Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ravens Report-Divisional Playoff

Last week, the Ravens beat up on the New England Patriots, 33-14. This was the first time in Ravens history that they have beaten the Patriots. The Ravens offensive line was spectacular, opening holes for Ray Rice and Willis McGahee. The one downside to this game was the lack of production from Ravens QB Joe Flacco. Flacco completed just 4 passes for 34 yards and an interception. The Ravens scored on the first play from scrimmage, as RB Ray Rice ran 83 yards to the end zone for a touchdown. The score was 14-0 next, when Ravens FB Le'Ron McClain ran for a 1-yard touchdown. The Ravens kept piling it on in the first quarter, as Rice scored again, this time from one yard out. Ravens K Billy Cundiff made a 27-yard field goal to make the score 24-0 at the end of the first quarter. This was one of the Ravens best quarters in franchise history. The score was 24-7 at halftime after Pats QB Tom Brady found WR Julian Edelman for a 6-yard touchdown. Next, Cundiff hit a 23-yarder to make the score 27-7. Then Brady found Edelman from one yard to make it a two possession game at the end of the third quarter. The final score of the game was a 3-yard run by Ravens RB Willis McGahee (the two-point conversion failed). The Ravens defense was outstanding, forcing four turnovers and sacking Brady three times.
Player of the Game: Ravens RB Ray Rice-159 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns

Next Saturday night, the Ravens will head to Indianapolis to face the top-seeded Colts. The Colts have not won a game in almost a month. When these two teams faced each other earlier this year in Baltimore, the Colts came away with a close 17-15 win. In 2006, the Colts beat the Ravens in the same round, that game taking place in Baltimore. The Ravens will look for some revenge on Saturday night. Colts QB and NFL MVP Peyton Manning leads the Colts offense. A key matchup in this game will be Ravens S Ed Reed, who has had success against Manning and the Colts, versus Manning himself. The banged-up Colts defense is lead by LB Gary Brackett. Colts WR Pierre Garcon got happy news this week when he found out that his parents, living in Haiti, had survived the devastating earthquake. This game will be a nail-biter, and a great game to watch, but I have the Colts winning, 27-17.
Suggestion: It will all come down to the Ravens secondary. If they can shut down Peyton Manning and all his target, I think the Ravens could win this game.

Key Matchups for Ravens at Colts
Ravens S Ed Reed vs. Colts QB Peyton Manning Edge: Manning
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Colts RB Joseph Addai Edge: Lewis
Colts DE Dwight Freeney vs. Ravens RT Michael Oher Edge: Freeney
Colts LB Gary Brackett vs. Ravens RB Ray Rice Edge: Rice

Injury Report
T Jared Gaither-Ankle-PRB
LB Tavares Gooden-Knee-PRB
TE Todd Heap-Back-PRB
WR Derrick Mason-Hand-PRB
S Ed Reed-Groin/Foot-PRB

LB Gary Brackett-Quad-PRB
DE Dwight Freeney-Foot-PRB
DE Robert Mathis-Shoulder-PRB
WR Reggie Wayne-Knee-PRB

If the Ravens win on Saturday, they will play the winner of the Jets/Chargers game on Sunday.
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ravens Report-Wild Card Weekend

Last week, the Ravens defeated the Raiders, 21-13. With this win, the Ravens clinch a playoff berth. The Ravens scored first, on a 3-yard run by RB Willis McGahee. Then, in the second quarter, Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski made a 37-yard field goal. Willis McGahee would extend the Ravens lead, breaking away for a 77-yard touchdown run. To end the first half, Raiders QB Charlie Frye threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to TE Zach Miller. After the half, Frye was taken out of the game due to an eye injury. In the third quarter, Janikowski made a 39-yard field goal to make it a one point game. McGahee would score once more, from 2 yards out, to help seal a Ravens win. The Ravens made a change this week, running more with McGahee than RB Ray Rice. The Ravens stuck to McGahee during this game because he was doing well. "Don't fix something that isn't broken." In other words, if he's doing well, let him keep going. The offensive line was great, and was a big factor in McGahee's success.
Player of the Game: Ravens RB Willis McGahee-167 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns

Next week, the Ravens travel to New England to face the Patriots. Patriots QB Tom Brady has never lost a home playoff game, and the Patriots haven't lost a home playoff game since 1980. These two teams met in New England back in Week 4, with the Pats edging out a 27-21 win over the Ravens. Last week, the Patriots lost one of their best Wide Receivers, Wes Welker, to a torn ACL. He will miss the entire postseason. This could be vital to the game's outcome. One main target on Sunday could be TE Benjamin Watson. The Ravens have had some difficulty this year defending the tight end, and the Patriots could use this to their advantage. Welker's replacement will be his younger clone, WR Julian Edelman. Also, Tom Brady will be playing with three broken ribs. I expect the Ravens to double-team WR Randy Moss with CB Dominique Foxworth and S Ed Reed, and cover Edelman with CB Chris Carr. To win this game, I think the Ravens have to run the ball at the Patriots defense. The Ravens two-headed running power of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee can run over the Patriots, and with Joe Flacco's passing struggles, the Ravens can't afford more interceptions. With a win, the Ravens would face the Indianapolis Colts. In another close game, I have the Patriots winning, 23-14.
Suggestion: Turnovers can kill a team. Turnovers could kill the Ravens on Sunday. If the Ravens don't turn the ball over, they will have a much better chance of winning this game.
Key Matchups for Ravens at Patriots
Ravens S Ed Reed vs. Patriots TE Benjamin Watson Edge: Watson
Ravens CB Chris Carr vs. Patriots WR Julian Edelman Edge: Carr
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Patriots NT Vince Wilfork Edge: Wilfork
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Patriots LB Adalius Thomas Edge: Rice

Injury Report
QB Joe Flacco-Hip-PRB
LB Tavares Gooden-Groin-PRB
TE Todd Heap-Neck-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Neck-PRB
LS Matt Katula-Elbow-PRB
WR Derrick Mason-Knee-PRB
DT Haloti Ngata-Ankle-PRB
DE Trevor Pryce-Head-PRB
S Ed Reed-Groin-PRB
G Marshal Yanda-Knee-PRB
S Tom Zbikowski-Neck-PRB
OL Dan Connolly-Ankle-DBT
QB Tom Brady-Finger/Shoulder/Rib-PRB
WR Julian Edelman-Forearm-PRB
DE Jarvis Green-Knee-PRB
T Nick Kaczur-Shoulder-PRB
WR Randy Moss-Non Injury Related-PRB
CB Shaun Springs-Knee-PRB
DE Ty Warren-Ankle-PRB
TE Benjamin Watson-Knee-PRB
DL Vince Wilfork-Foot-PRB

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

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ravens Report-Week 17 2009

Last Sunday, the Ravens lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-20. Penalties and other mistakes were costly for the Ravens. The Steelers scored first, when K Jeff Reed made a 26-yard field goal. The Ravens quickly tied the game, on a 27-yard field goal by K Billy Cundiff. The score was 6-3 at the end of the first quarter after a 39-yard Reed field goal. The Steelers made it a two possession game on a 4-yard run by RB Rashard Mendenhall. But the Ravens responded again, with a 30-yard pass from QB Joe Flacco to TE Todd Heap. To end the half, the Steelers scored on a 24-yard pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Santonio Holmes. The Ravens made it a one possession game, when Flacco found Heap again, this time a 7-yard pass. Next, Billy Cundiff tied the game at 20 on a 35-yard field goal. The Ravens were rolling now, but that quickly stopped. On the Ravens next drive, they were denied a touchdown twice due to penalties. The Steelers final and winning score was on a 38-yard field goal by Jeff Reed.
Player of the Game: Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley-7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble.

Next week, the Ravens travel to Oakland to face the 5-10 Oakland Raiders. With a win, the Ravens clinch a playoff berth. Although they are not an overall good team, they have beaten many good teams including the Bengals, Steelers, Broncos, and Eagles. Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski made a 61-yard field goal last week, the 4th longest in NFL history. The Raiders will start either JaMarcus Russell or Charlie Frye at quarterback. The Raiders big offensive threats are TE Zach Miller and WR Louis Murphy. On defense, they are led by DEs Richard Seymour and Greg Ellis, and CB Nnamdi Asomugha. It's going to be a closer game than many people think, and I have the Ravens winning, 27-10.
Suggestion: The Raiders are not able to beat a good Ravens team. They are a team with some very talented players, but do not have the chemistry needed to make a winning football team. Therefore, only the Ravens can beat the Ravens. That means no dumb mistakes and/or penalties.

Key Matchups for Ravens at Raiders
Ravens Offensive Line vs. Raiders Defensive Line Edge: Raiders D-Line
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Raiders LB Kirk Morrison Edge: Rice
Ravens WR Derrick Mason vs. Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha Edge: Asomugha
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Raiders RB Darren McFadden Edge: Lewis

Injury Report
T Oniel Cousins-Knee-QST
LB Tavares Gooden-Groin-QST
WR Derrick Mason-Knee-QST
S Ed Reed-Groin-QST
LB Terrell Suggs-Thigh-QST
CB Cary Williams-Thigh-QST
T Jared Gaither-Foot-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Back/Knee-PRB
DE Trevor Pryce-Illness-PRB

QB Bruce Gradkowski-Knee-OUT
RB Justin Fargas-Knee-DBT
T Langston Walker-Ankle-DBT
S Tayvon Branch-Hip-QST
DE Greg Ellis-Knee-QST
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey-Foot-QST
CB Chris Johnson-Hamstring-QST
DT Gerard Warren-Shoulder-PRB

Ravens Playoff Picture: The Ravens need a win to clinch a playoff berth. If we win and the Jets lose to the Bengals, we take the #1 Wild Card spot. If we win and the Jets win, we have the #2 Wild Card spot. Even if we lose, there is still a possibility of us making the playoffs.
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!