Two weeks ago in Minnesota, the Ravens lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 33-31, and fell to 3-3. The Vikings started off hot, when QB Brett Favre found TE Visanthe Shiancoe for a 19-yard touchdown. Next, Favre found WR Bernard Berrian for a 4-yard touchdown to make it 14-0. In the only score of the 2nd quarter, Ravens K Steve Hauschka hit a 29-yard field goal, making the score 14-3 at the end of the first half. Then, Vikings K Ryan Longwell hit a 40-yard field goal. The Ravens then made it a one possession game on a 22-yard touchdown run by RB Ray Rice. But then the Vikings made it 20-10 on a 22-yard chip shot by Longwell. The Vikings then made it a three possession game when Favre found Shiancoe again, this time from one yard. But the Ravens then mounted a huge 4th quarter comeback. First, QB Joe Flacco found WR Mark Clayton for a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Vikings responded with a 29-yard field goal by Longwell. Then the Ravens proved that the game wasn't over, when Flacco found WR Derrick Mason for a 12-yard touchdown. Then the Ravens took the lead, when Ray Rice ran for a 33-yard touchdown. Now there was only 3 and a half minutes left in the game. But the Vikings drove down the field, and took a 33-31 lead. The Ravens marched down the field quickly, and had a chance to win the game, with Steve Hauschka attempting a 43-yard field goal. But Hauschka's kick went wide left, and the Vikings survived a collapse.
Player of the Game: Vikings RB Adrian Peterson-143 rushing yards
The Ravens then had their bye week.
This Sunday, the Ravens face off against the 6-0 Denver Broncos at home. Both teams are coming off a bye week. The Ravens losing this game could be detrimental to their season, because they are already one and a half games behind the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers in the division. A loss could be threatening to them making the playoffs. The Ravens defense must stop the Broncos strong offense. Broncos QB Kyle Orton has one of the best targets in the NFL, WR Brandon Marshall. The Ravens struggling secondary needs to be able to shut down Marshall if they want to win this game. Another one of Orton's targets is former Ravens WR Brandon Stokley. Ravens CB Dominique Foxworth faces his former team. The Ravens defense also needs to put more pressure on Orton, making him make passes quickly. The Broncos defense is tops in the AFC, lead by LB Elvis Dumervil and veteran S Brian Dawkins. The Broncos defense has given up an astounding 10 points combined this year in the second half. In a desperation game, I have the Ravens winning, 31-20.
Suggestion: I cannot stress this enough. The Ravens secondary has got to get it together. They are currently ranked 23rd in the NFL in pass defense. This week they face a very tough wide receiving core, and need to step it up if they want a win.
Key Matchups for Ravens vs. Broncos
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Broncos LB Elvis Dumervil Edge: Rice
Ravens WR Derrick Mason vs. Broncos CB Champ Bailey Edge: Bailey
Ravens DE Haloti Ngata vs. Broncos LT Ryan Clady Edge: Ngata
Ravens CB Dominique Foxworth vs. Broncos WR Brandon Marshall Edge: Marshall
T Jared Gaither-Neck-QST
QB Joe Flacco-Ankle-PRB
K Steve Hauschka-Ankle-PRB
LB Tavares Gooden-Head-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Shoulder-PRB
S Ed Reed-Illness-PRB
WR David Tyree-Hamstring-PRB
DL Ronald Fields-Hamstring-PRB
S Brian Dawkins-Hamstring-PRB
ILB/FB Spencer Larsen-Shoulder-PRB
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see you next week!