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
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!