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Category: The 2017-2018 Season

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.

Ravens/Jags Post Game Recap

The Baltimore Ravens got it handed to them today and the game was essentially over by the 1st half which made it all the more demoralizing for them. The Jaguars came to play and their game planning to take on the Ravens was brilliant. They made the Ravens defense look inept and confused. The Jags defense was smothering and suffocating keeping the Ravens to a total of 186 yards on the day. I don’t want to take anything away from the Jags effort today, but this was not a well prepared Ravens team, and they were out coached and out played in every facet of the game – including special teams. Pees was slow to introduce any blitz pressure and Mornhinweg had no imagination on his play calling. Execution on both sides of the ball was pathetic. Somehow the Ravens will have to put this historically bad game in the rear view mirror and hope that this was an anomaly. Other thoughts (almost all of them negative) on the game are below:

  • The first offensive series was an unimpressive start as Flacco gets sacked and Sam gets off a 25 yard punt. Sadly this was a foreshadowing of what was to come for the day
  • This Ravens defense is susceptible to the screen pass and their over pursuit on play action got them in trouble all day long as guys got out of their lanes and assignments
  • The Ravens offensive line is horrible without Yanda and Lewis, and sadly there is no fix coming this year which means we will have to endure this bad O line play all year long
  • To me what was most frustrating today – was seeing Bortles have all day to throw and even when he couldn’t find a receiver – the pass rushers could not keep him contained in the pocket and Bortles burned us on several scampers
  • Ravens receivers had the dropsies today and were of no help to a struggling offense
  • Mr. Mornhinweg please stop using West on passes out on the flat, he is more concerned about getting hit then catching the ball
  • 1st quarter stats for the Jags offense – 10 pts, 169 yards, TOP 10:25, 8 first downs
  • 1st quarter stats for the Ravens offense – 0 pts, -1 yard, TOP 4:35 and no first downs, 2 sacks
  • 1st half stats for Ravens offense – 0 pts, 15 yards, TOP 8:10, minus 4 yards passing, and 1 first down
  • Mosely had a rough day getting burned in the middle of field and missing some tackles, and he will not enjoy watching the tape this week
  • Mike Wallace running down the sidelines with his hands out stretched for 5 seconds looks like a guy who wants to draw a penalty versus making a catch – he can do better
  • Ravens got their first 1st down with 4:13 remaining in the second quarter
  • When Maclin bobbled the ball into the defender’s hands you had that feeling that absolutely nothing was going to go your way
  • Ravens commit 9 penalties for 88 yards – not the look of a disciplined team
  • Flacco’s stats on the day are so humiliating I can’t bring myself to putting them in writing – I would argue the worst of his career
  • After watching this game, I am wondering how much will this beat down work on the psyche of the Ravens team, and will this horrendous loss put them into a tail spin over the next several weeks as they play good teams
  • I have absolutely no idea where Weddle and Webb were today, but it wasn’t in the secondary providing any support
  • Play of the Day – Terrance West fumbles and the ball is scooped up by a Jags linebacker and Flacco goes step for step with a speedy linebacker and while fighting off a block brings him down inside the 5 yard line – well played Mr. Flacco
  • John Harbaugh’s stock took a hit today and his team lost their composer and humiliated themselves with foolish personal fouls
  • Ravens defense was really week in the red zone – and put up no resistance
  • Ravens get their first score with 3:24 remaining in the game but do avoid the goose egg. Nice play by Ben Watson who got his first TD with Ravens and had a nice second effort to get into the end zone

Odds – Ravens by 3 ½ I hope that no one took this bet

Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 23 Jaguars 17 Ravens 7 Jaguars 44
Turnovers Plus 2 Minus 3
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 122 Jaguars 97 Ravens 134 Jaguars 167
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 207 Jaguars 179 Ravens 52 Jaguars 244

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Ravens force 3 turnovers        Did I say Ravens – I meant to say Jags
  • Ravens get their first defensive score          Incorrect
  • Flacco gets sacked 4 times           Incorrect, just 2 but he didn’t play the 4th quarter
  • Refs make terrible calls            Some of the PF calls were unnecessary

Keys to the Game

  • Pressure Bortles and get some pads on him     Nope, not even pressured a little
  • Play penalty free – don’t beat yourself       Nope, 8 penalties for 88 yards
  • Win the turnover battle     Nope, Minus 3

9/24/2017 Jaguars Pregame

The Ravens head to London this week for their first ever London game. The NFL began playing regular season games in London in 2007 and this year the NFL will host 4 games in London for the first time. The Jaguars are old hat with this London thing and will be playing for their 5th consecutive year in the Big Smoke. The Jaguars, who suffer with poor home attendance, have been the home team every year that they have played in London. Not sure that being the home team in London is that meaningful really, but one would think that having played this many consecutive years would have garnered some following from the Londoners. It will certainly feel strange to be watching a Ravens game at 9:30 in the morning.  I am really looking forward to seeing the stadium crowd on Sunday to see how many Ravens fans are there.

Last Sunday delivered a gut wrenching injury to Marshall Yanda who is arguable one their very best players. It is hard to predict right now how much that will hurt the performance of the offensive line, but you can be certain they will not be as good as they were. Yanda’s presence on that O line brought more than just his excellent play – he was a leader and an anchor to that group. The Ravens have accumulated a league worst 15 players on injured reserve and that is after just 2 regular season games. If you thought last year was bad, the Ravens only had 18 players on IR through a full season. You have no time to lament injuries in the NFL, no one cares and no one wants to hear the excuses. In response to the injuries last Sunday the Ravens made several changes to their roster and to their practice squad.

Sunday’s game is a bit quirky to figure out. Traveling 3600 miles, 5 hour time difference, playing in a soccer stadium, and all new surroundings are likely to get you a bit off your game. Let’s hope that the Ravens don’t play like they are suffering from jet lag. To be fair the Jags have the same issues too, but this is their 5th time and they have a better feel for how these changes affect you. The Jags are tough to figure out this year as they flat out dominated the Texans in week one, and then took a beating when they faced the Titans in week two. That is exactly why you can’t really size up a team until you get about four weeks into the season. The Jags have a decent defense and they play very physical, and through week 2 lead the league in sacks with 11. The Ravens are going to have trouble on the offensive side of the ball and I don’t think this will be a high scoring affair. Fortunately for us, the Jags have not looked good on offense either. Both teams will to want to run the ball effectively and I would expect both teams to have around 30 carries each by end of game. The Ravens should have the edge in running the ball. Expect the Ravens to use the three headed monster of West, Allen and Collins for about ten carries each. If Collins doesn’t protect the ball this week you can bet he will ride the pine for a while. You will likely see Campanaro (if he plays) line up in the backfield a few times and run at least one end around play. Bortles is off to a slow start this year and hopefully the turnover rich Ravens can continue to find interceptions. Mornhinweg will dial up a lot of play action and roll outs to protect Flacco from a patch work O line and a very good Jags pass rush. Sunday’s contest should look somewhat similar to the Brown’s game but with the Jags getting less yards and producing less turnovers. Vegas has the Ravens by 3 ½ points and I expect them to cover. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Baltimore Ravens – September 24th at 9:30 am
Odds – Ravens by 3 ½

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 23 Jaguars 17
Turnovers Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 122 Jaguars 97
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 207 Jaguars 179

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Ravens force 3 turnovers
  • Ravens get their first defensive score
  • Flacco gets sacked 4 times
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers

  • Ravens D bortles up the Jags
  • Allen, West and Collins – a firm you can count on!

Keys to the Game

  • Pressure Bortles and get some pads on him
  • Play penalty free – don’t beat yourself
  • Win the turnover battle

Sorry Jags fans, the queen is a Ravens fan!

Ravens/Browns Post Game Recap

The Ravens held court today winning convincingly over the much improved Cleveland Browns. The five turnovers by the Ravens defense makes it two weeks in a row and a trend that you have to hope continues. Flacco, with a full week of practice, was very good today and much improved from last week, and I think he did that with pass protection being less than stellar. For those of you that seriously thought that this year’s defense was comparable to the 2000 defense I hope that today’s game put those thoughts to rest. The Ravens defense is good and so far through these first 2 games is generating a lot of turnovers, but they are not as suffocating defense that we saw in 2000 as evidenced by the Browns racking up 386 yards on the backs of two rookie quarterbacks. Other thoughts on the game:

  • Suggs gets a sack and another forced fumble with pressure from the blind side – well done Sizzle!
  • Injury bug continues to haunt the Ravens with several guys getting hurt today – a few of which include Yanda who has a leg fracture and out for the season, Brandon Williams injured foot, and Bam Bradley who tore his ACL and is done for the year– this is most disappointing
  • Perriman drops a pass right in his hands on the first possession and quite frankly this is why he doesn’t get more targets from Flacco as there is no confidence he will make the play
  • James Hurst is a liability in pass protection – he is slow and gets pushed into the backfield
  • Cleveland’s defense was solid and they were very physical and fast to the ball and I see good things coming from this unit
  • CJ had another big day with 10 tackles and is beginning to put together another pro bowl season
  • Webb got burned on the middle of field a few times but all is forgiven as he gets an end zone pick with the Browns on the 7 yard line
  • Weddle’s interception was huge as the Browns were moving down the field with ease and in scoring range
  • Mike Wallace gets lazy sometimes in games and doesn’t finish plays and today it created a interception
  • Ravens gave up several big plays in the secondary and will need to clean that up before we play the better teams
  • Ben Watson had his coming out party today with 8 receptions and 91 yards – hope we see more of that
  • Ravens did not get enough pressure with four rushing as the Browns protection was up to the challenge and gave Kizer and Hogan a lot of time which made me wonder why Pees didn’t dial up more blitzes in known passing downs especially in the first 3 quarters
  • I am going to call out all special team penalties on kick and punt returns because they so avoidable – so today Patrick Onwuaser gets the goat award for holding on one of the punts
  • Going for the 58 yard field goal late in the 1st quarter was in hinds site a bad coaching call as it gave the Browns great field position and could have cost the Ravens
  • I really thought that Ravens should have taken the 3 points at the end of the half instead of going for the 6 points as it still would have given a 2 score lead, but in this case it worked out and made the coaching staff look brilliant
  • How big was that 37 yard run by Buck Allen near the end of the second half which set up that score before the half
  • If the Browns clean up their penalties and the turnovers they are going to be a team to be reckoned with as the season goes forward – I don’t relish seeing them in Cleveland in week 15
  • Today I would have traded our wide receivers straight up with Cleveland’s no name receivers who ran great routes and made great catches. The Ravens wide receivers had 5 receptions for 38 yards and in my opinion have no wide receiver on this roster who has what I would describe as having great hands
  • Ravens ground game was solid again with 32 carries for 136 yards and a rushing touch down
  • Jimmy Smith did not have his best day giving up several receptions and committing 2 penalties
  • Watson, Williams and Boyle are all decent tight ends and have and will be a big part of this offense this year. Today they accounted for 13 receptions and 121 yards
  • Alex Collins, who came out of nowhere, was one of my favorite players today until he coughed up the ball
  • In the “what it is worth department” I think Hogan was playing better than Kizer and was surprised that Coach Jackson put him back in the game in the second half, but so glad that he did
  • Hats off to the Coach Mornhinweg for calling a lot of roll outs for Flacco which kept him from getting his clock cleaned
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 24 Browns 16 Ravens 24 Browns 10
Turnovers Plus 1 Plus 3
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 92 Browns 77 Ravens 136 Browns 93
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 207 Browns 169 Ravens 201 Browns 293

 

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Wallace leads all receivers with 6 receptions and 71 yards – Did I say Wallace I meant to say Watson
  • Ravens commit 9 penalties for 75 yards – Incorrect, 7 penalties for 45 yards
  • Judon, Urban and Pierce each get a sack – Incorrect all three of them were goose eggs
  • Refs make terrible calls – Missed on several obvious penalties and called some questionable penalties that weren’t

Keys to the Game

  • Win the turnover battle – Correct, today they were plus 3
  • Stop the Run – Neutral – Browns had 21 attempts for 93 yards which is respectable
  • Protect Flacco and keep him upright – Neutral, O line gave up 2 sacks for 16 yards, but Flacco didn’t get hit too bad

9/17/2017 Browns Pregame

Cleveland Browns versus the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, September 17th
Odds – Ravens by 7 ½

Ravens kick off week 2 in their home opener against the 0-1 Browns. The Ravens will need to fight the urge to think too much of themselves after a dominating performance in Cincinnati. Sometimes early success can be misleading and no one wants to see this Browns contest to turn into a trap game for the Ravens. Here’s why you can’t look past the Browns – they played respectably against the Steelers last week and they held Le’Veon Bell to just 32 yards on 10 carries which is clearly saying something. If you take away the monster game that Antonio Brown had (182 yds. on 11 receptions) you would have to say that the Browns kept the Steeler’s high flying offense in check. Steelers only won by 3. This is a stronger Browns team than we have seen in recent years, especially on defense. The Browns new rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer had an impressive debut going 20 of 30 and passing for 222 yards against a pretty stout Steeler’s defense. He can also run which adds another twist to his game. DeShone did get sacked 7 times which might indicate that he holds the ball too long. He will have his hands full against the Ravens defense and a very loud M&T Stadium

Ravens have been dominating over the Browns under the Harbaugh and Flacco era going 16 and 2 over the past 9 years. While the Ravens offense looked unspectacular this past week, they will have the benefit of Flacco getting a full week of practice with his receivers. I don’t expect Flacco to set the world on fire Sunday, but I do expect him to improve from last week and to take more shots down field. Fortunately, the Ravens don’t have to worry about Joe Hayden in the secondary as the Browns released him this past summer. I think the Ravens may have some tough sledding with their run game this week, but they will have to find a way to stay the course and try to work in 25 plus runs throughout the game. I would not be surprised at all to see Campanaro get a few touches as well as get some passes out of the backfield. They will want to find a way to replace the roll that Woodhead was giving to their offense. Joe always plays better when he has a good safety net receiver.

Ravens will come out Sunday with the same game plan that they used in Cincy – swarming defense, pound the rock, and play flawless special teams. A few turnovers should come their way and the offense will make the most of them. Passing game will take a step forward and Flacco should get over 200 yards this week. Ravens love home cooking and they play some of their best in front of the home crowd. I expect DeShone to be rattled by the noise and intimidating defense which should lead to some mistakes. The fans will be loud and will create havoc for the Cleveland offense and their rookie quarterback. Looking forward to seeing the match up of Suggs against Joe Thomas who has gotten the better of Suggs in recent years. The odds makers have the Ravens by 7 ½ and I believe they will cover that. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Game Predictions
Score Ravens 24 Browns 16
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 92 Browns 77
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 207 Browns 169

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Wallace leads all receivers with 6 receptions and 71 yards
  • Ravens commit 9 penalties for 75 yards
  • Judon, Urban and Pierce each get a sack
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers

  • Flacco out DeShones the Browns
  • West and Allen grind out another one

Keys to the Game

  • Win the turnover battle
  • Stop the Run
  • Protect Flacco and keep him upright

Ravens/Bengals Post Game Recap

Well Ravens fans, I didn’t see that coming! The Ravens absolutely manhandled the Bengals today and it just goes to show you what you can do when you get 5 turnovers. Had the Ravens not made those timely picks and forced fumble the Bengals would have most certainly put up some points. Happy to be wrong on this one and to end the streak of losing at Paul Brown stadium. Today was huge win for the Ravens and whenever you can get a road win in the NFL you have to be pleased, and when the win is in your division all the more special. Hats off to the coaching staff for calling a brilliant game on all sides of the ball. Other thoughts on the game below:

  • Suggs in his 15th season looked like he was 25 years old today and was disruptive in his play earning 2 sacks and forced fumble
  • After hearing for years that they want to run the ball the Ravens actually delivered on the promise and ran the ball a whopping 43 times
  • Limiting Flacco to just 17 pass attempts was smart as it is going to take him a few weeks to get his legs under him as well as develop some chemistry with this offensive unit
  • Loved their first possession of the game burning just shy of 8 minutes of clock and drawing first blood with a score
  • I really hope that Woodhead’s injury is not too serious or prolonged because he was a big part of the passing game before he got hurt in the 1st quarter
  • Pitching a shutout on the road is almost unheard of in the NFL, I do hope that that this is a sign of more good things to come
  • Ravens committed 11 penalties for 85 yards today, which is a continuation of penalty issues over the past few years
  • Bengals had everything going for them today with home opener, celebrating 50 years as a franchise and a host of past Bengal players. I can’t imagine how disappointed their team and fans must be this afternoon.
  • The offensive line did not look great to me but were serviceable enough to get the job done. Jensen had 3 holding penalties and Hurst got burned on the edge and it created a big hit on Flacco
  • The injury bug was out again today with injuries to Woodhead and Z. Smith – at least that is what we know of as right now as there could be others
  • Mosley’s pick was huge and a really nice catch as he skied to get the ball. If the defense is successful this year it will be in part due to his strong play
  • Flacco as you would have expect was rusty and out of sync with receivers. Most of his passes down field looked bad and were not close
  • The Ravens with 3rd and 7 with 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter – Flacco hit’s Maclin with a perfect strike and he takes it to the house
  • Webb’s intercession was amazing no doubt his punt return skills came into play considering that this ball when 40 feet straight up in the air
  • Carlos Dunlap is a stud and was handful for the Ravens O Line all day
  • The Ravens burned clock all day and really shortened the game leaving it all but impossible for the Bengals to mount a come back
  • My personal pet peeve is blocking in the back on punt returns and today Chris Moor gets the goat award for getting called for one today, which really hurt our field position
  • You could feel the bad blood brewing between these teams and you just felt at any minute that a fight was going to break out between them
  • Ravens defense gave up just 221 yards today which is impressive given the talent that Bengals have on the offensive side of the ball
  • Ravens running game was solid (3.7 ypc) and I liked the speed in which they hit holes and the angles they took to get yardage which is pretty impressive given the average talent of both the backs and the O line.
  • Seeing a rushing TD from 5 yards out was a breath of fresh air and very encouraging

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Flacco goes 21 of 34 with 1 TD and 1 interception – Pretty close 9 of 17 for 1 TD and I interception
  • Bengals player delivers a late hit on Flacco square in the back – They got to him legitimately
  • Ryan Jensen gets called for 2 penalties – PF and holding – Correct he actually committed 3 holding penalties
  • Refs make terrible calls – Missed several holding calls on the Bengals O Line

Keys to the Game

  • Control field position and the Time of Possession – Correct – TOP 34 minutes
  • Keep AJ Green to less than 70 yards and out of the end zone – Correct -74 yards and no TDs
  • Win the turnover battle – Correct – Ravens forced 5 turnovers and only gave back 1
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 13 Bengals 23 Ravens 20 Bengals 0
Turnovers Minus 1 Plus 4
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 78 Bengals 111 Ravens 157 Bengals 77
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 209 Bengals 251 Ravens 111 Bengals 144

9/10/2017 – Bengals Pregame

Welcome to the 2017 NFL season sports fans! A lot has changed since the Ravens walked off the field this past January when they suffered a season ending loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. This season, oddly enough, will start where it ended with the Ravens opening their season at Paul Brown Stadium where they have not won since 2011. The Ravens are featuring a lot of new faces on this team and some of them have found their way on to the starting lineup. Numerous injuries, some untimely retirements and players signing with other teams have given way for new players to try and make their mark on Ravens. To recap some of the preseason challenges, the Ravens have lost 3 players to retirement, and 12 to injured reserve – many of which were starters last season. That said, none of these tough circumstances are an excuse to lose – the mantra “next man up” is what you have to live by in the NFL and hope that your front office has provided enough roster depth to keep you competitive.

So how are things shaping up for the Ravens opener against the Bengals on Sunday? After sweeping all four preseason games do the Ravens really have enough game to end the losing streak in Cincinnati? Here is what I see with the Ravens as they enter the season. The defense looks very good and if they stay healthy they are likely to be a top 5 defense this year. I know it is early to say this, but I believe the personnel is there. They are very deep with talent on the D line and they will be tough against the run, and their secondary is stronger and deeper than last year’s unit. The pass rush looks better and will hopefully improve on their team ranking (19th) from last year. If they want to beat the Bengals – getting to Andy Dalton will be paramount. The Ravens offense is a different story and was downright awful in the preseason, but that was also without Joe Flacco at the helm. The problems facing Flacco and the offense are manifold, some of which include extremely limited practice time for Joe and his receivers, a patch work O line that includes some average to poor players, a lackluster group of running backs, virtually no chemistry as an offensive unit, and they will face one of the better defensive teams in the NFL. We should expect the Ravens to have trouble scoring points, especially early in the season as Flacco learns his new offensive line and receivers. Add to that the foreboding concern about Flacco’s ailing back and how well that will hold up during physical play. I would not expect to see too many 4 receiver sets as they will likely keep backs and tight ends back for protection. The offense will have difficulty converting on 3rd down which will put additional pressure on the defense as they spend much of the day on the field. That all said, Sunday will be great fun to see the Ravens back on the grid iron. Don’t expect a road win to start the season, the Ravens have not played well on the road for a couple years now and until they prove otherwise – one would assume they will struggle on the road against the better teams. The Bengals are a good team and have one of the best receivers in the game with AJ Green and he seems to save his best days against the purple and black. It is worth noting that Pac Man Jones and Vontaze Burfict will miss the game as they serve out their suspensions which is good news for the Ravens. It is also worth noting that the Bengals have a weak O Line which may provide some nice opportunities for Judon and Suggs. The odds makers have the Bengals by 3 and I believe that they will easily cover that. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Baltimore Ravens – September 10th at 1:00 pm          Odds – Bengals by 3

Game Predictions

  • Score Ravens 13 Bengals 23
  • Turnovers Minus 1
  • Net Rushing Yardage   Ravens 78     Bengals 111
  • Net Passing Yardage    Ravens 209   Bengals 251

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Flacco goes 21 of 34 with 1 TD and 1 interception
  • Bengals player delivers a late hit on Flacco square in the back
  • Ryan Jensen gets called for 2 penalties – PF and holding
  • Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines

  • Ravens extend losing streak at Paul Brown Stadium to 6 straight
  • Flacco rusty in season opener Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game

  • Control field position and the Time of Possession
  • Keep AJ Green to less than 70 yards and out of the end zone
  • Win the turnover battle
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