Knowing How To Win, Ray, Ed, Clark, Houston and Two Weeks of Ravens Reflections

Featured, Sports and Bets — September 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm by

After an ugly home win and a road shellacking, we still find ourselves tied for first in the division. The people who say “a win is a win,” are absolutely right. Our win Sunday counts just as much as Green Bay’s win or Denver’s win. Does it look better to the public when you win pretty, of course, but what does that really gain you? Do you give a shit if the guys on TV pick us to win Sunday? I sure don’t because the underdog role is one the Ravens flourish in.

There is a case to be made that this Sundays game is the biggest regular season game of the year. Yes it’s only week three, but the statistical difference between making the playoffs by starting 2-1 versus starting 1-2 is staggering . Make no mistake, this game is enormous. First you have Ray Lewis coming back to be inducted into the Ring of Honor, which is a huge deal because Ray Lewis was the Ravens for so many years. Second, this game features the return of future Hall of Famer Ed Reed to Baltimore as the enemy. Who knows if he’ll actually play, he hasn’t yet this season, but I would bet if his heart is beating Sunday he will find some way onto the field.

Now the enemy

Not only are there going to be emotional factors weighing in on Sunday, but how about the sheer reality of the situation. We cannot afford to lose this game, period. Not to look too far down the road, but Houston will be a playoff team. And the ramifications of a loss would almost guarantee that we would have to travel to Houston sometime during the playoffs. Not to mention that a loss would put us behind the eight ball in our own division. We have a chance to make a monumental move Sunday in the standings. Both Baltimore and Cincinnati have extremely tough home matchups this week as the Bengals have Green Bay coming to town. If we lose and Cincy wins we drop behind them in the division, and a game in conference standings. But if we win and they lose, not only do we take sole possession of first place, but we improve our ever so important conference record. And the conference record is what will make or break you come playoff time.

When you’re an NFL team and you look at your schedule at the beginning of the year here is what you  hope for. Go 8-0 at home, 4-4 on the road and your’re a playoff team and most likely a division winner. You expect to maybe drop one road division game, and one or two other tough road games. We already have dropped our toughest road game of the year to Denver, but now the rest of the road games look very winnable. Trips to Chicago, Detroit, and Miami look to be challenging, along of course with all of our own division road games. No matter how bad our division might be this year,(fucking Steelers couldn’t even manage a garbage time back door cover last night!) those games will always be dog fights. If we can manage to steal a of couple tough road games, it will give us some leeway in case we drop a game at home.

It’s tough on the road babes

Of course I’m thinking optimistically that the Ravens will get their shit together. So far this year our run defense has been stout, and our pass rush has been above average. But every other facet of the game has been suspect. Our secondary has been beaten up so far, luckily Cleveland really couldn’t take advantage of it the way Peyton Manning did. Yesterday would have been a much different ball game if Weeden hits that wide open back on the wheel route. We can’t know for sure but it looked like Josh Bynes blew that coverage as the back was fifteen yards past him downfield. I don’t know if it’s just me but Corey Graham does not look like the same player he was last year. He seems to be having trouble in man coverage staying with slot receivers. Of course Wes Welker can make a lot of corners look bad, so maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt.

Offensively we have yet to really get the running game going. Yes Bernard Pierce made some headway in the second half Sunday, but we’re still only averaging three yards a carry. Our protection needs to step up too as Joe was sacked twice and hurried all day. We need to get the running game going, which creates the ability for play action, which helps the o-line protect longer, which allows Joe to do what he does best and get the ball deep down the field. Without a successful running game, pass rushers can tee off on Joe the way they did Sunday.

It’s been tough going for the run game.

Marlon Brown has been a welcomed surprise so far. With two TD’s in as many games he is here to stay. Jacoby Jones can go back to being a third wide-out and return specialist when he comes back because Brown is not giving that number two job up. He is physical off the line and has a knack for getting open. He will only get better.

I’m sorry, but to me Dallas Clark looks like he doesn’t belong in the NFL anymore. He looks slow and overmatched every time he’s involved in a play. But I’m done with my Furstenberg rants.

With all this being said I still love our chances Sunday to beat Houston. They have looked bad in both if their games this year, and should be 0-2 rather than 2-0. But what they do have is that knack for knowing how to pull out close games. What we’re seeing in the NFL this year is a lot of close games.  In 32 games so far, 22 have been decided by 7 points or less, which means everyone is relatively close in talent. It’s the teams who know how to finish that are pulling out these close games. Last year Houston and New England were blowing teams out, but this year they have won by a combined 14 points in four games. Good teams just find that way to win, and that is something that hopefully this Ravens team will possess. They showed it last Sunday by winning a game that they didn’t play well in, and hopefully they can learn from and build on that. Now it’s time to defend our home field against a worthy adversary. Let’s see what this Ravens team is really made of.

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