Ravens vs Vikings Reaction

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Final Score: Baltimore 29 Minnesota 26

I had the opportunity to actually be at this game yesterday, and I have to say– I challenge you to find a better environment for football than an absolute snow day in Baltimore. It was electric. The beers were flowing, the Fireball was smuggled in, and everyone was like a giddy kid on Christmas throughout the entire game. 

Dennis Pitta being back on the field was huge. Most Ravens fans know the chemistry he and Flacco have on the field, and it couldn’t have come at a better time than the 1-yard TD catch on 4th and goal. Huge. This sparked what has been called the most insane final 2 minutes in NFL history. SIX lead changes. Jacoby taking a Kickoff back for a score. Vikings answering. Twice. 

Then, Joe cool came through to Downtown Marlon Brown for the final score of the game. This was Baltimore football. It’s never easy, but we get it done. Blue collar, bare knuckle. We’re still alive in hunt for the playoffs. 

 

PS: Adrian Peterson, yeah snowballs were being thrown. You’re playing in a football game with snow everywhere. Lighten up a little bit and build a snowman or something. 

Report: Ed Reed to be Released by the Texans. Come on home!

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(ESPNThe Houston Texans are releasing safety Ed Reed on Tuesday, a source confirmed to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Here’s the thing, I love Ed Reed. He was a stalwart of the Baltimore defense that straight intimidated offenses for years. Coaches had to gameplan around him because he’s such a ballhawk. Top 5 Safeties, all time…

But he’s 35. He’s taken and delivered so many hits on the field, his joints are held together by dental floss. The right thing to do, Ed.. is to come home. We’ll take you with open arms. Let’s give you the Marino Rivera treatment. XRays and MRI’s from every team as mementos. It’s the honorable thing to do.  I also don’t think he ever truly wanted to leave Baltimore. He gets to the Texans, Schaub is donezo. Foster is gone. Kubiak stroked out of pure disgust. Come on, Ed. We REEEEEED you.

PS: No doubt in my mind Ed becomes a secondary coach/ defensive consultant with the Ravens <2 years. Book it.

Bryant McKinnie traded to Dolphins

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The Dolphins offensive line has been struggling all year so they agreed to send a late pick for Bryant McKinnie. Not sure if this move is going to help their offensive line situation, and its obvious the Ravens are done with McKinnie, so this is a win win for the Birds. McKinnie’s off field issues have been a major problem, and I’m not going to lie, I will miss his stories in Baltimore. Fights, strippers, drunken antics,  entering camp overweight and out of shape every year, McKinnie is always good to give us a laugh.

McKinnie’s Birthday party strippers, including ‘Sweat Pea’. The chick with the McKinnie jersey is a real keeper.

Sweet Pea

NFL Week 7 Picks

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Tampa Bay at Atlanta(-6.5) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Atlanta(-6.5) should win this by at least a TD.

Cincinnati at Detroit(-2.5) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Cincinnati(+2.5) is 4-2 and getting no respect. Defense has been excellent

Buffalo at Miami(-8) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Buffalo(+8) covers in a close one

New England(-3.5) at NY Jets – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: New England(-3.5) Brady is sick of hearing all this nonsense about Geno and whoops them.

Dallas at Philadelphia(-2.5) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Eagles(-2.5) Vegas throwing a trap bet at us?

Bears at Washington(Pick) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Bears handle the shitty Redskins

St. Louis at Carolina(-7) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Rams(+7) they’ve won 2 in a row and cover in a close one in Carolina

San Diego(-8) at Jacksonville – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: San Diego(-8) I dont like this game, Jacksonville looked good last week, could be another trap.

San Francisco(-3.5) at Tennessee – Sun, Oct 20, 4:05 PM ET

Pick: San Francisco(-3.5) should cover.

Cleveland at Green Bay(-10) – Sun, Oct 20, 4:25 PM ET

Pick: Cleveland(+10) this is a tough one, I think Cleveland loses by a TD.

Houston at Kansas City(-7) – Sun, Oct 20, 4:25 PM ET

Pick: Kansas City(-7) Keep riding the train while it lasts. Andy Reid and Jamaal Charles have been magical.

Baltimore(+2) at Pittsburgh – Sun, Oct 20, 4:25 PM ET

Pick: Steelers(-2) Stay away from this bet.

Denver(-7) at Indianapolis – Sun, Oct 20, 8:30 PM ET

Pick Denver(-7)Denver Another tough one, I think Peyton will throw for like 450 and 5 TDs.

Minnesota at NY Giants(-3.5) – Mon, Oct 21, 8:30 PM ET

Pick: Minnesota(+3.5) Giants remain defeated.

Locks:

Tampa Bay at Atlanta(-6.5) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

New England(-3.5) at NY Jets – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Houston at Kansas City(-7) – Sun, Oct 20, 4:25 PM ET

Last Week: 6-8 (Yuck)

Overall: 6-8

Locks: 3-0

Ravens at Steelers Preview

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The Steelers vs Ravens rivalry has been one of the best in the NFL over the past years. While both teams are not where they want to be right now, this should be a hard hitting, down to the wire, defensive battle that all Pittsburg and Baltimore fans are used to.

The Steelers and Ravens seem to have similar problems and strengths. Both teams have good defenses who can rush the passer. The Steelers have a better secondary while the Ravens front 7 is slightly favored over the Steelers. Both teams obvious problem: the offensive line. The Steelers lost Pouncey for the year and have struggled mightily in his absence.  They are last in the league in rushing averaging only 61 yards a game. Levon Bell is back from injury, but the rushing attack for the Steelers has been pathetic. The Ravens are not much better at 27th in NFL with 72.7 yards a game. Eugene Monroe, the former Jacksonville first round pick filled in for Bryant McKinnie last week and whiffed on a block that lead to a Flacco fumble that was returned for a TD right before the end of halftime. Not a good start buddy.

Both teams have very good defenses. The Ravens shut down the run well, but can struggle vs the pass. The Steelers can be run on, but have a top 5 NFL secondary in terms of passing yards per game. The Ravens have been trying all year to establish the run, and this could be the week. Eugene Monroe is a good run blocker and if Ed Dickson can block the tough OLBs on the Steelers, there could be some holes for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. Knowing how this rivalry goes, I’m going to guess the Ravens and Steelers running games are both shut down and eventually abandoned by the middle of the 3rd quarter. This means Big Ben vs the inconsistant Ravens secondary and Flacco vs the tough and experienced Steelers secondary. The Ravens will need to pressure Big Ben and close the pocket. He is one of the shiftiest pocket passers in the NFL(science messed up on that one), and the Ravens need to utilize the 3-4 to mix up blitz packages. The Steelers will put Ike Taylor on Torrey Smith and play ball. This should be a bit worrisome for Ravens fans. The Steelers generally leave Ike Taylor on an island and let Troy Polamalu run wild, which means he will be in the middle of the field distributing crossing routes, running into the flat to get under curls, and blitzing like a mad man. 

With the Steelers at home, and the match ups being somehow favorable for the Steelers, I think this could be another L for the Ravens. If your looking to bet on the game, I’d go with the under. This will be a low scoring game, likely ending on a field goal or a missed 4th down conversion. 

Pick: 17-14 Steelers. I don’t have much confidence in either teams right now. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders stretching the field scares me. If the Ravens pass rush can get 5-6 sacks and the the offense can rush for 100 yards, I would chalk it down as a win, but I don’t see that happening. 

With playmaking WRs on the trading block, should the Ravens make a move?

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Josh Gordon and Hakeem Nicks are both apparently being shopped. I would assume it would take at least a 2nd rounder to get Gordon, and possibly a 1st rounder for Nicks, who is  on his contract year. Is now the time for the Ravens to pull the trigger and make the biggest in season move this year in the NFL?

After the Browns shipped Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 1st rounder, he has yet to produce a quality week. Is is to late for the addition of Gordon or Nicks to make an impact for the Ravens? I think if a deal is not in place by the end of this week then it would be too late. Week 8 is next week, and assuming the player were to come in and learn the playbook and work with Flacco for 2 weeks, they would be ready for week 9. It’s now or never for the Ravens.

The ideal situation for Ravens fans would be to add Josh Gordon for a 2nd rounder to start opposite Torrey Smith. Smith provides the 1 on 1 deep threat that can go up and get the ball while Torrey Smith is the speedster who can run across the middle and pick up yards after the catch, but is also a vertical threat in the slot. I can picture the Ravens running an I formation with Gordon at X and Smith in the slot to one side with Dickson at TE and Rice and Leach in the backfield. With 2 dynamic WRs, opposing defenses will need to keep a safety or 2 back to prevent the long ball. Why do you think teams like Green Bay and Indianpolis are able to rack up rushing yards? Not because of superoir running game but because of the defenses they see. With the struggling o-line, having one more defender out of the box could really help the Ravens improve the run game.

I don’t think Nicks is a move they will make. He will be looking for Mike Wallace(5 Yr. 60 Mil) numbers, which the Ravens cannot afford. Josh Gordon on the other hand makes a little over 1 million a year and is locked in until 2016. The issue with Gordon is his previous off field issues, which may be risky to give up such a high pick on a trade that could not pan out.

While I would like to see Gordon in Ravens black and purple on Sundays, all the pieces don’t seem to be coming together to make this deal happen. NFL teams are made in the preseason, not with mid season deals that tend to throw off team chemistry.

Ravens vs. Packers Reaction

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Defense was worked up and down the field all game. 140 Rush yards 315 Passing yards. Luckily the Packers had trouble finding the end zone, or this would have been a blow out. 2-14 on third down and 22 carries for 47 yards is embarrassing. These are not the worst things that happened somehow. Flacco getting sacked and fumbling from the Raven’s 34 yard line with 10 seconds left in the half that led to 3 points moments after a missed Green Bay FG was terrible.

Other than on 3rd down, Flacco looked impressive, throwing for 342, 2 TD, and 0 INT. He completed passes of 63, 59, 41, and 31, which is a good sign that the Ravens will be able to stretch the field this season.

Not controlling the line of scrimage really hurt the Ravens in this game, and have all year.  Next week should be a hard hitting AFC North showdown at Pittsburgh.

Hey, at least the division is still wide open, though. Unfortunately the Steelers have momentum after their  (FIRST) win this week, but that’s OK. Time to drop the hammer.

Ravens vs. Packers Preview

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No Clay Matthews. Packer’s defense has been weak against the pass. Is this Joe Flacco’s coming out party? Possibly. While the Packer’s have struggled against the pass, they have the 5th best rushing defense allowing only 86 yards per game. They have also played running teams San Fran and Washington, which is not a good sign for the Ravens. The key to a Ravens win will be  them establishing the run game and allowing Flacco to throw comportable intermediate passes while moving the chains and keeping Rodgers off the field.

Offensively, the Ravens need to use the absence of Clay Matthews to their advantage. Instead of chipping and doubling him, they can now focus on blocking the front 3, especially BJ Raji on passing and run plays. No Clay Matthews will force Raji and AJ Hawk to cover more ground and be much stricter on their generally looser play. The Offensive line needs to put together a good game and block the 3-4 with more confidence knowing they won’t have Matthews playing the cut back and causing havoc on runs to his side. If they can establish the run, expect the intermediate routes to open as the 4 linebackers will have to cheat towards the line of scrimmage. This could mean a big day for Ed Dickson/Dallas Clark across the middle at tight end or slot receivers Brandon Stokley/Marlon Brown. The check down to Ray Rice/Pierce will likely be monitored closely.  The Packers secondary has been challenged only by AJ Green this year, who they frequently doubled up on. Mega Tron sat out last week in their Win vs Detriot, and now is time for Torrey Smith to prove he is an elite WR. The Packer’s secondary is very good, especially corners Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, but I see them playing a lot of man to man on the outsides, which should allow Torrey Smith and his speed to get open on underneath and crossing routes. The play action should get him a few looks down the field as well.

Defensively, the front 5 will need to put pressure on Rodgers. The secondary has been improving every week, but after Peyton Manning in week 1, they have seen Weeden, Schaub, Manuel, and Tannehill, no one even close to being a top 10 QB. Even with a banged up offensive line, Rodgers will produce because of the talent on the outside.  Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley are all capable of spreading the field and racking up yards after the catch. They have also been able to rush the ball, 141 yards per game which ranks them 5th. They enter week 6 having the 4th best passing and 5th best rushing offenses in the league. With most defenses playing 7 in the box against the Packers 3WR 1 TE look, running backs James Starks, Eddy Lacy, and Jonathan Franklin have all put together solid rushing games. Starks is out, so the bruiser Eddy Lacy will see most of the snaps. The front 7 should be able to hold the run off, but I see the Ravens playing more of a 4-3 or 4-2 defense for most the game to help with the pass. The linebackers will have a hard time keeping up the the Green Bay receivers, so there will be a lot of pressure on nickel and dime corners Jimmy Smith and Chykie Brown. The safeties will need to be on top of their game, and I suspect Rodgers already has picked targets to go after. My guess is the Strong Safties Matt Ihedigbo and rookie Matt Elam.  Also the slot corners will have to deal with Randall Cobb running through the middle of the field. This is not a favorable matchup for the Ravens here.

Being at home is a huge advantage for the Ravens and the crowd noise should help slow down Rodgers and the crew. Defense is the key, and pressure from Suggs and Dumervile should make this a game. Flacco needs to put together a solid mix of run and intermediate passes to move the chains and keep Rodgers off the field.

I see this being a close one 27- 23 Packers in a nail bitter after Flacco can’t complete a 4th down pass in GB territory.