Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ravens Report-Week 16 2009

Last Sunday, the Ravens defeated the Bears, 31-7. Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw a career high four touchdowns. Flacco looked better than I've ever seen him before. Bears QB Jay Cutler threw four interceptions, and added to his league-high in picks. The Bears turned the ball over six times during the game. The Ravens scored first, when Flacco threw to TE Todd Heap for a 7-yard touchdown. The Ravens scored again, a 14-yard Flacco to Heap pass, to take a 14-0 lead into the 2nd quarter. The Bears scored their only touchdown of the game in the second quarter, when WR Earl Bennett returned a punt 49 yards to the end zone. The rest of the scoring was in the third quarter. First, Flacco found WR Demetrius Williams, who made an amazing catch for the touchdown. Flacco's final touchdown pass was 18 yards to WR Derrick Mason, who dove into the end zone to make the score 28-7. The final score of the game was a 40-yard field goal buy Ravens K Billy Cundiff.
Player of the Game: Ravens QB Joe Flacco-21/29 for 234 yards, and 4 touchdowns.

Next week, the Ravens take on their bitter rival, the 7-7 Pittsburgh Steelers, in Pittsburgh. A Ravens win eliminates the Steelers from playoff contention. The last time these two teams met, the Ravens beat the Steelers in overtime, 20-17. Last week, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for a franchise record 503 yards. The Steelers will be without star S Troy Polamalu on Sunday. Without Polamalu, the Steelers are a different and much worse team. They haven't intercepted a pass since Polamalu went down in Week 10. But Ravens S Ed Reed will most likely be out also. Reed is a vital part of the Ravens defense, but I believe that the Ravens defense has learned to succeed without him. The Ravens pass rush has not been very dominating this year, but they might get some sacks against a horrible Steelers offensive line. In another great shootout between these two teams, I have the Ravens winning 27-17.
Suggestion: To beat the Steelers, the Ravens have to play like they have these past two weeks. The Steelers are a much better team than the Lions or Bears. But they still have to play well and with heart.

Key Matchups for Ravens at Steelers
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Steelers Defense Edge: Rice
Ravens Secondary vs. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Edge: Roethlisberger

Injury Report
T Jared Gaither-Foot-DBT
S Ed Reed-Groin-DBT
LB Tavares Gooden-Groin-DBT
DT Justin Bannan-Illness-QST
WR Mark Clayton-Knee-QST
LS Matt Katula-Forearm-QST
C Matt Birk-Neck-PRB
WR Justin Harper-Foot-PRB
TE Todd Heap-Chest-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Knee-PRB
DT Haloti Ngata-Ankle-PRB
TE L.J. Smith-Ankle-PRB
WR Kelley Washington-Ankle-PRB

G Chris Kemoeatu-Wrist-OUT
S Troy Polamalu-Knee-OUT
LB James Harrison-Biceps-QST
DE Brett Keisel-Neck-PRB
RB Rashard Mendenhall-Hip-PRB
RB Willie Parker-Knee-PRB
WR Mike Wallace-Knee-PRB
WR Hines Ward-Hamstring-PRB

AFC North Standings
Team W L
Bengals 9 5
Ravens 8 6
Steelers 7 7
Browns 3 11

AFC North Outlook: The Bengals clinch the division with a win over the Chiefs or a Ravens loss. The Ravens clinch a playoff berth with a win, a Jaguars loss to the Patriots, a Broncos loss to the Eagle, a loss by the Jets to the Colts and a Texans win over the Dolphins.
Well, that's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ravens Report-Week 15 2009

Last Sunday, the Ravens demolished the Detroit Lions, 48-3. The Lions simply gave up, causing this blowout win. The Ravens set a franchise record for total yards and tied the record for most points in a game. Due to a 38-yard Billy Cundiff field goal,the Ravens took a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Then, QB Joe Flacco extended the Ravens lead when WR Derrick Mason broke a tackle and ran into the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown. The Lions scored next, with a 22-yard field goal by K Jason Hanson. Ravens RB Ray Rice made it 17-3 when he broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown. Billy Cundiff sent the Ravens into halftime with a 20-3 lead after he hit a 25-yard field goal. FB Le'Ron McClain scored next for the Ravens, on a 3-yard run. Protecting the starters, the Ravens began bringing in their backups, such as RB Willis McGahee and QB Troy Smith. McGahee scored from 8 yards to give the Ravens a bigger lead. The Ravens scored once more in the quarter, with another McGahee touchdown, this time from 19 yards. The last score of the game came in the fourth quarter, with a Troy Smith 15-yard run. This game was out of control and was an easy, yet important win.
Player of the Game: Ravens RB Ray Rice-166 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 53 receiving yards

Next week, the Ravens play their last home game of the season, as they face the 5-8 Chicago Bears. This is another must-win game for the Ravens. The Ravens new playmaker, RB Ray Rice averages 5 yards per carry and leads the team in receptions. The Ravens offense faces a tough test against the ever-effective Bears defense, who is second in the league in forced fumbles. Bears QB Jay Cutler has thrown the most interceptions in the NFL. This could be an opportunity for the struggling Ravens secondary to pick some passes off. The Ravens are the best run defense in the NFL, and will be tested this week against Bears RB Matt Forte. Forte has struggled this year when facing tough defenses. In a snowy game, I have the Ravens improving to 8-6 with a 30-13 win.

Suggestion: The Ravens need to play like they did last week more often. They need to run the ball more, like last year. Giving the ball to Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain seems to be working pretty well right now.

Key Matchups for Ravens vs. Bears
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Bears DT Tommie Harris Edge: Birk
Ravens TE Todd Heap vs. Bears LB Lance Briggs Edge: Briggs
Ravens NT Kelly Gregg vs. Bears C Olin Kreutz Edge: Kreutz
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Bears QB Jay Cutler Edge: Lewis

Injury Report
T Jared Gaither-Foot-OUT
WR Mark Clayton-Knee-DBT
S K.J. Gerard-Thigh-QST
LB Tavares Gooden-Groin-QST
LB Jarret Johnson-Knee/Back-QST
DT Haloti Ngata-Ankle-QST
S Ed Reed-Groin/Foot-QST
TE L.J. Smith-Ankle-QST
WR Kelley Washington-Ankle-QST
C Matt Birk-Neck-PRB
WR Derrick Mason-Finger-PRB
LB Terrell Suggs-Knee-PRB

WR Devin Hester-Calf-DBT
CB Zach Bowman-Illness-QST
DT Tommie Harris-Knee-QST
T Orlando Pace-Groin-QST
CB Charles Tillman-Back-QST

AFC Outlook: The Jaguars loss to the Colts on Thursday gives the Ravens the second Wild Card spot. If the playoffs started today, the Ravens would be in. The chances of the Ravens winning the division are slim, so we want a Wild Card spot. If we win our next three games, we are in the playoffs.

That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ravens Report-Week 14 2009

Last Monday Night, the Ravens lost to the Packers, 27-14. For the Ravens, this loss basically means they have to win out if they want to make the playoffs. The two teams combined for 310 penalty yards, tied for second most in NFL history. The Ravens made a lot of mistakes throughout the game, and if they could avoided some of them, they could have won this game. The Packers scored first on a 28-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. They then took a 10-0 lead on a 2-yard pass from QB Aaron Rodgers to TE Jermichael Finley. The score was 17-0 at halftime after an 8-yard pass from Rodgers to WR Donald Driver. But the Ravens started hot in the third quarter. They got on the board with a 12-yard pass from QB Joe Flacco to WR Kelley Washington. After a Packers turnover, Ravens RB Willis McGahee ran for a 1-yard touchdown to make it 17-14 at the end of the third quarter. After McGahee's run, he did the Lambeau Leap into a few Ravens fans behind the end zone. The Packers scored on their next drive, a 19-yard pass from Rodgers to Finley. With a second and goal on their next drive, Flacco was picked off on a horrible throw, to seal a Packers win. The Packers would score again, a 32-yard Mason Crosby field goal.
Player of the Game: Packers TE Jermichael Finley-7 catches, 79 yards, two touchdowns

Next week, the Ravens come home to face the 2-10 Detroit Lions. For the Ravens right now, every game is a must-win. Struggling Ravens QB Joe Flacco will look to get back on track against the last-ranked Lions pass defense. The Ravens defense is also struggling, and they will try to catch a break this week against an unorganized Lions offense. Lions QB Matthew Stafford is injured and will not be playing. He will be replaced by veteran QB Daunte Culpepper. I have the Ravens improving to 7-6 with a 31-13 win over the Lions.
Suggestion: What happened to Cam Cameron's fun play-calling? Last year, he was full of exciting surprises. Just because we are in a must-win situation, doesn't mean you can't take any risks.

Key Matchups for Ravens vs. Lions
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Lions LB Larry Foote Edge: Rice
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Lions DT Grady Jackson Edge: Birk
Ravens CB Dominique Foxworth vs. Lions WR Calvin Johnson Edge: Johnson
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Lions RB Kevin Smith Edge: Lewis

Injury Report
WR Mark Clayton-Knee-DBT
G David Hale-Head-DBT
S Ed Reed-Groin/Foot-DBT
TE L.J. Smith-Ankle-DBT
T Jared Gaither-Foot-QST
LB Jarret Johnson-Neck-QST
DT Brandon McKinney-Back-QST
LB Terrell Suggs-Knee-QST
K Billy Cundiff-Head-PRB
QB Joe Flacco-Knee/Hip-PRB

TE Casey FitzSimmons-Concussion-OUT
DT Andre Fluellen-Groin-DBT
QB Matthew Stafford-Shoulder-DBT
DT Joe Cohen-Knee-QST
T Daniel Loper-Back-QST
S Louis Delmas-Ankle-PRB
WR Eric Fowler-Knee-PRB
P Nick Haris-Knee-PRB
DT Grady Jackson-Knee-PRB
CB Will James-Neck-PRB
S Kalvin Pearson-Hamstring-PRB
LB Ernie Sims-Hamstring-PRB
DE Dewayne White-Toe-PRB

AFC North Standings
Team W L
Bengals 9 3
Ravens 6 6
Steelers 6 7
Browns 2 11

AFC North Outlook: It is most likely right now that the Bengals will win the division. The Steelers loss Thursday night basically eliminates them from the playoffs. The Ravens need to win the rest of their games to have a chance to make the playoffs.

That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ravens Report-Week 13 2009

Last Sunday night, the Ravens beat the Steelers 20-17 in overtime, to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Ravens started the game with a great opening drive, and it ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by RB Willis McGahee. In the second quarter, the Steelers tied the game up with a 33-yard touchdown pass from QB Dennis Dixon to WR Santonio Holmes. To end the half, the Ravens took the lead with a 10-yard TD pass from QB Joe Flacco to WR Derrick Mason. The only score in the third quarter was a 44-yard field goal by Steelers K Jeff Reed. Late in the fourth quarter, the Steelers took the lead on a 24-yard touchdown run by Dennis Dixon. On the Ravens next drive, K Billy Cundiff tied the game up at 17 with a 24-yard field goal. On the Ravens last drive of the fourth quarter, Billy Cundiff missed a 56-yard field goal that would have won the game, but instead he sent it into overtime. The Steelers got the ball to start the overtime period. On a third down, Dennis Dixon was picked off by rookie LB Paul Kruger, who took the ball into Steelers territory. After running a couple of plays, Cundiff came out and made the game-winning 29-yard field goal.
Player of the Game: Ravens K Billy Cundiff-2 field goals (game-tying and game-winning)

Next Monday night, the Ravens travel to the frozen tundra of Green Bay to face the 7-4 Packers on Monday Night Football. The Packers are coming off a Thanksgiving win over the Lions. In the last meeting between these two teams, the Ravens won at home on Monday Night Football, 48-3, in the largest margin of victory in MNF history. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is the most sacked quarterback in the NFL. Because of this, the Ravens defense has to put a lot of pressure on him and bring him down a lot. But Rodgers is also one of the most pass-happy QBs in the league. The Packers pass offense is one of the best in the league, with WRs Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. Those receivers are big deep threats. Green Bay also has a strong running game, with RB Ryan Grant. The Packers defense has been fierce this year, they lead the league in total defense. This will be an extremely hard game for the Ravens, and I have them pulling out a win, 27-23.
Suggestion: The Ravens defense needs to take advantage of a horrible Packers offensive line. They need to get to Rodgers and bring him down. If he passes, he will go long, and the Ravens could end up losing.

Key Matchups for Ravens at Packers
Ravens WR Derrick Mason vs. Packers CB Charles Woodson Edge: Woodson
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Packers LB A.J. Hawk Edge: Rice
Ravens CB Dominique Foxworth vs. Packers WR Donald Driver Edge: Driver
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Edge: Lewis

Injury Report
TE L.J. Smith-Ankle-DBT
LB Terrell Suggs-Knee-DBT
S K.J. Gerard-Thigh-QST
S Ed Reed-Ankle/Hip-QST
CB Cary Williams-Thigh-QST
C Matt Birk-Neck-PRB
LB Prescott Burgess-Thigh-PRB
QB Joe Flacco-Ankle-PRB
T Jared Gaither-Illness-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Shoulder-PRB
LB Ray Lewis-Foot-PRB
FB Le'Ron McClain-Chest-PRB
DT Haloti Ngata-Ankle-PRB
WR Kelley Washington-Illness-PRB
WR Demetrius Williams-Illness-PRB

LB Aaron Kampman-Knee-OUT
LB Jeremy Thompson-Neck-OUT
T T.J. Lang-Concussion-QST
G/T Allan Barbre-Ankle-PRB
LB Brandon Chillar-Hand-PRB
T Chad Clifton-Hamstring-PRB
RB Ryan Grant-Shoulder-PRB
RB Ahman Green-Groin-PRB
FB John Kuhn-Hand-PRB
QB Aaron Rodgers-Ribs-PRB
CB Charles Woodson-Shoulder-PRB

AFC North Standings
Team W L
Bengals 8 3
Ravens 6 5
Steelers 6 5
Browns 1 10

AFC North Outlook: Our chances of winning the division are slim, so now let's hope for one of two Wild Card spots. Basically, we can only lose one more game. If we lose two, it makes it twice as hard to reach the postseason. Some teams we are competing with are the Steelers, Texans, Jaguars, Broncos, and Jets. This week, we really need the Jaguars to lose to the Texans. That would help our playoff run a lot.

That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!