It’s time for our weekly segment of Buy or Sell brought to you by Glen Burnie Motorsports. Each week, we pick three topics and let you know if we’re agreeing (buying) or disagreeing (selling) with the statement. Then, you vote and tell us what you think.
The Ravens will (finally) have some success on the ground
It’s seemingly now or never for the Ravens running game. In a battle of weaknesses, the Baltimore ground “attack” (30th in NFL at 73.1 ypg, tied for last at 2.8 ypc) clashes with the Chicago “brick wall” (31st in NFL at 129.4 ypg, tied for 25th at 4.5 ypc). It would be great for the running game to have at least a little confidence heading into Week 12’s clash with the top-ranked run defense of the New York Jets, in a game that could have huge playoff implications.
I’m not going to get into the whole “Is Ray Rice washed up?” debate. While I think he definitely looks slower and less elusive than he ever has, even in the open field (see his failed effort to make Terrence Newman miss in OT last week), I can also buy the argument that he’s been beaten down mentally by the struggles of this offensive line. Perhaps he just doesn’t trust what he’s seeing as he approaches what few holes there may be.
On the year, Bernard Pierce hasn’t fared much better (as we’ve all been told time and again), averaging 2.8 yards per carry to Rice’s 2.5. However, last week at least, Pierce looked like the better back, picking up 3.9 yards per carry.
Will the Ravens get it going in the muck on Soldier Field?
BUY: But only compared to what they’ve been doing all year. I don’t expect a 100-yard performance from either back, or anything approaching five yards per carry. However, I do expect that Pierce will find some holes again and average near 4.0. I’m not so sure about Rice, but even if he can get something like 3.5 per carry against this sorry Bears front, it will be a sight for sore Ravens-fan eyes.
Put me down for 120 yards rushing total for the team. While there are 11 NFL teams averaging more than that per game, it would be almost 70% better than the Ravens are used to this year, so that has to qualify as a “buy.”
The turnovers will keep coming on D
The Ravens are near the bottom of the league in interceptions with seven, but with three of those coming last week at the expense of Andy Dalton, the hope is that the tide is turning for Dean Pees’ squad. It was also nice to see the secondary getting their hands on some passes, as coming into Week 10, half of the team’s four interceptions were courtesy of LB Daryl Smith.
However, the Bears are good at protecting the football. Quarterback Josh McCown has yet to toss an interception in 70 attempts this season, nor has he fumbled. Leading rusher Matt Forte has fumbled just once all season on 201 touches.
So will the defense continue their turnover onslaught?
BUY: It was really nice to see the Ravens’ defensive line getting their hands on so many passes at the line of scrimmage last week. It was almost like having four or five J.J. (s)Watts out there. With a couple better bounces, Dalton could have easily racked up several more interceptions.
I’ll take the Ravens to break Chicago’s trend of being stingy with the pigskin. The wet and windy conditions should help as well.
The Ravens will win in Chicago for the first time
The Ravens finally put an end to their three-game skid last week against Cincinnati, but they sure didn’t make things easy. Somehow, they required overtime (and a boneheaded decision/play call by the Bungles) to win a game that they led 17-0 at halftime.
They’ve only played two games in Chicago in their history, losing both. In 1998, the Bears took care of them 24-3 at Soldier Field. In 2005, Kyle Orton led his squad to an ugly, ugly 10-6 victory over Baltimore.
This one looks like it could be a repeat of that 2005 game, at least as far as aesthetics go, with a 90% chance of rain and steady 17 MPH winds (gusting to 50+) in the forecast.
So will the Ravens pull it together for just their second road victory of 2013, and first ever at Soldier Field?
BUY: But, again, barely. After predicting a one-point Ravens victory a week ago, I feel myself leaning towards another nail-biter. The conditions on the field could hamper the deep passing attack of both teams, leading to a slobber-knocker battle of the placekickers. In that matchup, give me Justin Tucker over Robbie Gould.
Ravens 19 Bears 16
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