Ravens Will Get The Last Laugh

Flacco Last Laugh

Disrespect.

It is a word used regularly as a means to an end – to amp up the level of motivation for a player, a team, or both.

It has become a rallying cry of sorts around the NFL, employed by those who feel they aren’t properly admired or held in high enough esteem.

Such feelings crystalize and they develop into a collective chip on the shoulder propelling determination, perseverance and endurance.

Disrespect a team regularly and they develop an us-against-the-world mentality. And that can become a galvanizing force for the disrespected.

For the Baltimore Ravens the regularity of the disrespect morphed that chip on the shoulder into a suit of armor – and they wear it well.

Instead of being exulted as the World Champions, a team like many others before that caught lightening in a bottle at the right time and rode it like a tsunami to the title, the Ravens have been criticized for not holding together their Super Bowl winning team.

Many so-called experts pick the Cincinnati Bengals to win the AFC North. Others peg the Ravens as an 8 or 9 win team. Roger Goodell and his merry band of owners who harbor greed and larceny in their hearts have robbed a team and their fans of hosting the season opener.

Could you imagine the NFL forcing the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys or even the Denver Broncos on the road to start the season? Messrs. Kraft, Mara, Jones or Bowlen would have whipped out their inner Tony Soprano and forced an intervention upon The Commish.

Yet here we are, opening night is but two sleeps away and the champs are on the road against one of the media darlings – Buick’s own Peyton Manning.

And once more the disrespect pours in to the tune of 8-½ point underdogs.

“Here We Are”, the Ravens 2013 slogan may as well be, “Here We Go Again.”

As we all know the Ravens are a battle-tested, resilient team capable of overcoming the odds on the road. In case you’ve forgotten (and apparently many have) John Harbaugh & Co. did exactly that in 2012 on their way to the Super Bowl XLVII title.

This season the Ravens will have a rather unfamiliar look to the Denver Broncos, who will be the first to test the younger and faster retooled champions. And that’s exactly where they will present problems for Peyton Manning.

Manning, 37 is a student of the game and his preparedness is more essential now in the November of his career than ever before. He’s made a career out of exploiting opponents’ weaknesses but with little to no game film to go on, Manning will be forced to discover those weaknesses on the fly.

Last season in the Divisional Playoff Game behind an offensive line at full strength, Manning was sacked by the Ravens 3 times and hurried 5 other times contributing to 2 interceptions.

This season Manning’s offensive front isn’t as strong and they will have to ward off the likes of a healthy Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata along with newcomers Elvis Dumervil and Chris Canty. The Ravens linebackers are faster and more capable in coverage than predecessors Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe.

Defensively the Broncos will need to get after Joe Flacco but do they have the horses to do so now that two players responsible for nearly 60% of last year’s sacks will not suit up in orange and blue (Von Miller, Dumervil)? And let’s not forget that Champ Bailey struggled mightily to stay with Torrey Smith when his foot was healthy. He’s been hobbled by it most of the preseason and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will likely look to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to check Smith.

Yet such a move could expose the Broncos elsewhere because the element of surprise isn’t just on defense for the Ravens. Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette are unknowns as far as Denver is concerned but if they go by the film available from the preseason, they will have to account for the rookies. Together with Jacoby Jones’ speed, responsible for ongoing nightmares throughout the Mile High city since last January, opportunities will open up in the running game with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, arguably the league’s best one-two punch.

PREDICTION: The disrespect feeds the beast in the Ravens. They are better and faster than the team that won it all last season and on Thursday night the rest of the world will see that contrary to what the national talking heads will tell you, there is life beyond Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

RAVENS 27 BRONCOS 24

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

15 Raves on “Ravens Will Get The Last Laugh

  1. Mac in Va on said:

    I can’t speak for all Ravens fans but I suspect most of us feed off that disrespect also. I get a lot of “predictions” from Redskin fans (huh?) that the Bengals will win the division and that Denver will win the opener because the team was gutted. This team is younger, faster and better than last year and this season will prove it. It won’t be perfect…it won’t be pretty…but it’ll be us and we’ll be winners. Go Ravens!

  2. u2canbfmj on said:

    Meh, the if the ravens win, Skip will say the Broncos gave it away.. If they go down..Skip will say told you so. What I find amazing..is Skip’s boy is now out of football but yet he can’t even carry a little water for the Super Bowl MVP..

  3. JerryB on said:

    From your lips to God’s ears, Tony! Hard to handicap this game – Denver was 7-1 at home last year and rarely loses their home opener. But……the Ravens are better on “D”, as you point out, and Denver’s “D” is suspect without Dumervil and Miller, who accounted for 1/2 of their sacks last year! The same could be said for their running game. So, the “key” will be getting pressure on Manning. The Ravens rarely get respect, but seem to thrive on that fact……..

  4. RavenRich on said:

    I agree with the big picture overview of how this game plays out, with one exception. The Broncos defense is being given too much credit. Their lack of pressure on Flacco combined with a REALLY suspect secondary, with or without Bailey means the Ravens should put up 41 pts. I originally thought 41-24, but now that A. Jones is not playing and the toe may keep Brandon out of the game, the tackle position could be a problem for the Ravens. I will give Miss Manning an extra TD because of those injuries and say Baltimore 41 – Denver 31.

  5. Rumor Ray on said:

    The Ravens just need to focus on one thing … WIN !!!! Sure this is only one game of 16 season long games on the road to the playoffs, however this one is a statement game. Going on the Road to MILE HIGH to open the NFL Season as Super Bowl Champions is not easy. The Team needs to dig into their souls and pull off the “upset” again so we can have Mile High Miracle Part 2! GO RAVENS

  6. Thomas Onorato on said:

    I think the offense will shine. They dont have the “dogs” needed to stop our running game and i think the X-factor is Marlon Brown. I say he catches 6 passes for 89 yrds and 2 td’s

  7. Jimmy Dundalk on said:

    Ravens by the point spread the other way, Ravens win by 8,,,,,,,,,,the bookies have to learn also,,,,,,,,,,,,I don’t believe they know how fast we really are on offense and defense , the speed will surprise Manning on the defensive side of the ball,,,,,,,,Marlon Brown with Jones and Smith pose a real problem for their defense,,,,,,,,,,,,can’t wait………..getting the shrimp and beer tomorrow,,,,,,,,,,,

  8. Brett Baummer on said:

    1 goal….2 seasons…3 superbowls….we will repeat and be 3-0 I believe in Ozzie. Love us being underdogs it fuels the Raven in them and come Thursday night we pick up where we left off. Kicking ass….taking names and proving all doubters wrong. GO RAVENS!!!!

  9. darren on said:

    key to this game will come down to ravens O-line….if they can protect flacco and get some early rushing yards, look out!! ravens have burners on the outside that will stretch the field and open it up for stokely and ray rice underneath…..however our defensive secondary is very fast but hasnt had a chance to gel yet…..if we cant get pressure on peyton early, we could also run into big problems….im still taking the ravens and the moneyline……ravens 38 broncos 24

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