The Ravens will take the field for the final time until the 2017 preseason on Sunday in Cincinnati, where neither team has anything to play for. Our predictions for the game here:
The game will feature ridiculous stat padding and place key players unnecessarily in harm’s way.
* Steve Smith‘s swan song will include 100+ yards and a TD courtesy of an insane number of targets — 15+
* Number of camera shots of Steve Smith > 20.
* Joe Flacco throws it 45+ times for 300+ yards
* Tavon Young gets a pick 6
* Ravens escape with the No. 16 or better draft pick
* The Ravens fail to register a single sack
* Bengals run a no huddle attack that shreds the Ravens defense
* A half empty stadium watches a meaningless game.
* Drunk guy who got tickets to the game from his rich, uninterested uncle from his mother’s side of the family runs on the field and Mr. Security Dude whiffs on the attempted tackle.
THE MEGAN FOX
* A Senior Moment!
A failed Hail Mary from Joe Flacco, like the one they should have tried in Pittsburgh, is intercepted to end the game and preserves a Bengals 27-24 win.
Harbs has every intention of playing this game to win, but a couple early sacks from the Bengals’ interior DL (who manhandle Jeremy Zuttah and Vlad Ducasse) force the coach’s hand and he removes his QB from the line of fire (note: With Ricky Wagner ruled out, I’m even more convinced Flacco gets yanked early). Ryan Mallett comes in and 80% of his targets go to Senior, who gives him the death-stare in the huddle following a Breshad Perriman drop.
With Mallett in, the Ravens actually commit to the run – or try to, but again (mostly thanks to the center and right tackle) they can’t get anything going. Ryan tosses a pick six and Cincinnati takes a 17-3 lead into halftime. The second half from Baltimore is spent trying to get Smith’s stats padded and Tucker the NFL record for 50+ yard field goals. Both are accomplished – Smith has 150 yards and a touchdown, and Tucker nails two from over 50.
Bengals 27 Ravens 16
Steve Smith is held in check for most of the game, but he will have a monster final drive to put him over 100 yards for the game, capped off by a game-winning touchdown with :30 left to go.
Ravens win 22-19
This is a tough game to accurately predict but my guess is John Harbaugh’s pride will keep most starters on the field for the duration of the game. 9-7 and no playoffs is so much better than 8-8 and no playoffs right?
There is no doubt that Steve Smith will have a monster game. Let’s call it 12 catches for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Other than that, though, the offense will look a lot like the one we saw all year. There will be missed opportunities and some self inflicted damage.
On defense Elvis Dumervil resurfaces from his two month hiatus and ends up with a pair of sacks. Terrell Suggs gets two quarterback takedowns as well. They’ll do enough to make the decision of whether or not they should be on the 2017 roster a controversial one.
Justin Tucker attempts a 60+ yard field goal and nails it, cementing his status as this years team MVP.
While many fans might disagree, this game absolutely matters. It’s a chance for the Ravens to finish with a winning record, send the (potentially) retiring Steve Smith, Sr. out on a high note, and end the year with a 5-1 division record.
Furthermore, the Bengals are woefully undermanned and have even more uncertainty with regards to their franchise (RE: Marvin Lewis).
Baltimore wins, 23-17.
This game doesn’t matter to the fans, but to a lot of players, they can’t just lay down… although some are much less motivated than others. I think this comes down to two things: Coaching and Steve Smith Sr.
Which coach can lead and motivate their to finish strong? John Harbaugh can do that better than Marvin Lewis. Advantage Ravens.
This is the final game in the Hall of Fame career of Steve Smith Sr. Advantage Ravens.
The big names on the Ravens will come to play and Senior is going to go out with a bang. He is going to fly all over that field and Flacco will target him a lot. Smith will get 13 catches for 107 yards and 2 TDs. The defense will work their tails off to get the offense the ball so Smith can catch it. Suggs will come up with 2 batted passes and a fumble recovery.
Ravens win running away… 28-10.
Despite fans wanting the Ravens to roll over for a higher pick, I’m pretty sure players are just a tad more worried about future contracts in the NFL. There will be no playing dead.
Smitty hits that century mark with a TD in his final game, while the running game work load will revert back to Kenneth Dixon this week, as he hits 100 combined yards and adds a TD of his own.
The defense will hold, but nothing sexy to talk about here. Minimal pressure, no sacks, maybe a pick late, but otherwise well just say “stifling.”
A 9-7 finish for the Ravens after an abysmal season… and yet this sour taste in my mouth of the ’16 season won’t go away anytime soon.
All about getting something on tape for the offseason either for here in Baltimore or elsewhere in league. There is no quit in the Ravens and Sunday won’t be any different despite another postseason absence.
The offense will do its best impression as to what a real offense looks like in the modern day NFL and the defense will show up and finish the season strong.
Ravens 27, Bengals 17