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9/30/18 Steelers Pregame

The Ravens/Steelers game Sunday night is definitely shaping up to be an interesting game and by the numbers the Ravens should have a decent chance to get a road victory. The Ravens offense looks better than it has in several years and they finally have some skill players than can catch the ball and move the chains. The Ravens have done a great job spreading the ball around which gives opponents a more difficult time game planning. The Ravens success in the red zone (12 straight TDs) is impressive and makes them a formidable opponent if they can keep that up. Sunday’s game is likely to be high scorning much like last December’s game when the Ravens lost 39 to 38 in the final minute of the game. You remember, don’t you? When the defense folded like a lawn chair in the last 5 minute of the game and gave up a 10-point lead. I’ll move on.

Here is a special treat for those of you that missed the Steelers/Bucs game where Big Ben does a flop when the Bucs defender touches his helmet. The hit was very minor but the flag was still thrown.

Ben Roethlisberger Flops After Bucs Defender Touches His Helmet And Draws Penalty

While three games of stats are not conclusive it does however begin to point to some of the strengths and weaknesses of a team and how they are trending. Here are some of the comparisons that are worth noting:

Defense – Steelers are ranked 29th / Ravens are ranked 1st
Personally, I don’t expect the Ravens will be a top 5 defense by week 16 but I do think they will be top 10. Likewise, I expect the Steelers to improve and move up the statistical ranks throughout the year and end up in the middle of the pack. All this said, the Ravens are the better team defensively and the Steelers look terrible right now, especially in coverage. If Flacco is smart and throwing well he should be able to shred this secondary and have a 300+ yards game. Edge to the Ravens.

Offense – Steelers are ranked 2nd / Ravens are ranked 13th
The Steelers with the weapons that they have are a proven scoring machine and they will remain in the upper echelon of the league offenses all year. The Ravens, if they remain healthy, will likely finish in the top 10 especially if they continue to work on improving their running game. While the Ravens don’t quite have the fire power of the Steelers they do have enough weapons to hang in there with the black and gold. Edge to the Steelers.

Special Teams
Tucker is 5 of 6 with his only miss due to a block and is perfect on extra points. He is 3 for 3 over 50 yds.
Chris Boswell is 1 of 4 and has missed two extra points. He is 0 for 3 over 40 yards.
Sam Koch is ranked 2nd in the league for average distance and Jordan Berry is ranked 26th.
The Ravens have had some problems this year with their blocking scheme as they have had 3 blocks already this season. You have to think that Coach Rosburg who is one of the best at what he does will have that fixed pronto. Even with those blocking issues the edge goes to the Ravens.

Coaching
Anything that I would say here would be so subjective that it would lack credibility, but I will make this point – right now the Steelers lead the league in penalties and that typically points to lack of discipline. Also, last week you had Antonio Brown not showing up for work on Monday but he still played that Sunday which makes you wonder a little what is going on in that club house.

Where does all this leave us for Sunday? First, this is an intra division rivalry game which always produces maximum effort from both teams, and all the more when you play in the national spotlight. Pittsburgh’s defense, while statistically awful, will likely play better, and you can be certain that Coach Butler will bring the house to Flacco especially early in the game. If you get to Flacco early he typically has trouble getting in rhythm. Hopefully Coach Mornhinweg is planning short drops to counter this. The Steelers are an offensive juggernaut and as good as the Ravens defense looks right now – they are not going to stop Ben and that offense from scoring. Ben plays exceptionally well at home and unfortunately Joe tends to struggle on the road. The Steelers are historically dominant at home, rarely losing, and that stadium is going to be deafening when the Ravens are on the field. I expect the Ravens to burn at least two time outs due to crowd noise just so they can get plays called in. If Jimmy Smith were playing this week I would like our chances more, but in the end I think the Steelers offense at home is going to be a little too much for the Ravens to overcome. The odds makers have the Steelers by 3 with a 51 point over/under. Steelers should cover this one and I would bet over on the points. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday – September 30th @ 8:20 PM Odds – Steelers by 3 Over/Under 51

Game Predictions
Score         Ravens 24           Steelers 30
Turnovers         Minus 2
Net Rushing Yardage         Ravens 84           Steelers 98
Net Passing Yardage          Ravens 302           Steelers 343

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Alex Collins leads the Ravens run game with 18 carries/70 yds
• A. Brown gets 10 receptions for 146 yards, and 1 TD
• Ravens tight ends combine for 12 catches and 133 yards
• Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
• Ravens come up short in the Sling Fest

Keys to the Game
• Contain Brown/JuJu and don’t give up big plays
• Get Big Ben to the ground – without the flag
• Win the turnover battle

Ravens/Steelers Post Game Recap

If you are an NFL sports fan who loves good match ups you were treated to a spectacular game last night, but if you are a Ravens fan you are thinking that when you have an 11 point lead going into the 4th quarter and when you score 38 points you are supposed to win. That was not the case however as the Ravens lose a gut wrenching game to their archrivals and proved to the fans once again just how valuable Jimmy Smith is to this team. Without Smith the Ravens surrendered a season high 506 passing yards. And to make matters worse Big Ben threw the ball a whopping 66 times without giving up an interception. If that is not an NFL record if has to be close to one. I might also add that the Steelers really missed Shazier as the Ravens were able to run the ball effectively against a team that is typically stingy. This game also showed you that if you want to compete in the NFL you need elite players on the offensive side of the ball to get things done. The Ravens defense simply had no answer to Ben, Bell, Brown, and Bryant. Additional thoughts on the game are below:

  • Ravens defense got shredded in the passing game giving up 209 passing yards in the first half and about another 300 in the second half which tells you they were unable to make the right adjustments in game
  • Even though the Steelers jumped out to a quick 14 to 0 lead and appeared to be on their way to a rout – the Ravens never panicked and stayed the course and got back into the game
  • Ravens offense did a good job moving the ball in the game and except for Flacco’s ill-timed interception in the first quarter they played pretty well
  • Time outs due to poor clock management has to improve for the Ravens
  • Steelers on the first possession cut through the Ravens defense like a hot knife through butter capitalizing on the Flacco interception for 7 points
  • Hats off to the Steelers O line who did a very good job with protection often giving Big Ben 4 to 5 seconds to find the open receiver
  • Not sure what is wrong with the Maclin and Flacco chemistry but they often are not on the page and I don’t understand why Maclin does not finish his routes. I hope that the Ravens let him go after this season as he does play any intensity
  • Steelers second possession goes 90 yards for another 7 points
  • The PI call on Canady was a bad call and set them up for another TD but not so surprising since Pittsburgh often gets the calls when they play in Heinz Field
  • Chris Moore had a very nice game and made a great catch on the Ravens first TD
  • Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle did not play very well and never seemed to be close to the ball when it was thrown down field
  • Really don’t understand why the Ravens didn’t get more over the top help with covering Brown – it makes no sense to me. If you are keeping track Antonio Brown had 11 receptions for 213 yards and Le’Veon Bell had 9 receptions for 77 yards
  • 3rd possession for the Steelers ends with a 52 yard field goal
  • Suggs dropped a gift interception which is surprising because he has unusually good hands for a linebacker
  • Canady had an unremarkable game with a couple bad penalties
  • Alex Collins got off to a slow start with a fumble but after that he made several great runs and played with a lot of heart and grit. Alex was the star of the offense last night averaging 6.7 yards per carry and racked up 120 yards
  • Steelers fourth possession drives down the field for 3 points
  • Hats off to Ravens coaching staff for activating Chris Moore and Michael Campanaro over Perriman as these guys can deliver more and have produced when in the game
  • On 3rd and 16 with 50 seconds left in the game the Ravens defense could not deliver a stop and the 4 man rush left Ben with 6 seconds to find the open receiver. Our front four could not get any pressure on Big Ben and left our secondary vulnerable
  • Big Ben and the Steeler receivers owned the middle of the field most of the night
  • Steelers were 12 of 18 on 3rd down which proves how dominant their offense was in this game
  • Ravens defense didn’t get their first stop until 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter and they gave up 4 scores to the Steelers in their last four possessions
  • Bowser and Levine had a primo opportunity to get the Steelers pinned back to 1 yard line on a kick off but neither of them could get Bryant to the ground
  • Wallace made two brilliant plays to break up what would have been interceptions on passes where the DB had position on him and in both cases he reached over the top to slap the ball down – that is what good receivers do
  • Antonio Brown literally looks for a PI call every single time he doesn’t catch the ball and this for a guy who has made a regular habit of pushing off to get separation
  • The Ravens middle linebackers could not handle the Steeler Tight Ends or cover the middle of the field – it was arguable one of their worst games of the season
  • To me one of the disappointing moments in the game was when the Ravens when 3 and out after the Steelers pulled within one score in the 4th quarter – I thought that Ravens play calling was really bad in that series and it shifted all the momentum to the Steelers
  • With the clock ticking down and on the most critical 3rd down play of the game you go to Maclin – I am befuddled with that call as he is not my go to guy in a critical situation, and to make matters worse he plays dead on the hit he took which cost the Ravens their last time out of the game
  • After 10 years in the league there are still times that Flacco does things that make him look like a rookie – and I will point to that last play of the game where he rolls out and gets caught from behind
  • Ravens coaching staff (mostly Pees) didn’t make the in game adjustments last night to win this game
  • Ravens O line did a good job protecting Joe and they did it against one of the best front sevens in the league
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 20 Steelers 23 Ravens 38 Steelers 39
Turnovers Plus 1 Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 94 Steelers 110 Ravens 152 Steelers 59
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 192 Steelers 242 Ravens 261 Steelers 486

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Flacco is sacked 3 times       Nope, got to him just once
  • Le’Veon Bell carries for 31 times for 105 yards (3.4 per carry)       Nope, just 13 receptions for 48 yards
  • Ravens have at least one trick play on special teams       Nope, no trick plays
  • Refs make terrible calls       Correct, lots of poor calls and several no calls on obvious penalties

Possible Monday morning headlines

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

Keys to the Game

  • Offensive balance with a 3rd down conversion rate > than 38%      Correct, 40%
  • Contain Bell, Bryant and Brown      Nope, they accounted for 391 yards and 3 TDs
  • Protect the rock and force some turnovers       Nope, they forced nothing and gave up one INT

Ravens/Dolphins Post Game Recap

The Ravens got out of the gate early and drew first blood with 34 yard strike to Jeremy Maclin. They were up by 20 points going into halftime and you had the feeling that this game was over. This was a decisive win for the Ravens who pitched a shutout and dominated from the beginning. They get back to 500 and keep their season relevant for another week. Other comments on the game below.

  • First play from scrimmage the Dolphins running back Ajayi has his longest run of the season (21 yards) in part because the Ravens missed the tackle at the line of scrimmage – but he would gain only 2 more yards on the next 12 carries
  • Ravens run defense did an awesome job and held the Dolphins to 45 rushing yards and kept them in check which is hopefully the beginning of improving their run defense
  • Coach Pees and the Ravens defense did a better job on defense disguising their rushers especially in the first half
  • Sam Koch had a busy day as was expected but because he had the bigger leg he helped the Ravens with field position throughout the game
  • The Flacco to Maclin 34 yard TD pass was a thing of beauty and if you watched it closely you will see Maclin separate from the receiver in the last 4 steps to make the TD catch
  • 3rd and 2 and the Ravens pass for a one yard loss. When do you say to your OC that you are not going to do that anymore – seriously it has to stop
  • Alex Collins continues to impress with his dynamic running style gaining 113 yards on 18 carries – so glad he took up Irish dancing
  • Jimmy Smith missed a golden opportunity for an INT in the 2nd quarter but he didn’t miss his next opportunity in the 4th quarter
  • Alonzo should have been disqualified from the game for that dirty hit on Flacco.   Flacco had given himself up and Alonzo went for the head. While the Refs did nothing, I am fairly certain and hopeful that the league will suspend him for at least a game
  • Tucker makes a 55 yard FG look easy – this guy is flat out crazy good The Ravens defense looked pretty good against the worst ranked offense in the league. Let’s see how they look going forward against better teams
  • Suggs looked good tonight and played with a lot of energy, and he seems to play his best when you have the bright lights
  • You have to love the fight in Ryan Jensen for going after Alonzo after the dirty hit which he got away with from the Refs
  • There was no love lost between the Ravens and the Dolphins tonight and it was a chippy game throughout
  • Stanley, who has played pretty clean football this season, had a bad game committing a three penalties one of which cost a big gainer
  • Hopefully those silly fans out there that are always clamoring for Mallet to replace Flacco have finally seen the light
  • Yet another Ravens game where they burn 2 time outs for bad clock management – need to get better at that
  • Ravens running game was pretty solid and they did it against one of the better run defenses in the league
  • Bowser who only had a handful of snaps tonight managed to get a few penalties, he won’t get more snaps with that kind of play
  • Ravens receivers continue to struggle with the dropsies which has to be discouraging for the coaches
  • Ravens running game up the middle was impressive when you consider that the defense knew it was coming
  • Miami Dolphins lost their composure tonight and embarrassed themselves
  • Suh is a dirty player and I one day that it ends up costing him dearly
  • Congrats to the O line who did not give up a sack against some of the best in the sack business
  • Brandon Williams was stout in the middle and a big part of the defensive prowess for this game
  • I really like Tony Romo in the booth and I think he is doing a great job especially considering this is his first year doing broadcast
  • Tonight’s 40 to 0 win is the largest margin of victory for the Ravens
Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 16 Dolphins 17 Ravens 40 Dolphins 0
Turnovers Even
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 80 Dolphins 101 Ravens 174 Dolphins 45
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 171 Dolphins 181 Ravens 122 Dolphins 151

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Thursday Night Football records its lowest TV ratings since starting in 2006 – Not sure, but it should have been
  • Ndamukong Suh dominates Ravens O line recording 3 sacks – Incorrect! No sacks
  • Justin Tucker hits two 50+ yard field goals  –   Nope, only one over 50
  • Refs make terrible calls  –   Correct, missed a face mask and at least 3 PI calls

Keys to the Game

  • Establish the passing game to open up the running attack – Nope, didn’t need to because the running game was productive
  • Pressure Moore and create some mistakes – Correct, Mosley’s pick six double sealed the game and Jimmy Smith’s pick six made it a blow out
  • Don’t give up any big plays – Correct, they kept the game in front of them

Ravens/Bears Post Game Recap

Harbaugh and the Ravens got beat at home by a rookie quarterback, and I must admit with all sincerity the better team won today. The Ravens were outplayed and out coached, and except for the special teams play there was not much to be happy about in this game. The Bears made it clear that they were going to run the ball (which they did 55 times) and the Ravens defense still could not stop them. The Bears won this game because they were the better tackling team and it was absolutely the difference today. This is gut check time for the Ravens and for the offense it is back to the drawing board who again have no rhythm on offense. Other rants on the game are below.

  • Ravens O line had a rough day and were pushed back by the big boys Goldman and Hicks
  • First play of the game Ryan Jensen gets a talking to by the Ref for being too nasty – you gotta love this guy’s intensity albeit he did not have a very good game
  • Sam Koch’s first punt of the game was a bomb! And it got it inside the 10 with not so much as a bounce
  • Ravens offense was 3 of 15 on 3rd down taking lame offense to a new level, they also didn’t score a TD today
  • La’Darius Smith got called for a PF which was absolutely a horrible call in spite of what you may heard from the Fox sports casters
  • Maybe it is me, but the picture on Fox TV is not a crisp as it is on CBS – just my opinion
  • Refs missed a blatant hands to the face from the nose guard on Ryan Jensen which ended up being one of many missed and bad calls on the day by the officiating crew
  • Apparently a punt returner who calls for a fair catch is fair game to have his jewels speared by an opposing player – without consequence I might add
  • Danny Trevathan is a stud and he was a menace to the Ravens all day long
  • When the Ravens offense starts sleepy listless – it tends to stay that way for most of the game
  • Penalties (8) again were a problem today for the Ravens and hurt them badly on both sides of the ball
  • Ravens front seven got beat bad today and the Bears ran all over them which is to say you should all be praying for Brandon Williams to return as soon as possible
  • Offense seems to have reverted to throwing 1 and 2 yard passes hoping for yards after a catch. It didn’t work last year and it is not working this year
  • I am officially calling the Perriman draft a bust – Ravens need to move on from him and give his reps to other guys. Mathews and Moore are not stud receivers but I like them more than Perriman
  • Red zone offense was pretty poor and it doesn’t help when your veteran quarterback has a delay of game
  • The Bears defense was the more physical defense today and they made the Ravens pay dearly when they caught the ball. If you don’t believe me just ask Williams, Watson, and Perriman
  • Jordan Howard had a big day against the Ravens and was the best offensive player on the field today
  • Matt Judon had a big day today and seemed to be around the ball all day long.  Judon also had 2 sacks
  • Bobby Rainey runs a kick off back and it was all because he played until the whistle. I would like however to discourage Ravens players from tackling other Ravens
  • How about that Campy getting that punt return for 6 points to tie the game – well done!
  • I did learn one thing today, Justin Tucker is a much better tackler than Flacco
  • Both interceptions on Flacco were off the hands of receivers and you should know that he is officially starting another game streak for interceptions.  I would be shocked if the 2018 draft did not include a quarterback in one of the early rounds

I would like to see Perriman make a few catches and build up his confidence.       Nope – 2 targets no catches
I would like to see a game where there are no Ravens assisted off the field.         Nope – None carted off but lost 2 more for the day
And finally, I’d like to a game where the Ravens don’t burn a time out because they can’t get the play snapped in time.     Nope – In fact they had 2 timeouts because they ran out of clock

Game Predictions Game Statistics
Score Ravens 24 Bears 16 Ravens 24 Bears 27
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 133 Bears 112 Ravens 125 Bears 231
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 242 Bears 177 Ravens 166 Bears 107

Miscellaneous Predictions

  •  Trubisky runs for 42 yards, and throws a pick        Incorrect, no picks but did have 32 yards
  • Collins breaks off a run of 25+ yards      Correct – He had a run of 30 yards
  • Mike Wallace has 7 receptions for 83 yards     Incorrect – just 3 catches for 30 yards
  • Refs make terrible calls       Correct – all day long

Keys to the Game

  • Stop the run and force them to throw      Nope – 55 carries for 231 yards says it all
  • Pound the rock and don’t drop it      Correct – 26 rushes is certainly being committed to it
  • Convert on 3rd down and move the chains     Nope – 3 of 15 on 3rd down is a total failure on the offense
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