Week Nine What To Look For
1. Coming Off Bye Week
The last time the Ravens played they got blown out by the Texans two weeks ago. Thankfully, the Ravens had a bye last week to recover from this loss. Now the Ravens will face the 2-6 Cleveland Browns in Cleveland. In the 4 previous seasons under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 4-0 after their bye weeks. Again, the Ravens have their bye week at a perfect time because of injuries. The final injury report isn’t out yet, but the Ravens already have 15 players listed on their injury report. The biggest names on the report as DT Haloti Ngata, CB Jimmy Smith, and G Marshal Yanda. The only player who didn’t participate at all in practice was DE Pernell McPhee. Thus doesn’t hold much value though as Harbaugh has said “There’s no credence on the injury report now, it doesn’t mean anything. It has no value. The injury report is without value.”
2. Ray Rice
Simply put, Rice is a Browns killer. He has averaged 134.7 rushing yards in 4 games at Cleveland. When they played earlier this year the Browns held him to 2.7 yards per rush but also gave ups 8 catches for 47 yards. The Browns will be getting back star DT Phil Taylor this week. Over the bye week, there has been lots of talk about getting Rice the ball on the road. Since this will be a physical AFC North matchup, the Ravens will need to feed Rice as much as possible. If you have a back like Rice he needs as many touches as possible. As of right now that isn’t happening, as Rice is 20th in the NFL with 106 rush attempts. Its not like Rice hasn’t been producing either. Out of backs that have over 100 rush attempts, Rice is 3rd in yards per attempt with 4.7, only Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson rank better. Expect, a heavy dose of Rice and backup Bernard Pierce this week.
3. Left Guard
According to multiple reports the Ravens will start 2nd year player Jah Reid at LG. If this is true, Reid will be the Ravens 3rd starting LG so far this season. The other two have been Ramon Harewood and Bobbie Williams. Reid hasn’t been active for a game yet this season due to a strained calf. All week Reid has been practicing at LG. The Ravens need to finally figure this position out. While LG might not be the most important position on the offensive line, it is important to have chemistry on the line. There is no way the Ravens can have chemistry on the line if the keep switching it up. Hopefully, Reid can play well and have the spot locked down for the rest of the season. If Reid does start, expect the Browns to challenge him with multiple blitzes and stunt to confuse him as he has never started an NFL game before.
4. Stopping Trent Richardson
If you look at the stats from the week 4 matchup, Richardson only rushed for 47 yards on 14 carries. However, the Ravens DE Pernell McPhee said “I think he runs the ball harder than anybody in the league. Not saying he’s the best back in the league, but I’ll say he’s the hardest back in the NFL to tackle.” Nose tackle Terrence Cody also had this to say, “He doesn’t go down with one person tackling him. We’re going to need multiple guys around the ball every time he touches the ball.” With the way the Ravens run defense has performed recently, Richardson could have a great game. You can bet that the Ravens defense has been working a lot over the bye week to fix the run defense and to stop Richardson. I don’t expect Richardson to go off against the Ravens, but don’t expect the Ravens to completely stop him either.