Last week, the Ravens improved to 4-1 with a 31-17 win over the Denver Broncos. Ray Rice finally broke out of his shell this week, rushing for 133 yards and two touchdowns. After missing an opportunity to score on their first drive, the Ravens struck first when Flacco pounded it in from a yard out to make it 7-0. Then they made it 14-0 with another one-yard run, this time from Rice. Billy Cundiff hit a 37-yard field goal next, but Kyle Orton hooked up with Brandon Lloyd for a 42-yard touchdown to make it 17-7 at the half. For most of the first half, Flacco and the Ravens offense were able to move the ball down the field at will, but towards the end, the Broncos defense improved. After another scoreless third quarter, Rice got into the end zone again, and again from just one yard out. After a Matt Prater field goal, Willis McGahee attempted to seal the game with a 30-yard touchdown run. Orton found Lloyd again, this time from 44 yards, but to no avail, as the Ravens ran down the clock to get the win.
Player of the Game: Ravens RB Ray Rice-133 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
Next Sunday, the Ravens will travel to Foxborough to face the 4-1 New England Patriots. The Ravens beat the Pats last year in the playoffs, 33-17. This will be the Patriots first game without Randy Moss, who was traded to the Vikings last week. To make up for his loss, they signed Deion Branch this week. Expect Branch to be in the game-plan a lot this week. But I believe the Patriots key factor on offense will be rookie TE Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez will be the Pats' main target on third down all day. The Patriots defense has weakened these past few years, so I think if Cam Cameron calls the right plays, the Ravens can move the ball easily down the field on Sunday. In another tight matchup between these two teams, I have the Ravens pulling out a 24-20 win.
Key Matchups for Ravens at Patriots
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs vs. Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez Edge: Suggs
Ravens DE Cory Redding vs. Patriots LT Matt Light Edge: Light
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Patriots CB Darius Butler Edge: Boldin
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Patriots NT Vince Wilfork Edge: Wilfork
T Jared Gaither-Back-OUT
LB Tavares Gooden-Shoulder-OUT
WR Donte Stallworth-Foot-OUT
LB Paul Kruger-Knee-DBT
DT Haloti Ngata-Knee-QST
CB Josh Wilson-Thigh-QST
RB Fred Taylor-Toe-OUT
S James Sanders-Hamstring-QST
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!