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Week Seven Observations

October 22, 2012 in Observations

The Baltimore Ravens suffered a crushing defeat to the Houston Texans yesterday, 43-13.  This was the most lopsided loss under head coach John Harbaugh.  They also gave up their most first half points in the Harbaugh era.  Next week the Ravens have a bye week and will then play at Cleveland on November 4th.

Joe Flacco
Flacco had the lowest QBR ever recorded (it started in 2008) with a 0.3 yesterday.  This is just pathetic.  Flacco has said he is an elite QB, but elite QBs don't have the lowest QBR ever recorded.  The next lowest on record are 0.7 and 0.8 from Mark Sanchez and 0.9 from Kyle Orton. Orton is currently a backup and Sanchez probably should be a backup, but that isn't the topic here.  Flacco just didn't look comfortable at any point in the game.  Part of the problem is the offensive line (see below) and part of it is Flacco.  Every time there was pressure he would try and dump the ball off and was paying to much attention to the pass rush.  When there was not pressure he had happy feet and was anxious and forced passes.  Happy feet has seemed to be a big problem for Flacco this year.  Statistically, Flacco went 21-of-43 with 147 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs and a passer rating of 45.4.  He also had about 6 passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.  This is absolutely unacceptable.  Under no conditions should this be happening.  One time in a game is understandable but 6 is unheard of.  Two of these tipped passes ended up as INTs and 1 of them was returned for a TD by Jonathan Joseph.  This pass was deflected by J.J. Watt who tipped two passes and I said Flacco need to look out for this.  Over the bye week, Flacco just needs to clear his head and forget about what happened.  If the Ravens want to win a Super Bowl, they need the elite Joe Flacco that throws for over 300 yards and at least 2 TDs.

Ray Rice
How does your best offensive player get 14 touches?  Rice had 5 catches for 12 yards and 9 rushes for 42 yards.  If you are getting 4.7 yards per rush against one of the best defenses in the NFL, why are you passing?  I know the Ravens were down early but they abandoned the run game before the deficit called for lots of passes.  The blame goes strictly to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.  The passes to Rice weren't designed screens either, they were dump offs because Flacco was under pressure.  You would think Cameron would figure out that the Ravens lose when Rice gets less than 20 touches.  If the commentators show it as a stat, then Cameron has to know it.

Offensive Line
I don't have enough to talk about each offensive lineman individually, so I am just putting them all together.  A general observation about the line is on the Texans safety, there was a free blitzer.  Everyone staying in to block had someone so I don't know if the blame goes to Flacco, LT Michael Oher, or someone else.  Oher also completely whiffed on a cut block on J.J. Watt which led to a pass being batted down at the line.  LG Bobbie Williams gave up back to back sacks when the ball was at the Texans 20 yard line.  This led to an impossible 3rd down attempt and a long field goal.  The drive could have end way different if Williams had blocked better.  I don't have anything to say about C Matt Birk, so he did a good job this game.  On the pick 6 that Flacco threw, I was very impressed by Marshal Yanda's hustle.  He wasn't very close to the INT but gave chase all the way and got within a few yards of Joseph.  Early in the game, it looked like RT Kelechi Osemele suffered a serious ankle/leg injury. However, he came back later in the game.  He was visibly limping but he showed he his here to stay for the Ravens.

Tandon Doss
Doss only had 1 catch for 15 yards and a TD.  However, this was his first career TD so I am just writing a little on it.  The play was a quick screen and he had a few blocks and made it untouched to the end zone.  I personally, think Doss has a bright future as Anquan Boldin's replacement and it is nice to see him out there making plays.

Jacoby Jones
For the second week in a row, Jones was returning kickoffs, and for the second week in a row, he looked great while doing it.  This week he averaged 32.7 yards per return on 6 returns and had a long of 47.  The Texans also started kicking it away from him, by kicking high and into the corners.  This is the ultimate sign of respect for a kick returner in the NFL.  Jones also had 2 catches for 17 yards.  One of these was a nice sideline catch.

Justin Tucker
One of the few bright spots for the Ravens was Tucker.  He hit from 51 and 54 yards.  By doing this, he set a Ravens record for most field goals from 50 plus yards in one season.  Even more impressive was the fact that both of these kicks were right down the middle.  Other than the game winner against the Patriots, all of his kicks have been like this.  On 4 four kickoffs, Tucker had 3 touchbacks.  The only negative was he hit the onside kick right at the Texans.  This wasn't very important though as the game was already over.

Jimmy Smith
Smith didn't play the way he needs to in order to replace Lardarius Webb.  Smith only gave up 3 completions, but that isn't the only important stat for a CB.  Early in the game, he was burned on a double move but Texans QB Matt Schaub overthrew the receiver.  Later in the game, Smith was beaten on the same play by the same receiver and gave up a 34 yard gain.  He definitely showed the that he is a physical CB, but still needs improvement.  However, he did look to be hampered a little by his groin injury which made him questionable for te game.

Cary Williams
Cary Williams gave up more completions, 6, and 1 TD, but he was also going against Texans star WR Andre Johnson for most of the game.  On the TD he almost broke up the pass but he was late reacting to the route combination and allowed the receiver to get to open.  Williams was also called for a holding penalty and had a sack.  The Ravens didn't blitz CBs as much as they have done in other games.  There are two reasons for this.  One, they usually do it out of nickel formations, which they didn't run much of yesterday.  Second, the CB that normally blitzes is Webb, and he is out for the year.

Dannell Ellerbe
Ellerbe was very active in place of the injured Ray Lewis.  He led the Ravens with 12 tackles and also had 1 pass deflection.  On the first two drives of the game he had good coverage on Texans RB Arian Foster on 3rd and short to force 4th down.  He also had good coverage on a 3rd and 7 where he gave up 6 yards.  This forced a field goal when the ball was inside the 25.  He also had good coverage on other plays but the Texans receivers made great catches.  Throughout the game, the Texans were passing to their TEs and taking advantage of the Ravens LBs and safeties in coverage.

Terrell Suggs
It didn't take long for the Texans to test Suggs as they ran at him on the first play of the game.  It also didn't take long for him to make an impact as he had a sack on his 7th play on the field.  On this play he faked out like he was dropping into coverage and then cut between the G and T. Suggs also batted down a swing pass inside the Ravens 25 yard line and was almost able to intercept the ball.  Suggs even had good pass coverage when he dropped back as forced an incompletion with good coverage.  The only bad thing he did was jump offsides, but it was declined as the Texans made a play down field.  It was obvious that Suggs was a little overweight but that will come down with extra practices.  Overall, it was an impressive return for Suggs as he played 44 snaps and had 1 sack, 4 tackles, 2 QB hits, and 1 batted ball.

Week Seven Injury Report

October 21, 2012 in Injury Reports

Ravens

Questionable
DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (Knee)
T Bryant McKinnie (Thigh)
DT Haloti Ngata (Knee)
CB Jimmy Smith (Groin)

Baltimore Ravens starting CB Jimmy Smith is questionable with a groin injury.

Probable
G Ramon Harewood (Head)

Texans

Out
DE David Hunter (Toe)

Questionable
S Quintin Demps (Thumb)
CB Johnathan Joseph (Groin)

Probable
OLB Bryan Braman (Knee)
G Antoine Caldwell (Concussion)
NT Shaun Cody (Back)
LB Bradie James (Calf)
WR Lestar Jean (Knee)
C Ben Jones (Knee)
S Shiloh Keo (Neck)
C Chris Myers (Hip)
OLB Jesse Nading (Foot)
T Derek Newton (Forearm)
G Wade Smith (Knee)
RB Ben Tate (Toe)

Week Seven What to Look For

October 20, 2012 in What to Look For

1.  Stopping J.J. Watt
So far this year, Texans DE J.J. Watt has been unstoppable.  He leads the NFL with 9.5 sacks which is an impressive for a good pass rushers but Watt has played in 6 games and plays DE in a 3-4 defense which isn't known for producing pass rushing defensive lineman.  Even more impressive is Watt is the only defensive lineman in the top 35 for pass deflections.  Watt has a total of 8 which places him tied for 8th.  In two games against the Ravens last year, Watt had 15 tackles and 2.5 sacks (all of the sacks came in the playoff game).  The Ravens probably won't be able to completely stop Watt, but they must be able to slow him down and keep him in check.  This can be achieved by constant double teams and leaving RBs into block.  Ravens QB Joe Flacco must see where Watt has lined up on each play so he can help call out the blocking scheme on him and so Flacco knows where Watt is to try and avoid throwing right over him.

2.  Run Game
This will be an important part of the game for both teams on offense.  The Texans love to run the ball and then do play action passes off of this. The Ravens have an insane winning percentage when RB Ray Rice gets over 100 total yards and over 20 touches.  He has also been the only consistent player for the Ravens offense this year.  Houston is 6th in the NFL with 134.2 rushing yards per game while the Ravens rank 14th with 112.3 yards per game.  On defense the Texans rank 7th allowing 87.7 rush yards per game and the Ravens rank 26th giving up 136.5 yards per game.  The Texans clearly have the advantage when they are on offense, especially when you consider the Ravens have given up back to back 200 yard rush games.  The Ravens have also lost their top ILB in Ray Lewis last week.  The Texans have a slight advantage on the other side of the ball also.  However, if the Ravens keep running the ball the gains that were 2 or 3 yards will become 5 or 6 yards and then Rice could break off a big run.  Whichever team wins this battle, will win the game tomorrow.

3.  Replacing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb
Last week the Baltimore Ravens lost two of their top defensive players for the season.  Lewis is the heart and soul of the defense, and even at his old age was still an impact player at LB.  He will be replaced in the starting lineup by Dannell Ellerbe.  Brendon Ayanbadejo and Albert McClellan will also provide support to Jameel McClain who is the other starter.  Ellerbe has really impressed in the last few weeks, even playing more than starting LB McClain.  Last year the Ravens played a few games without Lewis and the defense still played great.  Replacing Lardarius Webb will be much harder as he hasn't given up a TD in almost 2 years.  Webb is the Ravens top cover corner and is also the best blitzing and tackling corner on the Ravens roster.  Second year man Jimmy Smith will replace Webb in the lineup and in situations where extra CBs are needed, Corey Graham and Chykie Brown will come in.  Expect the Texans to try and attack the Ravens secondary this week.

4.  The Return of Terrell Suggs
It is finally time for the return of the defending Defensive Player of the Year.  Suggs had torn his achilles during the offseason and has been saying he will return earlier than everyone said he would.  His return couldn't have come at a better time because of the injuries to Lewis and Webb.  If I was the Ravens coach I wouldn't let Suggs return for this game.  It has been a little less than 6 months since Suggs had his surgery. The average return time of NFL players for this injury is 11 months.  In my opinion having a healthy Suggs for the playoff run is much more important than having him for one game in October and risking him re-injure it.  I would have waited because the Ravens have a bye next week allowing Suggs more practice time and another 2 weeks to get healthy.  However, I haven't been an practices and I don't know how he has been playing.  Either way, Suggs should be seeing a limited role tomorrow, mainly as a pass rushing specialist.

Week Six Observations

October 16, 2012 in Observations

The Baltimore Ravens squeaked out a win against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend by winning 31-29.  However, it would be more appropriate to say that the Cowboys lost the game more than the Ravens won it.

Injuries
This will only be a quick note as I hope to write up something bigger on the injuries later in the week.  Starting ILB Ray Lewis tore his triceps and is out for the year.  Starting CB Lardarius Webb tore his ACL and is also out for the year.  Starting DE Haloti Ngata has a minor MCL sprain and should be good to go for the Houston game this week.

Run Defense
The last two weeks for the Ravens run defense has been pathetic and there is no nicer way to put it.  If you want to apply statistics to it then you can say this is the first time in franchise history that the Ravens have given up back to back 200 yard rush games and they also gave up a franchise record 227 rush yards on Sunday.  If you want the players opinions on this then here you go.  Star DE Haloti Ngata said "It's disgusting, we need to fix it right away."  Starting S Bernard Pollard also had this to say, "We're not happy with how we played on the defensive side of the ball.  We're not.  We put ourselves in this position two weeks in a row.  For a team to come out two weeks in a row and give up 200 yards rushing, that's a pride thing right there. You got to take that personally. Our name is on that. Our name is on this defense."

The defense this week suffered from a bad case of arm tackling and not wrapping up.  For example, starting S Ed Reed tried going for a big hit on two separate occasions and both times missed.  This led to at least 10 more yards when you add the two plays together.  It wasn't just a specific player either, the whole team was doing it.  Rarely, did a Cowboys running back get taken down on first contact.

Another problem was cutbacks.  The Cowboys runners would cutback on runs and sometimes there wouldn't be anyone there.  The far side OLB is supposed to stay and keep contain on these plays.  Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't.  The OLB who I noticed keeping contain the well was Courtney Upshaw.

Overall, the run defense needs to be fixed fast as the Ravens face probably the best running team in the NFL, in the Houston Texans, next week. This job is made tougher by the loss of LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb, who was very good in run support.  Also the push on the defensive line could suffer, if that is possible, with DE Haloti Ngata possibly being hindered by a knee injury.

Ray Rice
As usual Rice had over 100 total yards with 63 rushing yards on 16 rushes with 2 TDs and 1 catch for 43 yards.  With the offensive being very inconsistent this season, Rice has been the only the player they can lean on each game.  The only negative thing about Rice from this game was on one play when he was in pass protection he got pushed to the ground by a blitzing defender and this pressure caused QB Joe Flacco to throw an incompletion.

Anquan Boldin
The first notable thing Boldin did against the Cowboys was commit a false start on the drive before the first half ended.  The false start was critical because it occurred on a 3rd and 9.  However, on the next three plays he caught passes of 20, 14, and 20 yards helping set up the Ravens score before halftime.  He also had two first down catches on the Ravens final drive in the 4th quarter which also led to a touchdown.

Dennis Pitta
Early in the game Pitta made a great diving catch on an out route.  The defender dove right in front of him but Pitta was able to keep his focus and make the play.  In total 4 catches for 33 yards and he played very well in traffic through out the whole game.  If his starting spot wasn't secure already, he got even more job security as backup Ed Dickson dropped an easy touchdown pass early in the game.

Jacoby Jones
Jones tied an NFL record with his 108 yard kickoff return for a TD in the 3rd quarter.  He had 2 other returns for 51 yards.  On offense he caught two passes for 15 yards.  These two passes were for first downs though so they were important.  Both of these passes were on the Ravens first drive of the game so he was a none factor after this drive.

Michael Oher
Coming into Sunday people were expecting Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware to have a great game as he faced a suspect Ravens line.  Last week, Oher gave up 2 sacks to the Chiefs.  This week he didn't give up any sacks despite playing against a better opponent.  Ware did record one sack but that was on a stunt play when G Bobbie Williams fell down giving Ware a free path to Flacco.  Oher did get called for 1 false start, but having 1 false start is better than giving up 1 sack so the Ravens will be happy with Oher this week as he heads for another tough matchup against the Texans.

Chykie Brown
You don't hear Brown's named called very often as he has only contributed on special teams this year.  With that, he made a nice open field tackle on a punt against the Cowboys.  Due to the injury of CB Lardarius Webb, Brown received some playing time on defense and made the most of it.  He had great coverage on Cowboys star WR Dez Bryant on a fade route in the end zone.  His coverage forced the ball to be thrown out of bounds.  He also had good coverage on WR Kevin Ogletree on a deep ball but Brown was called for pass interference.  The call was correct, but Brown didn't need to interfere with Ogletree because he already had good coverage.

Cary Williams
It was an up and down game for Williams, who now will have a bigger role in the secondary with Webb's injury.  Based on my count, Williams gave up 6 completions and 2 of them were TDs by Dez Bryant.  On the plus side though he had another INT which makes it 3 games in a row with one now.  He also was pretty good at tackling never letting his guy get away.  He would get carried a few yards but he never let go of the ball carrier.  On almost every play he had tight coverage including the 2 point conversion which Bryant dropped.

Jimmy Smith
Smith will start in place of Webb next week and he looks like he is up for the task.  He only gave up 3 completions the entire game and he played most snaps on defense.  He blew up a screen on one play for about a 5 yard loss.  He was also excellent in run defense which Webb is very good at.  Late in the game he had a great pass breakup on a 3rd and 5 on a deep ball.  If the ball was caught the Cowboys would have been inside the Ravens 5 yard line.  On the negative side, Smith was called for 3 penalties.  One was a weird encroachment call which set up a 3rd and 2 for the Cowboys.  The second was a pass interference and the last was a holding call.  Overall, Smith looks like a good, physical corner with man coverage skills and is now primed to have a breakout season.

Courtney Upshaw
Upshaw really stood out to me this week and in a good way.  As the weakside OLB on run plays to the outside he was able to chase the play down and stop it for a short gain not once, not twice, but four times.  This is very impressive and he is showing the skills to be an excellent run stuffer on the outside.  He also had 2 QB hits and a key QB pressure late in the game on the Cowboys second to last drive.  On the negative side though he lost contain on a sweep on 3rd and 2 allowing the back to run outside of him for the first down.  When you add it all up, Upshaw had a great game and deserves to keep his starting spot when Terrell Suggs comes back.

Week Six Injury Report

October 13, 2012 in Injury Reports

Ravens starting DE Haloti Ngata is probable.

Ravens

Probable
DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder)
T Jah Reid (calf)

Cowboys

Out
P Brian Moorman (right groin)

Questionable
G Ryan Cook (hamstring)
P Chris Jones (left knee)
LB Anthony Spencer (shoulder)

Probable
LB Alex Albright (neck)
WR Miles Austin (hamstring)
CB Morris Claiborne (illness)
DT Kenyon Coleman (knee)
C Phil Costa (back)
S Matt Johnson (hamstring)
DT Jay Ratliff (ankle)
DT Marcus Spears (knee) 

Week Six What To Look For

October 13, 2012 in What to Look For

1.  Pass Defense
I know I talked about this last week but it applies this week also.  Cowboys QB Tony Romo has been having an up and down season.  Week one he passed for 3 TDs and 307 yards.  Two weeks ago against the Bears (the Cowboys had a bye last week) he threw for 5 INTs and wasn't playing by the end of the game.  The Ravens pass defense was excellent last week allowing only 124 yards and forcing 2 INTs.  This should come with a note that they faced the Chiefs who only attempted 17 passes and ran it 51 times.  Half of the battle this week will be which Tony Romo comes to play.  If it is the Romo from the Bears game then the Ravens will have no trouble.  If it is the Romo from week one then the Ravens have their work cut out for them.  To help make Romo have a bad game the defensive line will actually need to show up this week.  Last week the Ravens had 0 sacks against a Chiefs line that had given up 13 sacks coming into the game and still ranks tied for 9th worst in sacks, still.  To put it simply the Ravens need OLB Terrell Suggs back as soon as possible.

2.  Ray Lewis
There was a lot of talk about Lewis this week and whether his offseason weight loss has caused him to be worse in the run game.  I think Sports Illustrated's Peter King said it best in MMQB, "[I didn't like] Ray Lewis, who really got pushed around by the Chiefs. That weight loss looks like it's hurting him a lot. He just isn't a factor against the run the way he used to be Ray Lewis, who really got pushed around by the Chiefs. That weight loss looks like it's hurting him a lot. He just isn't a factor against the run the way he used to be."  I think part of the problem is his weight loss and part is his age.  Dallas Cowboys FB Lawrence Vickers even called out Lewis this week.  The Cowboys have averaged 67.8 yards rushing this year which ranks 30th in the NFL so Vickers shouldn't really be calling people out yet.  Lewis has always played well under pressure so expect him to bounce back and silence his doubts.

3.  Offensive Line
The Ravens have made one change on the line for this week, starting veteran Bobbie Williams at LG over Ramon Harewood.  There has been no explanations for this move.  However, before the season started Williams was expected to start but he then suffered a minor ankle injury. Harewood isn't on the injury report so an injury can't be the reason.  So far this season Harewood has given up 1 sack, 12 QB pressures, and has no penalties.  The line will face a big challenge with the Cowboys as they have All-Pro OLB DeMarcus Ware and NT Jay Ratliff is expected to return injury this week.  The challenge of containing Ware will go to OTs Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele.  If the Cowboys are smart they will rotate him between the two tackles as they both struggled last week giving up 2 sacks each.

4.  Joe Flacco
Just like Ray Lewis, Flacco needs a bounce back game.  Last week he went 13-of-27 for 187 yards and 1 INT.  Flacco is used to the media bashing him so it is safe to assume they haven't gotten to him and he is focused for this weeks matchup.  Flacco has a very tough matchup this week in the Cowboys.  The Cowboys rank 1st in passing yards allowed with 170 per game but they only have 1 INT.  It will be up to the offensive line to give him sufficient time to find open receivers.  The receivers also have to get open and catch passes unlike last week.  As this game is more likely to be a shootout than a low scorer, Flacco should bounce back with over 300 passing yards.  Another thing going for Flacco is he is playing at home where his lowest passing total this season is 299 yards.

Week Five Observations

October 9, 2012 in Observations

The Baltimore Ravens snuck out of Kansas City with a 9-6 win over the Chiefs.  The last time the Ravens won a game without scoring a TD was 5 years ago yesterday with a 9-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Bad Overall Play
As I said in What To Look For this was a trap game for the Ravens and they played just like that.  The Ravens should have rolled over the Chiefs easily but they game out flat and almost played for it.  If you are an optimist then you can look at it this way: last year the Ravens lost all 4 of their games in this fashion but yesterday they won.

Turnovers
The Ravens won this game because of turnovers but they almost lost the game because of turnovers also.  The defense was very opportunistic forcing 2 interceptions and 3 fumbles.  They should have recovered the 3rd fumble but Ed Reed lost control of the ball and it went out of bounds.  The 2 interceptions resulted from tipped passes.  Intercepting tipped passes has been a staple of the Ravens defense over the last few years. The beneficiaries of the tipped passes were Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams, who gets his 2nd interception in as many games.  The two fumbles also involved some luck as the Chiefs messed up a toss on a sweep play and Matt Cassel fumbled a snap on the Ravens 1 yard line.
On offense Joe Flacco threw for a bad interception and kick returner Deonte Thompson fumbled a kickoff.  Flacco was trying to throw the ball to Anquan Boldin on a deep curl but CB Brandon Flowers jumped the route.  On the opening kickoff of the 2nd half, Thompson fumbled the ball and the Chiefs recovered.  Luckily the Chiefs didn't score off of it because of Cassel fumbling the snap on the goal line.

Run Defense
During the first half the Chiefs ran all over the Ravens defense for a total of 179 yards.  The second half was a completely different than the first as the Ravens only gave up 35 rush yards.  Coming into the game the pass defense was the concern but that looked fine.  The new concern is the run defense.  In two weeks the Ravens travel to Houston to play the Texans.  The Texans have the best run game in the league so this issue needs to be sorted out fast.  The defensive line got pushed back a lot and the linebackers were being blocked.  On a few plays Haloti Ngata got some good pressure but that was it really.  Ray Lewis had 10 tackles and most of them were 7 or 8 yards down field.  He needs to be making these tackles 3 or 4 yards down field.
On offense Joe Flacco threw for a bad interception and kick returner Deonte Thompson fumbled a kickoff.  Flacco was trying to throw the ball to Anquan Boldin on a deep curl but CB Brandon Flowers jumped the route.  On the opening kickoff of the 2nd half, Thompson fumbled the ball and the Chiefs recovered.  Luckily the Chiefs didn't score off of it because of Cassel fumbling the snap on the goal line.

Offense
To put it simply, Flacco played awful.  He wasn't helped by the offensive line as the Chiefs had 4 sacks and Flacco was constantly under pressure.  Both tackles, Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele, gave up 2 sacks and got terrorized by Chiefs OLBs Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Oher and Osemele need to get their act together fast as they face All-Pro DeMarcus Ware this week.  The receivers didn't help Flacco out either as they dropped many passes.  I don't have the exact numbers but it has to be more than 3, which is unacceptable.  The only bright spot on offense was Ray Rice, as usual.  Rice carried the ball 17 times for 102 yards.  He also had 1 catch for 16 yards on 3 targets.

Regular Season Week Five: What To Look For

October 6, 2012 in What to Look For

1.  Trap Game
Last year the Ravens made a habit of losing to teams that were not as good as them.  They lost all 4 of their regular season games last year to the Titans, Jaguars, Seahawks, and Chargers who all didn't make the playoffs.  So far the Ravens have lost to an Eagles team that can be great one week and awful the next.  After this week the Ravens play at home against a decent Cowboys team and then travel to Houston to face the undefeated Texans.  This has trap game written all over it as the Ravens could be looking ahead to the Cowboys and the Texans.  The Chiefs haven't looked good this year but the Ravens usually play down to the level of their opponent.   The Ravens just need to take it one week and a time and they will be fine.

2.  Ravens Pass Defense
This is an important game for the Ravens pass defense for a few reasons.  First off, they rank 29th in the NFL giving up 295.8 yards per game. With the players they have in the secondary, the pass defense should be much better but that is a whole different conversation.  If the Ravens can't contain the Chiefs passing game then the secondary is a real problem.  The Chiefs rank 17th in the NFL passing for 246 yards per game which isn't that bad when you consider they have a good run game.  The real problem with their passing game is Matt Cassel has thrown for 7 interceptions which is tied for 2nd worst in the NFL this year.  He is on pace to throw for 4,232 yards, 20 touchdowns, 28 interceptions, and have 16 fumbles.  He currently has 3 lost fumbles which makes him responsible for 10 of the Chiefs 15 turnovers, which leads the NFL.  The offensive line hasn't been much better allowing 13 sacks.  Chiefs fans are calling for backup QB Brady Quinn to start and the Chiefs haven't announced who will start the game yet and it is assumed if Cassel struggles again that Quinn will enter the game.  The Ravens need to blitz early and often to confuse the QB and force sacks and turnovers which the Chiefs are very susceptible to.

3. Containing RB Jamaal Charles
Charles ranks 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards with 411.  He also is tied for 2nd with a ridiculous 5.7 yards per carry.  Last time Charles played the Ravens he had 82 yards on 9 carries and 1 TD.  This was an average of 9.1 yards per carry.  He also had a rushing TD, 1 catch for 15 yards, and 1 lost fumble.  Charles should be seeing more carries this this week as backup Peyton Hillis is out with an ankle injury.  Due to the speed of Charles the Ravens will need to set the edge very good to push Charles back inside to the rest of the defenders.  This job will mainly come down to OLBs Courtney Upshaw, Paul Kruger, and Albert McClellan.  So far this year they have none a good job of this.  If the Chiefs want to win they will need to get Charles the ball in many different ways so the Ravens defense should be looking for screens and short passes to Charles along with the rushes.

4. Don't Settle For Field Goals
So far the Ravens have done a good job of this with their new, revamped offense.  They rank tied for 2rd in the NFL with a red zone TD percentage of 66.67.  Only the Panthers are better with 72.73%.  Over the last few years though the Ravens have settled for lots of field goals in the red zone, especially on the road.  So far this year the Chiefs defense has allowed 14 TDs and ranks 31st in the NFL in points given up with 136.  The Ravens need to take advantage of this weakness of the Chiefs.  If the Ravens score field goals instead of touchdowns they will keep the Chiefs in the game and for the first time this year Arrowhead Stadium could get really loud an this would force the Ravens out of their hurry up offense which I expect they will start out in due to the weak Chiefs defense.

Week Five Injury Report

October 6, 2012 in Injury Reports

Ravens starting WR Torrey Smith is probable.

Ravens

Questionable
OT Jah Reid (calf)

Probable
WR Torrey Smith (ankle)

Chiefs

Out
DE Glenn Dorsey (calf)
RB Peyton Hillis (ankle)
WR Devon Wylie (hamstring)

Doubtful
CB Jalil Brown (hamstring)

Questionable
LB Derrick Johnson (groin)
S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder)
DE Ropati Pitoitua (elbow)

Probable
WR Jon Baldwin (hamstring)
CB Brandon Flowers (heel)
G Ryan Lilja (back)

Ravens Season Statistics Projections

October 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

Now that we are 4 games into the season we have a decent enough sample size to be able to project the statistics that players have now into a full game season.  This is done by taking their current statistics and multiplying it by 4.  I will do this again after the Ravens have played 8 games which is the halfway point in the season.
*Please note that any stat in italics will be a career high.*

QB Joe Flacco
Current stats:  99-of-156, 63.5 completion percentage, 1,269 yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs, 69.7 QBR, and 95.8 passer rating.
Full season:   396-of-624, 5,076 yards, 28 TDs, and 12 INTs.

RB Ray Rice
Current stats:  64 carries, 317 yards, 5.0 yard average, 3 TDs, 22 catches, and 174 yards.
Full season:  256 carries, 1,268 yards, 12 TDs, 88 catches, 696 yards.

WR Torrey Smith
Current stats:  16 catches, 332 yards, and 3 TDs.
Full season:  64 catches, 1,328 yards, and 12 TDs.

WR Anquan Boldin
Current stats:  19 catches, 249 yards, and 1 TD.
Full season:  76 catches, 996 yards, and 4 TDs.

TE Dennis Pitta
Current stats:  18 catches, 188 yards, and 2 TDs.
Full season:  72 catches, 752 yards, and 8 TDs.

CB Lardarius Webb
Current stats:  22 tackles and 5 pass deflections.
Full season:  88 tackles and 20 pass deflections.

S Ed Reed
Current stats:  18 tackles, 2 INTs, and 7 pass deflections.
Full season:  72 tackles, 8 INTs, and 28 pass deflections.

ILB Ray Lewis
Current stats:  33 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 sack.
Full season:  132 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, and 4 sacks.

OLB Courtney Upshaw
Current Stats:  17 tackles and 0.5 sacks.
Full season:  68 tackles and 2 sacks.

DE Haloti Ngata
Current Stats:  20 tackles and 2 sacks.
Full season:  80 tackles and 8 sacks.