Who’s Ready For The Revenge of Steve Smith?

Featured, Sports and Bets — September 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm by

I sure the hell am.  This Sunday’s game is going to be entertaining to say the least.  Steve Smith has promised us blood and guts this week in his revenge game against the Carolina team that dissed him after 13 years of fine football service.

And it’s blood and guts I want…….

Ok, maybe I’m taking Steve too literally, but watching him run his jaw and get a few penalties for taunting will be worth the price of admission.  Hell, if he plays even better than he already has been playing, 15 – 30 yards of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be well worth his monster performance.

But in all football seriousness, this is a big game for Baltimore.  The Ravens are fighting a number of injuries and are lucky enough to at least get this one at home while they lick their wounds.  That home cooked feeling will be big in regards to new starter James Hurst, who takes over the left tackle spot for injured regular, Eugene Monroe.  Hurst is an undrafted rookie free agent. Let’s say that again. Hurst is an undrafted rookie free agent, who has been thrust into the role of protecting Joe Flacoo, the $100 million, Super Bowl MVP, on his blind side.  No pressure, babes.  It does helps that Hurst gets his first start at home, at least he won’t have to deal with crowd noise.  It says a lot about Hurst that the Ravens are willing to start him in this situation against this defensive line.  The Panthers, even though they got worked last week by the Steelers and even though they suspended starter Greg Hardy for woman-beating, have a talented defensive front.  Hurst has his work cut out for him, for sure.  But the Ravens aren’t moving K.O. to tackle or bringing in Gino Gradkowski to start at guard, so that means that they feel Hurst gives them their best shot at winning.  Or, the Ravens are just thin at tackle and guard and are throwing whatever they can against the wall in the hope that Hurst sticks.  They’ve played Flacco roulette with the O-Line before; let’s hope that Hurst is a nice surprise like Rick Wagner has been over on the right side, and we won’t have to accuse them of doing that again.

smith hurst

With the sickening injury Dennis Pitta, it may be the, “welcome to local celebrity week,” for Kyle Juszczyk.  Kid has skills and can make up for the loss of Pitta with his ability to line up everywhere and be open underneath for Flacco’s check down security.  His versatility also makes him a nice first option in the passing game.  Owen Daniels also now obviously gets a bigger role.  Daniels knows the system and has plenty of talent, but health is always a concern with the veteran.  If he can stay healthy, and Juszczyk can help out in the flat and underneath, the Ravens may not miss Pitta as much as they did the last time he was hurt.

On the flip side of things the Ravens need to keep an eye on rookie sensation Kelvin Benjamin.  The Panthers have been airing it up, they are tenth in passing yards in the NFL, and Benjamin has been the main beneficiary of the air attack.  Benjamin has 253 yards receiving on the year and he can stretch the field, his 15.8 yards per catch average isn’t too shabby, babes.  With running backs Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert on the shelf with injuries, the air attack should be the Panthers’ primary focus.  Throw in Baltimore’s recent struggles on the back end and a pass first mentality makes even more sense for Cam Newton and company.  The Ravens’ pass rush needs to show up on Sunday to help counter this philosophy.  Getting Cam Newton on the ground will be the key to the Ravens’ success.  With Webb still not in playing shape and with the safety issues in deep coverage, Suggs and Elvis will need to be in the building.

After watching Pittsburgh have so much success on Carolina on the ground last week, the Ravens will probably come out running the rock. Look for Beast-Lo Taliaferro to get a lot of work early.  If the Panthers can’t stop it, the Ravens won’t stop running it.  If the Ravens are successful, the play action will come into focus and the backs and tight ends will start working their routes in the passing game.  Look for a big play to Steve Smith early to get the anger and jitters out, and then look for him late;  both he and Torrey (please come off the milk carton.)  could be in for some big plays late if things go as planned.

smiths

Then again, it could just be the Steve Smith Senior Bowl, all day long.  That would be just fine with me.

Ice up son!

cover pic;  nextimpulsesports

 

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