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The Battle for the Wild Card

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Baltimore Ravens (19) vs. New York Jets (3) 11/24/2013 Highlights

It seems as though whenever the Ravens play the Jets, the Ravens defense decides to play to almost perfection. Especially when the two teams played each other 3 seasons ago and the Ravens won 34-17 and the Ravens D recorded 3 touchdowns. Once again, the Ravens defense has a similar game with 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery, but were not able to return any of those turnovers for touchdowns like the last matchup. If the Ravens want to keep in the fight for this last playoff spot, the defense is going to have to show up like this every week from now on. We have all learned by now though, inconsistency with this team is very common.

It seems as though since the organization cut a couple of players a few weeks ago and Jacoby Jones returned from injury, the special teams units have performed a lot better. Jacoby Jones alone had over 100 yards on returns Sunday. Also, the blocking on special teams returns has been phenomenal. Courtney Upshaw had two HUGE hits on returns, unfortunately he got flagged on the one because it was a block on the punter. I guess that’s a new rule no one knows about. 

The offense seemed to still be playing under par. Joe Flacco is still even in the TD:INT category which is never a good thing, especially if you’re a Super Bowl MVP who just signed a $120 million contract. I still give Joe the benefit of the doubt though, A LOT of those interceptions were not his fault in one bit, just receivers (Ed Dickson cough cough) not being able to catch a ball. We saw the offense run quite a bit of plays out of the pistol formation and wild cat offense. Joe has already come out in the press this week and expressed his dislike of those kind of play calls. I personally have to agree with Joe in the fact that those kind of play calls makes a team look like they shouldn’t be in the NFL. No team has really proven that this kind of offense works in the NFL yet. One could make the argument that the 49ers did it last year, but they had an amazing defense that helped them more then the offense did. With the Steelers coming into Baltimore this Thanksgiving for a primetime game, we’ll see if Jim Caldwell continues to call these types of plays with Tyrod Taylor behind the center and the $120 million quarterback MVP out wide, doing nothing but looking like a waste of space.

Player of the Game

This weeks player of the game goes to a guy who hasn’t been able to shine because of an injury. Finally, this past Sunday, Jacoby Jones seemed to be back in his normal game play form. He had over 100 yards off of kickoff and punt returns as well as 4 catches for 103 yards and a 66 yard touchdown. This was Jacoby’s second touchdown of the season, but his first dance of the year, which he dedicated to his Dancing With the Stars partner Karina. Hopefully we see this kind of production keep up with Jacoby, both on special teams and offense, for the final five weeks of the regular season.

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NFL Power Rankings/Playoff Picture

Of course with the Bengals on top of the division and adding another win Sunday, they have climbed to the number 8 spot this week. Although the Ravens put on a pretty good show, it was against a weak Jets squad, so they were only able to climb up one spot to the number 18 spot.

That was a clutch deep ball heaved by Joe Flacco to a streaking Jacoby Jones, as it put Baltimore in the driver’s seat Sunday. For all the hubbub about Jones, his big day against the Jets (103 receiving yards) wasn’t too far off his production for the rest of the season (160 yards). TheRavens still can’t run the rock, with 31 attempts for just 67 yards. But if the defense can keep this up, Baltimore can’t be ruled out of that sixth spot in the AFC — especially if Flacco picks it up. Put another way, it’s difficult to ever count out this team. In fact, that No. 6 seed will be a dogfight between the RavensChargersDolphinsJets and SteelersTitans, too.

With the Steelers beating up on the Browns, they were able to climb three spots to number 20. Really, it comes down to the game tomorrow night. The Ravens and the Steelers are tied in the division at 5-6. The Titans hold the last wild card spot, but with their starting QB out for the season, I don’t see them staying there very long. It seems as though the winner of the prime time Thanksgiving game tomorrow has another week to fight for a playoff spot, while the loser might have to start looking at plans for the offseason.

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Fighting for the North

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Baltimore Ravens (20) vs Cincinnati Bengals (17) 11/10/2013 Highlights

Between Maryland basketball losing by 1 point and the Ravens blowing a 17 point lead with a hail mary pass, I am not sure I will live much longer if this keeps up. The way the offense came out and started the game seemed like a promising turn around. This year it seems to be that the offense doesn’t show up until the second half. This game, it was the complete opposite. The Ravens didn’t score any points after halftime until Tucker kicked the game winning field goal in OT. Flacco was able to connect to both Dallas Clark and Torrey Smith for touchdowns in the first half. However, it was disappointing to see that the one yard TD pass to Clark was the only catch of the day for him. Flacco was finally able to find Torrey in the end zone, for a 7 yard score, since week 4 against the Bills. The other thing that worried me about the offense was that all three of the Ravens turnovers on the day were Flacco’s fault (2 interceptions, 1 fumble). I was really hoping this was the game where Ray Rice and the rest of the offensive unit would be able to break lose and record at least 100 yards, but I was wrong. At this point, you can’t expect to hold a 17 point lead when you aren’t able to run the ball to waste time. The Ravens might as well let the other team score as quick as possible and let Joe Flacco try to throw the ball deep to get lucky on a pass interference call.

Really, if it wasn’t for a great defensive performance, I don’t see how the Ravens could have won this game. The secondary shut down a rising quarter back, Andy Dalton, very well throughout the entire game. Well, that is, until the hail mary pass. James Ihedigbo was able to pick off Dalton twice (First Half and Second Half) and even Lardarius Webb recorded an interception, which was a very athletic play. The Defense was able to record another multiple sack game to continue their longest active streak in the NFL. However, the Ravens are still negative in the turnover margin at -3.

Player of the Game

This week was another game that is hard to pick one player of the game. There are three guys, all on defense, that stood out to me. Lardarius Webb seems to be back to his top performance, he recorded 6 passes defended, 1 crazy interception, and 5 combined tackles. Elvis Dumervil only had 3 combined tackles, but had 2.5 sacks. My pick for player of the game is the grave digger, James Ihedigbo. He recorded 9 combined tackles, 3 passes defended, and 2 interceptions. If only he was smart enough to swat the ball out of bounds on the hail mary and not into A.J. Green’s hands. This was the second week in a row that Andy Dalton has thrown three interceptions, hopefully this keeps up.

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Injury Updates

No noticeable injuries came from Sundays game. However, coach Harbaugh did mention that Ray Rice still might be struggling from his muscle strain from earlier this season. You might start seeing Bernard Pierce get more touches than the franchise running back in the upcoming weeks if things don’t turn around. Brandon Stokley once again sat out and there is no word of his status for this next weeks game in Chicago.

NFL Power Rankings/Playoff Picture

After the Ravens beat the Bengals in OT this Sunday, the Bengals have fallen a spot to number 9 overall. However, they are still 2.5 games in front of the Ravens for first place in the AFC North. The Ravens were able to move back into a tie for second in the AFC North with the Browns. Unfortunately, they did not move up in the power rankings and are still at the number 19 spot.

Give Sunday’s win to the Ravens‘ front seven, which made life miserable for Andy Dalton. The group sacked Dalton five times, collapsing his pocket with abandon and contributing to his 47.1 percent completion rate. The Ravens are now 1.5 games behind the Bengals in the AFC North. Unfortunately for Baltimore, the lack of a viable running attack puts any kind of playoff chances at serious risk. Ray Rice might have lost not a step but a yard — he ran 18 times for just 30 yards Sunday, and he hasn’t gained more than 2 yards per carry since Oct. 20. Yes, 2 yards per carryCoach John Harbaugh says Rice’s health has been an issue. Whatever the issue might be, Baltimore simply must find a running game.

The Steelers were able to record their third win of the season and moved up 3 spots to number 26 in the league. As of now the Ravens are still out of the playoff picture, but do not give up hope. It still looks as though winning the division might be the only ticket into the post season. To date, the wild card spots in the AFC belong to the Broncos and the Jets. It doesn’t look like anyone can catch either the Broncos or the Chiefs, so technically theres only one spot left to fight for. Ahead of the Ravens are the Jets, as mentioned, the Dolphins, Titans, and Browns (they have the tie breaker). Every game from here on out is a must win. This will prove to very difficult with the opponents the Ravens have in the final 7 weeks.

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Spoiled Fans Listen Up

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Baltimore Ravens (18) at Cleveland Browns (24) 11/3/2013 Highlights

I think now fans across the league realize that the Browns are trying to become a better franchise, finally. They probably should have won the first game against the Ravens as well, on the home opener this season. If it weren’t for under thrown passes on wide open receivers by Weeden, the Browns would have one more win and the Ravens could very well be in last place of the division. With a top 10 defense and an average offense, you could’ve seen a loss to the Browns coming at some point soon. I mean, the Ravens did have the longest active winning streak against one team until the loss Sunday. It’s only a matter of time until all things come to an end, just not an ideal time right now for this struggling Ravens squad.

Sundays game seemed to be a repeat of what we have been seeing lately with this years team. The offense doesn’t show up until the second half, then the defense cannot stop the other teams offense when its important, and the special teams has gone from top 5 to bottom 5 in just one off season. Not trying to beat a dead horse, but for the Ravens to get back to the playoffs its going to take more discipline on special teams, and some sort of run game to be established. The defense just needs to stay in shape and not give up when it matters the most.

Running Game

Yet another pathetic performance by Ray Rice and the Offensive Line. Joe Flacco (25 yards) had more rushing yards then the franchise running back, Rice (17yards). THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN. Currently on the season “Pro Bowler” Ray Rice is only averaging 1.0 yards per carry. I am not sure to why no body has made any changes. By now most of us have heard that Juan Castillo really took over the roll of Offensive Line Coordinator, even though that is not his listed title on the roster. He has tried to implement a zone blocking scheme this season, and it hasn’t worked in one single game yet. By week 10 if it’s not working you should probably switch to what was working when we won a Super Bowl! Bryant Mckinnie was interviewed about the Ravens running game once he left for Miami:

“I’m not sure why they felt like a change was needed,” McKinnie said on the radio program. “But that’s up to the head coach [John Harbaugh] and that’s his decision. I guess he felt Juan was a guy he looked at that was great at coaching offensive linemen and he wanted to bring him in. But they bring somebody in and then change everybody’s technique. That’s a of change, especially for offensive linemen. That’s five different people that have to get used to change. It’s going to be a difference. It’s going to take time to get used to what he wants.”

My thoughts exactly, if Ray was a Pro Bowl running back last year AND we won the Super Bowl, why would you change the blocking scheme so dramatically? Caldwell and Flacco can only do so much with the play calling when there is absolutely no run game. If the Ravens want any production out of Rice and the runnings game, something needs to change, and it needs to change now.

There go the “Fans”

The amount of Ravens fans that I have seen talking trash out the team and giving up on the rest of the season is absurd. Yes it’s alright to be frustrated, who isn’t. But to be saying some of the things I have been seeing is just spoiled fans that don’t realize how lucky they’re to have a organization like the Ravens in Baltimore. The Ravens have been to the playoffs every year since Harbaugh, Flacco, and Rice have showed up (2008), which no other team has done, ever. The Ravens also have a Super Bowl win in those last 5 years, which obviously only 4 other teams have done in this time frame. For the “fans” out there that don’t realize how spoiled they are here are some stats for you. The Ravens have the highest winning percentage in the post season, of all time, at .667. They also have the 5th highest winning percentage, ever, including regular season at .5599. In this category they fall behind Chicago, Dallas, Green Bay, and Miami who are first, second, third, and fourth respectively. Currently in the NFL there are 14 teams that have NEVER won a Super Bowl. Again, the Ravens have already won it twice in their 17 years of existence. Four of those 14 teams have never even been to a Super Bowl (Cleveland, Jacksonville, Detroit, and Houston). Also, only 4 teams that have been to the Super Bowl have an undefeated record there. The Ravens lead this category at 2-0 while the other 3 teams (Jets, Buccaneers, and Saints) are 1-0. Even if we happen to miss the playoffs this year, which we could still make them, do not be complaining about how this organization sucks.

Player of the Game

It’s safe to say that no player that has to deal with the run game deserves to be the Player of the Game. The defense had another multiple sack game, but failed to stop the Browns offense when it mattered the most. Torrey Smith had another big game with 78 total yards, but still no touchdown. Torrey has now dropped to 7th overall in the league with 707 total yards. The rookie, Marlon Brown, stepped up big time when the offense needed some momentum. He had both of the Ravens touchdowns (19 yards and 7 yards) as well as the 2-point conversion on the second touchdown. Marlon now has 297 total yards and leading the Ravens with 5 touchdowns on the season.

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NFL Power Rankings/Playoff Picture

Luckily the Dolphins were able to defeat the Bengals with a safety in OT Thursday night. This added another loss to Cincinnati’s record, as well as dropped them a spot in the power rankings to number 8. The now 8th ranked Bengals come to M&T Bank this Sunday to battle the Ravens. The Ravens also added another loss and dropped 3 spots to number 18 this week.

The Ravens got what they needed when Cameron Wake plowed Andy Dalton into the Sun Life grasslast Thursday night — and then they came out flat in Cleveland. What now? First, Sunday’s home date with the Bengals becomes an absolute and certifiable must-win. Then, Baltimore must capitalize on what should be a manageable stretch of the schedule, with a trip to Chicago followed by a three-game homestand consisting of matchups with the Jets,Steelersand Vikings.

After the win Sunday, the Browns are now ahead of the Ravens in the division. However, they are still ranked lower at the number 20 spot. Luckily, for Ravens fans, the Patriots beat the Steelers to add another loss to their record and keep them in last place in the division. Pittsburgh still remains at the number 29 spot in the Power Rankings.

If the Ravens want a shot at the playoffs for a sixth year in a row, the only chance, it looks like, is to win the division. It truly, and sadly, comes down to this upcoming Sunday’s home game against the Bengals. A win keeps the Ravens playoff chances alive, and a loss, well lets try not to be negative.

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Are Any Of The Offseason Departures Really Missed?

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This week marks the half way point until the regular season is over for the NFL. John Harbaugh and his Ravens got a much needed bye week this past weekend. Since there was no game to watch and to blog about, I decide to do a little comparison of the players that had to leave the Ravens during the off season, to who is replacing them. Keep in mind I am not including retirees Ray Lewis and Matt Brik, we all know they were both key players not only statistically but as leaders.

The Missed Ones…?:

Receiving Core

Before the season started, MVP Joe Flacco lost his two favorite receivers from last season, Anquan Boldin (trade) and Dennis Pitta (injury). There was a report released last week that mentioned Pitta is expected back sooner than though and could be back as soon as mid November, lets all hope this is true. Since week 1 I have been hearing non stop about how Joe only looked good because of Anquan’s abilities on the field. This seemed to be true when the Ravens got man handled by the Broncos and Boldin seemed to be the only person on the 49ers offense doing any work with 13 receptions and 208 yards with a touchdown. However, since then Boldin has not been able to put up the same numbers. In the picture below I have included stats up till this point of the season for Anquan as well has the key members of the Ravens receiving core. As most of you know, Torrey is leading the league in yards but has not been able to find the end zone but once so far. Although rookie Marlon Brown only has about half the amount of yards as Bolding, he does have a long catch of 59 yards as well as a team high 3 touchdowns. I know what you all are thinking, Dallas Clark is not a WR he is a TE, that’s not comparable. Well I wasn’t going to add him, but being a TE he is tied with Bolding in touchdowns and has a longer catch of the year than him. Statistically it looks as though Joe and his receivers are making it through without him, but we all witnessed it in the Super Bowl run last year; Anquan is able to make plays most other receivers aren’t able to. the key 3rd down conversions and going up strong for a touchdown made him a key receiver to Joe’s MVP run. His veteran leadership might be more missed than his statistics at this point.

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Strong Safety

Bernard Pollard was cut by the Ravens in a bind to free up cap space. The coaches believed his back up, James Ihedigbo, would be able to step up and perform just as good as Pollard for less penalties and less money. The only category Ihedigbo is leading in as of right now is forced fumbles. Not only is Pollard missed for his play, but his intimidation factor as well.

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The GOOD News (aka the not missed ones):

Middle Linebacker

We already know no body will ever be able to replace the future Hall of Fame MLB Ray Lewis. However, when Ray went down with what seemed to be a season ending injury last year, Dannell Ellerbe covered the MLB spot for the Ravens quite well. The price for Ellerbe was too much for Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens organization to match so they had to let him go. Ozzie worked his magic though and picked up long time veteran MLB Daryl Smith from the Jaguars. Most fans didn’t know how to react to this pick up since the Jaguars have been so bad the last 13 years, you wouldn’t think any player from that organization would prove to be beneficial. Surprisingly enough, Smith has proved in the first 7 games that he is a huge asset to this years Defense. Smith has already recorded 2 interceptions, which leads the team (keep in mind he is a linebacker), a touchdown (also leads the team on defense), 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Ellerbe has none of the above.

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Outside Linebacker

Browns fans seemed to be going crazy when the “stole” Paul Kruger from us in the offseason. My thought initially was, go ahead and have him, we still have Terrell Suggs. Now, not only do we have Suggs, the Ravens worked their magic yet again and signed Broncos veteran Elvis Dumervil, a huge grab. Although Kruger has recorded two extra tackles than Elvis, he doesn’t compare in any other category. As talked about in previous weeks, Terrell Suggs could be in the running for a Defensive Player of the Year vote. Kruger, not so much. Not only was it beneficial to not sign Kruger for the price the Browns did, but we also landed a better OLB in Dumervil.

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Free Safety:

Before I start on this position, let me just say that my favorite player on the Ravnes since he was drafted, was Ed Reed. I was more heartbroken by his departure than that of Ray Lewis’. Granite, I knew he was getting old and was not worth the money he was looking for. It worked out even better when once he signed with the Texans, he announced that he needed surgery. So far Reed has not played up to par, or even close. He only has 14 tackles on the year and has not recorded a stat in any other column. The rookie Matt Elam, although he is still learning, has double the amount of tackles and a pass defended. The leadership and intimidation factor might be missed, but we should all know the draft for Matt Elam is a lot better for this team.

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Cornerback:

This last position is hard to compare because there are so many different statistics to judge a cornerback by. I was never a fan of Cary Williams while he was on the team. He often seemed to take stupid penalties and worse than that, got beat for the deep ball. It seemed as though veteran quarterbacks would make their entire game plan to throw Cary’s way. So far, statistically, this season Cary and the Ravens have been on about the same page. As you can see below, some have a higher count in one column, and others in the other columns. Although there are similarities, I still think this is a player that is not missed.

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AFC North Picture and Power Rankings

Even though the Chiefs are the only undefeated team left in the league, they dropped to the number two spot while the Broncos have climbed back on top. The Bengals pulled off a huge win this weekend out scoring the Jets 49-9 putting them at 6-2 on the year and ranked 7th by the NFL. Even with a bye week the Ravens have jumped two spots to number 15 in the rankings. Maybe we should have a bye week every week and eventually we’ll climb to the number one spot.

You could say the 3-4 Ravens‘ season is slipping away, but remember this group’s ability to rally — and remember that Baltimore has not yet met division-leading Cincinnati. The only question is, can the Ravens do it without the longtime veterans who led the locker room in 2012?

The Browns recorded another loss, but only dropped a spot to number 21. The Steelers recorded their 5th loss of the year as well, and dropped a spot to number 29. Thats what I like to see. The Ravens travel to Cleveland this week to play the divisional matchup against the Browns. Then they come home to play another divisional game against the AFC North leaders, the Bengals. If the Ravens can pull off two wins against these teams, this would help their play off chances tremendously. With the worst case scenario being they lose both games, the Ravens might be out of the play offs with 7 games still to play.

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The NFL’s Most Physical Rivalry

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Baltimore Ravens (16) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (19) 10/20/2013 (Highlights)

Best Rivalry in Football?

Normally every year it’s the Ravens and the Steelers battling it out for first place in the AFC North. This year seems to be a bit different. Before the game Sunday, the Steelers were in last place with only one win while the Ravens had three wins, they were still tied with the Cleveland Browns for second place. However, any football fan should know, no matter what each teas schedule is, when its a division rivalry, anything can happen. The Ravens and Steelers rivalry proved, once again, to be one of the best rivalries in all of football. Since 2009 both teams have won 4 games each against each other. Eight of those 10 games have been decided by only three points. No matter which team you route for, you know when it’s rivalry week, you’re in for a nail bitter of a game. Here is a video I found that highlights the intense rivalry since 2003.

Game Breakdown

Although it was another close loss that the Ravens should have been able to pull out a win, the game looked promising with the future after this weeks bye week. Flacco and the offense seemed to be a bit more methodical marching down Heinz Field, when they did Sunday. Joe was able to put up 215 yards and spread the love to 9 different receivers. Dallas Clark seems like he is getting into his groove, he has recorded a touchdown in both of the last two games including this one Sunday. Although the running game was still not up to par, it showed improvement and Ray Rice after the game said he feels like he has his burst back. The pass protection looked a lot better Sunday and was able to give Joe the time to throw or scramble and look down field to throw. Hopefully after this bye week, we will see an improved offense all around. Some nerve wrecking things to worry about on defense is the fact that week to week the problems seem to change. You either get the ravens defense that is able to stop any running back but allows the deep ball, or vice versa. This week the Ravens secondary did a decent job of holding Big Ben to only 160 yards throwing, but allowed 141 yards rushing total attributed by 5 different players. Obviously this bye week is a huge necessity for a 3-4 team. The Ravens have not been under .500 at this point in the season since before Flacco, Harbaugh, and Rice have been here.

Was There a Player of the Game?

Since the game was a slow paced game not just one person stood out from the rest. On offense you had the MVP Joe Flacco throw 24/34 for 215 yards and a touchdown which isn’t outstanding, but that outperformed some “elite” quarterbacks around the league. The biggest receiver of the game was once again Terps alumni Torrey Smith with 61 yards on three receptions. Torrey is still the league leading receiver with total yards on the season with 629. On the defensive side of the ball Daryl Smith had 4 solo tackles with 5 assisted and the Forced Fumble that Matt Elam was able to recover. But then you had Terrell Suggs who was craving some sacks against his favorite quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He was only able to record one Sunday, but he also had 6 solo tackles and 1 assisted. Ill leave this up to the readers to decide who the Player of the Game was this week. Suggs is hungry for another Defensive Player of the Year award. According to NFL’s Stat Lab Suggs is 3.5 sacks behind the leader with 8 total sacks this season. Although he is not top 5 in either tackles or assisted, he ranks above average in the league in both categories which is a good stat to have to work toward the DPOY award.

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Injury Report

Some GREAT news came in today. Ravens star Tight End from last season, Dennis Pitta, was expected to be out all of the regular season with a broken hip that occurred in the pre season. The rules of IR with a designation to return say that Pitta is eligible to return this week, but don’t get too excited because he is not ready to be on the field just yet. However, ESPN’s Ed Werder tweeted “I’m hearing Ravens not expecting TE Dennis Pitta until mid to late November…He’s working out regularly but return to field not imminent”. This is great news for Flacco and his offense for the back half of this season. Josh Bynes who missed Sundays game against the Steelers says he should be able to play the next game in Cleveland. As for Brandon Stokley, no word on his return, but it seems since the Ravens have a break this week, we should see him on the field in Cleveland.

AFC North Picture/NFL Power Rankings

NFL has made the only undefeated team left in the league the number 1 team, the Kansas City Chiefs, who saw this coming during the pre season? The Bengals were able to pull out another big win in Detroit this week to stay in first place in the AFC North and ranked 7 by NFL with a 5-2 record. With the Ravens being under .500 for the first time in over 5 years they have dropped to 3-4 and ranked 17 by NFL.

Tough to figure this group out. Ravens fans deposit a lot of anger on Twitter, particularly toward@Harrison_NFL, particularly when we pick their team to lose. But really, how can you pick Baltimore to do anything, win or lose? One could argue the Ravens are the most inconsistent team in football. Even last season’s incredible playoff run came after a stretch in which they’d lost four of five. Baltimore is 8-8 over the past 16 regular-season games, notching impressive wins ( in Miami two weeks ago) and brutal losses ( in Buffalo the week prior).

Good news is the Ravens are still tied with the brown in the AFC North. The first two games back from the Ravens bye they play the Browns and the Bengals. A win against both divisional teams would be a huge jump back into the playoff race for the birds. As for the Browns power ranking, they dropped a spot down to 20. With the Steelers second win of the season they climbed a spot from last week to number 28, but are still in last place in the AFC North.

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The Battle of the Rich

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Baltimore Ravens (17) vs. Green Bay Packers (19) 10/13/2013 (Highlights)

This weeks QB matchup was the two wealthiest quarterbacks of all time, due to their new contracts this off season. During the first half, you wouldn’t of thought either of them was a $120 million quarterback though. It looked as though halftime was going to come with a 3-0 lead by the Packers. Green Bay had just missed a field goal to go up another 3 points, and the Ravens took the ball over with about 28 seconds left. Kneel or bomb it was the question. The coaching staff decided to take the risk to try to get at least half way down the field and give our trustworthy kicker a shot to tie the game before half. The first play ended in a dump out of bounds. The second play, Packers Defensive End beat newly signed Left Tackle Eugene Monroe to force a fumble from Flacco. The Packers recovered and stopped the clock with 2 seconds to spare to get those 3 points back. A lot of fans are upset about the play calling. Yes, it was a dumb play, Monroe should’ve blocked better, and Joe should’ve had better pocket presence. However, I like the aggressiveness. The same amount of people would’ve boo’ed the Ravens going into halftime if they would’ve knelt it with 28 seconds left.

The 4 straight running plays called inside the 5-yard line though, I cannot wrap my head around. Again, you have a $120 million quarterback, and you don’t give him at least one shot to throw it into the end zone? Maybe try a play action dump off to the TE, maybe a HB or FB dive instead of off guard and off tackle plays? The fact that they called 4 straight running plays that looked almost the same to the Packers defense, they were not tricked or caught off guard at all. The fact of the matter is, even with the new Left Tackle, the running game still cannot get off the ground. Ray Rice could only get 34 yards on 14 touches. After Sunday, the Ravens are now tied with the Jaguars (embarrassing to be tied with a team like this) for lowest average yards per carry at 2.7 yds. Coach Harbaugh likes the feeling of being frustrated about the running game though. He said “Frustration can be a great motivator” and that things could be changing. What exactly this means, no one knows for sure yet.

Defense obviously did a good job keeping Aaron Rodgers from scoring any touchdowns in the first half. Still the big thing that scares me is the blown help from the Saftey’s that we have been seeing on big plays such as the the Jordy Nelson TD. Unfortunately Terrell Suggs was not able to record any sacks Sunday, but Elvis Dumervil, on the other hand, recorded two sacks, both of which he forced a fumble on (both were recovered by the Packers). Congratulations to Terrell Suggs. Even though his streak of 5 straight games with a sack ended, he was able to record 10 tackles to move into second place for most tackles as a Raven, right behind the great Ray Lewis

Player of the Game

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This weeks Player of the Game was a tough decision for me. I think the toss up is between Dallas Clark and Tandon Doss. Flacco connected with Tandon on the last offensive drive for a 25-yard catch to set up the TD to Dallas. Doss ended the day with 4 catches on 6 targets and a total of 99 yards. Dallas Clark, on the other hand, ended the day with 4 catches on 6 targets for 81-yards total, but he also had the one handed TD grab to bring the Ravens within 2 points. Dallas has finally decided to show up to a game this season and hopefully can keep this kind of production up throughout the rest of the year. Because of his touchdown, and the way it was caught, I give this weeks Player of the Game award to TE Dallas Clark.

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Injury Report

FINALLY, Jacoby Jones is back and boy are we glad. From the very start, Jacoby had a great kickoff return to give the Ravens offense decent field advantage. He later recorded the Ravens first touchdown of the game in the back corner of the endzone. No other serious injuries are listed at the moment after the game this past Sunday. The players who we did not see Sunday are probable to play, as of now, for the 4:25 game in Pittsburgh this week however. If we can keep everyone healthy, I think you’ll start to see this team come back into the playoff team that they are.

AFC North Picture/NFL Power Rankings

With the Ravens and Brown losing and the Bengals winning, Cincinnati has sole position of first place in the AFC North, for now. The Bengals are still holding the number 8 spot in the leagues power rankings, while the Ravens have dropped three spots to number 15.

“The play-calling leaves something to be desired in Baltimore, where Ray Rice and Bernard Pierceare mired in a full-blown committee that has neither producing. The Ravens were a pitiful 2 for 14 on third down Sunday. This team clearly misses Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta.”

The Browns fell a spot to number 19 while the Steelers, with their first win of the season, climbed a spot to number 29. All Ravens fans should know who we have to play this week. IT’S RIVALRY WEEK. Hopefully the birds can go to Pittsburgh and give them another loss to knock Steelers fans hopes down even more. My prediction for this division is still that the Bengals will win it, and the Ravens will be able to clinch a wild card. However with the Dolphins playing well, and the Broncos and Chiefs tied for first and undefeated in their division, The Ravens are going to have to finish very strong in order to grab a wild card or the division.

Breast Cancer Awareness

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Yet Another Heart Attack

Posted on Updated on

 

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Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins 10/6/2013 (Highlights)

Not much changed this week, oh except for the Ravens actually deciding to give the ball to their franchise running back Ray Rice. Although the running game couldn’t get back to full speed, it was still nice to see Rice get 27 touches and Pierce with 11 for a total of 120 yards. Flacco even had 2 rushes for 13 yards, mind blowing! Once again, former Terp Torrey Smith showed why he is Flacco’s go to guy with 6 receptions for 121 yards. Torrey is currently 3rd in the league with reception yards at 556 yards on the season so far. However, the offensive line apparently didn’t learn anything in practice last week. You have to give the interior line some credit though, we had a center playing guard because of injury. Mckinney proved to the organization that the trade for Monroe was well worth it, and it’s only a matter of time until we seem him starting.

Again the Ravens front 7 did an amazing job with pass rushing and run stopping. The defense held the Dolphins to only 21 yards the entire game. They also recorded 6 total sacks, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to come against the team who has aloud the most sacks this season though. The only thing that continues to worry me on the defense is the secondary. Quarterbacks consistently seem to be picking on Jimmy Smith on man to man coverage, which is brilliant of them. He seems to either draw a penalty, or just miss the play. Ill give it to him though, he hasn’t gotten completely burnt and is right there to make a tackle which is better than giving up. I think it’s because the fans have been spoiled with a hall of fame safety the last 11 years, but the Safety’s, so far, have been putting up subpar performances in my opinion. It seems that Elam is almost hesitant to make a big hit when coming up strong to a receiver. Maybe it’s because of not wanting to draw a penalty as we saw Benard Pollard did plenty of times last season. Elam also seem to be slacking on over the top coverage help on some of the big plays the Ravens have given up this season. I do like the guy in what I saw from his draft highlight reel, and hope that he is still getting used to the big leagues. I expect him to start shining around week 10.


Sea of Purple

I watched the game at my house in College Park, but apparently the fan presence in Miami was unbelievable. Check out this video of some of the noise put out by the traveling Ravens fans. Coach Harbaugh was even cool enough to tell some of the players to make sure they walked around the stadium after the game to give the fans hand shakes and say thank you for coming. Another note, Ravens fans were voted the #1 most superstitious fans in the NFL. Last season we were voted the #1 best fans in the league as well.

Player of the Game

Who has the 4th most sacks in the NFL and had three of them alone against the Dolphins? THIS GUY, T-SIZZLE:Image

Suggs has seemed to proven, thus far, that his declining performance last season was due mostly to his injuries and trying to get back into things. He cam back to camp this season healthy and ready to repeat his 2011 DPOY performance. Listening to the Rob and Vinny show on 1057 the fan a few weeks ago, I heard a caller make a bold prediction that suggs would have at least 20 sacks this season. Amazingly enough, so far he is on track to do so. Having Suggs, Dumervil, and Upshaw coming off of the edges while you have the big guys like Ngata, Jones, Canty, or Spears coming through the middle is a HUGE step up from the championship defense only 8 months ago.

Check out the NFL Shop to get your Player of the Game gear.

Injuries

Both Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody, nose tackles,  have sat out of practice this week. There is no word whether they will miss this weeks game against the Packers. Marcus Spears, Kelechi Osemele, Brandon Stokley, Marlon Brown, and Jacoby Jones are all back at practice this week after missing Sunday’s game. All three of these players are key to making the game plan flow better for the Ravens. A little bit of helpful injury comes on the Green Bay side with it being announced that both Clay Matthews and Brad Jones are already ruled out for this Sundays game. This will give that mediocre offensive line a little bit of a break.

AFC North Picture

I thought for sure after the Brown came back to beat the Bills last Thursday that my prediction of them being in first place after the week was going to come true. Luckily it didn’t, we wouldn’t of heard the end of that from Browns fans. The Ravens still sit tied for first with the Browns and Bengals after they defeated the Patriots last week. The Squealers are still winless at 0-4, they were off this week with a bye trying to see how they could get a win sometime soon.

Maryland Terps

Well I was excited to blog about this game, but not after that pathetic performance. Maryland fans were excited that the football team shut out WVU two weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean anything when you get shutout even worse, while being ranked in the Top 25. There’s not much to say besides that the Terps definitely do not deserve to be in the Top 25. The rest of the season will be interesting, especially the homecoming against a strong Clemson Tiger program.