – and if you don’t believe me just take look at the hit yourself. On a short week the Steelers will be challenged to heal and recharge before facing the Ravens Sunday night. Rest assured though Coach Tomlin will have them fired up to play for their defensive leader Shazier – and will ask them to play all out for him – and they will. Shazier has already sent a message to his team from his hospitable bed – Beat the Ravens! Both teams play well under the bright lights of the national spot light so this contest should be as good as advertised.

In the first meeting on October 1st in Baltimore – the Steelers manhandled the Ravens beating them 26 to 9, and the Steelers gashed the Ravens defense for 179 rushing yards. Le’Veon Bell had a banner day racking up 144 yards on 35 carries. Things should be different this go round however as the Ravens have Williams back on the field along with the emerging Willie Henry who has worked himself into the front four rotation. Bell will undoubtedly get his yards but I would be surprised to see him get much more than 105. I am more concerned with Bell racking up big yards on screens and shovel passes. Oddly enough the Ravens held Antonio Brown to just 4 receptions for 34 yards, but that was when Jimmy Smith was on the field and I would expect Brown to more than double that production this Sunday. Ben is going to target Humphrey much of the night so Pees will have to give him some help over the top. The Steelers would like nothing more than to sweep the season series with the Ravens which would keep them in the hunt for home field advantage as they look ahead to the playoffs and a likely show down with the Patriots. The Ravens too want this game to keep their winning streak alive and to maintain their wild card spot but if they lose this one to the Steelers they should still be able to get to the playoffs.

Two weeks ago when I made my predictions for the remaining games I said the Steelers would hold court at home and beat the Ravens on Sunday night. I will stay with prediction because I think the Steelers have too many offensive weapons for the Ravens to contain and to deal with. That said, I think Sunday’s game will be close and it would not shock me if the Ravens beat them. Coach Pees and Coach Mornhinweg will need superior game plans to beat the Steelers and I am looking forward to seeing how they manage this game. Here’s why I like the Steelers in this game – 1) They are tough to beat at home   2) Steelers are 2nd in the league in sacks and they will get to Joe and rattle his cage   3) The tandem of Brown and Bell are the best receiver/rusher combo in the league and we can’t match them in those skill positions   4) Steelers generate almost 100 yards more per game on offense. The Ravens strength this year has been generating turnovers and they lead the league at plus 14 – and therein lies the kryptonite for the Steelers. If the Ravens can find a way to go plus 2 or plus 3 on Sunday’s game then they have a very good chance of steeling one in Pittsburgh. The Steelers know this and will work hard to protect the ball. When the week started the betting line on the Ravens/Steelers game was Steelers by 7 ½ points, today that number sits at 5 which shows you things are getting tighter as the game gets closer. I expect the Ravens to cover as this is likely to be decided by 3 or less. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday, December 10th @ 8:30 PM Odds – Steelers by 5

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 20 Steelers 23
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 94 Steelers 110
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 192 Steelers 242

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Flacco is sacked 3 times
  • Le’Veon Bell carries for 31 times for 105 yards (3.4 per carry)
  • Ravens have at least one trick play on special teams
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines

  • Steeler’s Win in final seconds on Boswell’s field goal

Keys to the Game

  • Offensive balance with a 3rd down conversion rate > than 38%
  • Contain Bell, Bryant and Brown
  • Protect the rock and force some turnovers

Ravens/Lions Post Game Recap

The Ravens showed you a glimpse of what they can be on the offensive side of the ball. Flacco was sharp, decisive and on target all day long. It was refreshing to see him look confident and in control throughout the game. Flacco’s numbers would have even been better had there not been so many drops from the receivers. This kind of play from the offense is coming just in the nick of time as the Ravens will face some very good offensive teams in the coming weeks. Other thoughts on the game are below:

  • Alex Collins had a huge day with 2 touch downs and some very physical runs. His speed around the corner is proving to be one of his greatest strengths and it was how he got into the end zone both times today
  • The Ravens reverse sweep play never seems to work in large part because it develops so slow and typically ends in a several yard loss
  • Very costly error on Stafford when he fumbled on 3rd down putting them just out of field goal range and a potential loss of 3 points
  • Wallace gets a drop, Moore gets two drops, Watson gets a drop, Maclin gets two drops – this is frustrating and if these balls had been caught we would have likely won by more than we did
  • Beautiful home run ball from Flacco to Wallace for one of the biggest plays of the season for the Ravens – so nice to see the Ravens push the ball downfield some of late
  • Raven linebackers are not doing well in coverage and we are giving way too many yards in the middle of the field
  • The first hit on Stafford didn’t happen until 5 minutes into the 2nd quarter but it was a big one by Weddle and created a turnover
  • Howard’s block in the back penalty on a 10 yard gain was costly and are the kinds of plays that are handicapping this Ravens offense this year
  • The Refs and the NY play review team got it right when they gave Wallace the catch at the 13 yard line
  • It seems to me that Pees is slow to dial up rush pressure until well into a game – I hope that he takes more risk in future games as our secondary really needs the help
  • Seeing Jimmy Smith fall to the ground was gut wrenching and you just had the feeling in the moment that it was season ending which was later confirmed to be a torn Achilles. Ravens are really going to miss him these next 4 weeks
  • Campanaro has to do a better job with ball security on punts, his fumble could have turn the momentum but was fortunately recovered by the Ravens
  • The Lions came out strong in the second half and scored twice on their first three possessions and did so without burning a lot of clock
  • Benjamin Watson has really turned out to be a great add to the Ravens and has proven to have one of the more reliable set of hands on this team
  • Huge stop by the Ravens defense on the Lions second possession in the second when the Lions failed to get a yard on third and one – well done Brandon Williams
  • Flacco was sharp today and he was hitting his targets in stride, unfortunately his receivers had the dropsies today
  • Henry’s PF penalty was a costly one and kept the Lions drive alive ultimately ending in a touch down
  • I love Webby but he no longer has the speed and skill to play in the secondary and compete like he once did
  • Prater, one of the best kickers in the game, misses a field goal and an extra point
  • Ravens O line didn’t open up many holes on the ground game and most of the yard that our RBs got was because of their jump cuts, but they did give Flacco enough time to get the ball out
  • The Ravens scoring after giving up two straight scores was gigantic and exactly the kind of response you want to see from your offense, another 3 and out would have been deadly
  • I have been noticing that the Ravens are giving up a lot of running yardage on the edges and today two touchdowns were scored against them going around the edge
  • Marlon Humphrey was introduced to the NFL in a big way today and was targeted several times giving up several big plays, but in the 4th he did come up big with an interception and gutsy return
  • Loved seeing Suggs on the sidelines talking to the defense after they gave up 3 scores, and what does Suggs do when he gets back on the field but get a sack to set the tone and lead by example
  • Wallace had a big day with 5 receptions and 116 yards which is what you need and expect from your number one
  • Best of the best TD celebrations goes to Alex Collins who mimed a tug of war with the O line and pulls them to the ground – funniest one I have seen this year
  • Tucker is a game changer special teams player and his 51 yard FG with 7 minutes left was big and made it a two score game
  • Weddle was big today with a forced fumble and pick six – so glad to see this bounce back after a few subpar games
  • Ravens defense gave up a lot of yards today, but they also took the ball away 3 times and scored on one of them. This will give you winning football almost all the time
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 27 Lions 24 Ravens 44 Lions 20
Turnovers Plus 2 Plus 3
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 138 Lions 81 Ravens 101 Lions 78
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 188 Lions 269 Ravens 269 Lions 294

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Suggs continues his great play with another sack      Correct!
  • Buck Allen leads the Ravens with 13 carries        Nope, just 7 carries
  • Ravens commit 7 penalties for 85 yards       Incorrect, Ravens played clean with just 2 penalties for 25 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls       Correct, missed a blatant holding call on the Lions first score

Possible Friday Monday morning headlines

  • Ravens win their 3rd straight for first time this season

Keys to the Game

  • Play ball control offense and convert on 3rd down      Correct, moved the ball well throughout the day but could have been better on 3rd down conversions
  • Pressure Stafford and force some mistakes      Correct, a fumble and one interception were key
  • Play fast and get the lead early     Correct, Ravens jump out to a 20 to nothing lead in the first half

12/1/17 Lions Pregame

The 6-5 Lions come in to town hoping to keep their playoff chances alive by getting a key road victory. The Lions have been very good on the road this year and have already notched 4 road wins thus far. The Ravens having played Monday Night have a short week to prepare and to heal up from their very physical game with the Texans. The Lions on the other hand had an extended rest as they last played on Thanksgiving and have had extra time to game plan for the Ravens. This is a clear advantage to the Lions and you hope that the short week doesn’t show up with the Ravens giving a lackluster effort on the field.

The Ravens defense will face one of the better quarterbacks in the league, something that they have not had to do for most of the season. The Lions have a weak running game and depend heavily on their passing game which is ranked 7th in the league. The Ravens secondary will be tested and hopefully will be up for the challenge because you can go to the bank on Stafford throwing at 40+ times. Ravens need to keep the ball in front of them and avoiding big plays will be paramount for them in order to win this game. The Ravens should be able to limit their ground game which is ranked just 26th. Dean Pees will have to game plan for getting pressure on Stafford, and if he fails to do that it will be a long afternoon for the Ravens.

The Ravens should be able to run against the Lions front seven but if they don’t prove to the Lions that they can pass downfield – I suspect that the Lions defense will stuff the box and take the ground game away. Joe Flacco and the Ravens wide receivers just have to play better starting Sunday. There is nothing to give me hope that this will occur, but I have to say it none the less. Flacco’s skills have declined and he has been reduced to a game manager QB much like Dilfer in his day, with the exception that Dilfer had much better numbers than Flacco. Maclin, Wallace and Perriman all need to step up their game. They need run their routes with conviction, catch the ball when targeted and play with some intensity. This is something that has been lacking from this crew all season. The offense needs more than just trick plays, wild cat formations, and fake punts.

Sunday is shaping up to be an interesting game as the Ravens tough defense is facing one of the better offenses – so something has to give. The Ravens are in control of their destiny with 5 games remaining and all they need to do is win and they stay in the Wild Card spot. The odds makers have the Ravens by 3 and that sounds about right. The coaching staff will have their hands full this Sunday and will need to game plan well to get the victory. This game is likely to be won by the team that holds the ball last and I believe the Ravens will win this one in a squeaker. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Detroit Lions hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday, December 1st @ 1:00 PM Odds – Ravens by 3

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 27 Lions 24
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 138 Lions 81
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 188 Lions 269

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Suggs continues his great play with another sack
  • Buck Allen leads the Ravens with 13 carries
  • Ravens commit 7 penalties for 85 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Friday Monday morning headlines

  • Ravens win their 3rd straight for first time this season

Keys to the Game

  • Play ball control offense and convert on 3rd down
  • Pressure Stafford and force some mistakes
  • Play fast and get the lead early

Ravens/Texans Post Game Recap

Ravens take care of business by holding home court but they don’t look great in doing so. If not for the great special teams play and the strong defensive effort which forced 3 turnovers – this game could have easily gone the other way. Flacco passed for a paltry 141 yards, and he had all his receivers playing against one of the lesser (Ranked 26th) secondaries in the league. The offense is dreadful and shows absolutely no signs of improving. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with the win but this kind of game does not give me big hope for the future of this season. Other thoughts on the game are:

  • Ravens first possession is 3 and out, Texans first possession is a 90 yard touchdown drive
  • Clowney is a premier talent and he gave the Ravens a fit with his speed and power – this guy will be a gamer for years to come
  • Matt Judon is apparently deaf because he threw the player down 5 seconds after the whistle and it cost the team dearly with a 15 yard PF penalty and a continued Texan drive
  • For some reason the Ravens often give up a lot of yards on their first series and tonight was no exception letting the Texans move with ease down the field
  • The 1st quarter PI call on Brandon Carr was not a good call and the flag should not have been thrown – a key penalty that helped keep that first Texan drive alive
  • Penalties (7 for 89 yards) hurt the Ravens in this game and cost them dearly on some of the drives – and the defense was the big culprit for most of them
  • Special Teams continue to be a key strength for the Ravens and keep them in games, often helping them with field position throughout the contest
  • Why why why why do the Ravens throw swing passes, and dunks that lose yardage – it is absolutely insane to see this week after week. I will bet you money that the Ravens lead the league in negative yardage pass plays
  • The M&T Boo birds heckled the Ravens offense just 9 ½ minutes into the game which tells you how frustrated the fans are becoming with this offense
  • The O line had trouble getting any push against this Texans front 7, but they did a decent job in pass protection
  • James Hurst got shoved around on the O line like he was child in a man’s game. Ravens desperately need to upgrade this group in the offseason
  • Sam Koch made the best throw of the night on his pass to Chris Moore on the punt fake – seriously it was!
  • Alex Collins had no running lanes but still managed to grind out some yards and make the most of the few holes that he found
  • Flacco was not sharp and missed targets throughout the night, but he did he use his legs and generated 42 yards on the ground
  • On 4th and 1 the pitch out to Collins was a brilliant call that delivered a huge play that led to another TD
  • Ravens defense struggled to get pressure on Savage but they did a nice job blocking passes at the line of scrimmage
  • CJ Mosely uncharacteristically fails to bring the RB down on a 3rd and long situation giving up the first down and keeping their drive alive and an eventual score
  • The PF call on Canady was a joke – even the announcers both agreed
  • La’Darius Smith had a clean and unblocked shot at Savage but at the last minute thought to drop back in coverage and then slipped to the ground – C’Mon man
  • The Ravens secondary was out of synch in this game and had several missed coverages – not sure why there was so much confusion but the Texans receivers were wide open throughout the game
  • Perriman suited up and played and was non-factor in the game – 3 Targets/ 0 completions
  • Flacco did not look sharp tonight and the receivers didn’t seem to be on the same page on routes and comebacks
  • The Buck Allen run up the middle with the giant scrum to the end zone was a great play to watch and was capped off with Jensen diving on the pile
  • The gunner for the Texans punt team was apparently unblockable not to mention the fastest man on the planet
  • Wallace missed a long pass that went right through his hands – which just continues to prove the point to me that the Ravens have no real play makers on the offensive side of the ball
  • In the Jimmy Smith versus De’Andre Hopkins match up – you would have to say Hopkins came out on top by a land slide as he had 7 receptions for 125 yards
  • Ravens D line was tough again on the run and kept the Texans to 66 yards
  • The only decent receiver on the field for the Texans was Hopkins and for some reason the Weddle and Jefferson gave absolutely no help over the top for Smith and Carr
  • Maclin was on the field all night but was missing in action and seemed to check out mentally at times not completing his routes
  • After Texans score in the 4th, the Ravens receive the ball and have three straight plays with negative or no yards, and two of them were passes
  • Suggs is without question one of the best Ravens ever to suite up and after 15 years in the league is still very much an impact player – just amazing at his age
  • Flacco’s naked boot sweep was a brilliant call and perfectly executed
  • I think Flacco’s knee brace will be the end of him one day
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 23 Texans 16 Ravens 23 Texans 16
Turnovers Plus 2 Plus 3
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 92 Texans 109 Ravens 139 Texans 66
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 199 Texans 171 Ravens 155 Texans 237

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Woodhead gets his first TD of the season         Nope, not even close
  • Judon gets a sack         Nope, but he came close a few times
  • Campanaro gets off a good return         Nope – he was inactive
  • Refs make terrible calls         Correct – This flag happy crew made at least 5 bad calls

Possible Tuesday morning headlines

  • Ravens offense stumbles but gets enough to win the day

Keys to the Game

  • Stop the running game and force them to throw              Correct, kept them to 66 yards
  • Open up the offense and work to get more chunk plays           Nope, except for the Sam Koch pass
  • Win the turnover battle and you win!               Correct, plus 3 and it deliver the win
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