Happy Game Day, Ravens fans!
Sure, the NFL Preseason may be nothing more than a tease of what will be come in early September, and at times it may be less exciting than a Bill Belichick post-game interview; but I’ll be damned if we’re not still soaking it in, as we long for Week 1 to cometh, when the games matter – both for NFL teams, as well as fantasy ones.
LAST WEEK: BALTIMORE 23, LANDOVER 3
In what was our first exposure to Ravens football in 183 days/26 weeks/13 fortnights, the birds of Baltimore bounced their beltway brethren 23-3.
While the so-called “starting offense” (consisting of a whopping FOUR starters) struggled against the Skins starting D, the overall game was dominated by Baltimore. The defense channeled their inner-Jerry Jones angst (post-Zeke suspension) and wreaked havoc behind the Skins line of scrimmage, Justin Tucker booted one through the uprights from OPACY, and QB Josh Woodrum helped (former) QB Dustin Vaughaun pack his bags as he leap-frogged him on the QB depth chart, with an eventual pink slip to follow.
Fun fact: did you know the number of victories by the Browns and 49ers combined in 2016 (3) is less than the number of teams that signed Josh Woodrum in the same season (4)?
THIS WEEK: BALTIMORE @ MIAMI, THURSDAY 8/17 @ 7pm
Tonight will be the first of two meetings for the Ravens & Dolphins in the 2017 season (or more possibly? Knock on… I guess this wood grain desk that I’m pretty sure is just particle board, which, close enough).
But more importantly, the Ravens get to feast on Smokin’ Jay Cutler this evening.
Quick history on Cutler’s arrival in Miami: Ryan Tannehill goes down on a knee (calm down, I meant ‘down on a knee’ as in injured) prompting Fins coach Adam Gase to place a call to his former QB (likely stirring him out of a midday nap), coerces him to come start for Miami, and that’s how the Smokin’ Jay Cutler era begun in Miami.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m a huuuuuge Cutler fan. Has a great cannon, isn’t afraid to take shots, and he’s highly underappreciated. He’s like Brett Favre after his 2nd retirement, mixed with a dash of Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and just a touch of Keanu Reaves in… well, anything.
For the Ravens, they look to not add bodies to the trainer’s table.
That’s about it, really.
I mean, what else matters?
The Ravens will turn to Ryan Mallet for another start behind another makeshift offensive line, although it appears newly acquired OT Austin Howard will be active and likely seeing early action to help those efforts. Mallett better pray the line holds up long enough to pad his stats and make him look at least competent.
And no, it’s not because of the potential for increase Kaep-troversy.
He obviously needs to worry about Woodrum stealing his job.
On the flip side, the Ravens defense looks to build upon a strong start to the preseason against a Miami offensive line that PFF actually graded lower than the Ravens – and that was before Baltimore added Howard! Expect a heavy dose of pressure on Smokin’ Jay in the backfield, which should lead to a few picks early, hopefully one of which will find rookie CB Marlon Humphrey’s hands.
THE REST OF THE SLATE
Odds are, you’re not watching much preseason outside of 1) the Ravens, 2) whatever ESPN shows in the highlights, or 3) that’s it. But in the event you do dig the action, here’s a few notable games this week.
Colts @ Cowboys- Saturday 8/19 @ 7pm
Former Fightin’ Irish stud LB Jaylon Smith is set for his first NFL action since… well, ever.
Bears @ Cardinals- Saturday 8/19 @ 7pm
I couldn’t care less about this game. I just want to see new Bears kicker Robert Aguayo come out and drill a pair of 50+ yard field goals as Bucs fans go nuts back in Florida. I still can’t get over that move up in the 2nd round to draft a friggin’ kicker…
Falcons @ Steelers- Sunday 8/20 @ 4pm
Can Steelers WR Martavis Bryant actually see game action? The smart money says he’ll get suspended on the way to the stadium. Then tweet about it.
Ranking teams is so over-hyped, especially in the preseason. So let’s throw an unorthodox spin on it, shall we?
TOP 5 Most Annoying Sounds At A Ravens Game
5– Ravens Fight Song. (Don’t act like you know the words other than ‘fight! fight! fight!’)
4– That obnoxious squeaking bird little puppet thing. (A rare bird, but one I’d like to see extinct.)
3– Crying babies (I still don’t get people bringing BABIES to NFL games)
2– “LAST CALL!” (I’ve seen grown men cry over these two words)
1– Anything spewing from any orifice of a Steelers fan (although it’s basically the same thing coming from both ends)