Street Talk PERCEPTION IS REALITY: Ugly Fits The Ravens

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Reality: Ed Reed is coming back to Baltimore for the 2nd time this season as an opponent.

Perception: Did you see how Indianapolis treated Peyton Manning when he returned to Lucas Oil Field this year? I wish Baltimore would have received Reed the same way when he came as a member of the Texans. But now, we have a second chance. Ravens fans did a great job of yelling “REEEEEEEEEED” throughout the game against Houston, but I would love to see the Ravens organization do more to celebrate the future Hall-of-Famer, as Indianapolis did. Let him stand on the field, while highlights of his time in Baltimore play on the big screen, so we can give him the “welcome back” that he deserves.

And then let’s go out and kick his butt.

Reality: Head Coach John Harbaugh said that he can’t think of a game that’s more important than this weekend’s game vs the Jets. He said it’s “Critically important.”

Perception: He’s absolutely right! Lose this game, and fall to 4-7 and this becomes one of the most disappointing seasons since the Ravens came to Baltimore. Win this game, and believe it or not, at 5-6 Baltimore would be tied for the 6th and final playoff spot, holding 2 big tie-breakers.

Reality: The New York Jets defense is ranked #1 vs the run, allowing just 2.9 yards per carry.

Perception: Ray Rice rushed for 131 yards on 25 carries this past Sunday. That was against the 31st ranked rushing defense in the league, and 47 of those yards were one the first running play of the game for the Ravens. But let’s stay upbeat… the run game saw some positive strides last week. If the Ravens run for 100 yards Sunday, that should mean that the Ravens win the ball game.

Reality: The Jets defense is just 23rd in the NFL against the pass.

Perception: Joe Flacco is 14th in the NFL in passing this season. Through 10 games, he has 2,469 yards, and he only threw for 162 yards last week (granted, the weather played a role in that). But if the Ravens want to find success Sunday, they will need to be able to throw the ball… and guess who will be waiting? Ed Reed. With the issues Flacco has had with interceptions, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Reed get one Sunday. But let’s hope that Joe can also take advantage of a poor passing defense from the Jets.

Reality: The Ravens have won 7 straight games against the New York Jets. The latest in October 2011 when the Ravens took down the Jets 34-17 in Baltimore. The Ravens lead the series 7-1, winning 7 straight after losing their first match in 1997 19-16 in Overtime.

Perception: These sort of stats are nice to look at, but they really mean nothing. We last played the Jets in 2011… the Ravens were a completely different team than they are now, so the last 7 games mean absolutely nothing in regards to how this game will play out. But I’d still rather be 7-1 vs the Jets than 1-7.

Reality: Opposing quarterbacks have just a 51.2 quarterback rating when throwing into Jimmy Smith’s coverage area.

Perception: I’ve been a real downer on Jimmy the last couple of seasons. I feel like he’s been a real disappointment since being drafted. But this season, he has really played well, especially the last 2 games. He has nearly been a lock-down defender in the passing game recently. With Webb on one side, and Smith playing so well on the other, the Ravens corners are some of the tops in the NFL.

Reality: The Baltimore defense has been among the league’s most disruptive throughout the season. The Ravens have forced opponents into 76 negative plays this season. Only the Buffalo Bills, with 84, have forced more.

Perception: I have really enjoyed watching this defense play the last couple of weeks. Dean Pees has been aggressive while also mixing things up, even having Dumervil and Suggs switch sides often. They have put a lot of pressure on opposing offensive lines. This will need to continue the rest of the season, if the Ravens are to be successful.

Reality: New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has thrown 16 interceptions this season, second most in the NFL. Joe Flacco has thrown 13, fifth most in the NFL and a single-season high for his career. Smith has lost four fumbles. Flacco has lost two.

Perception: Two of the NFL’s most turnover-prone quarterbacks will face off at M&T Bank Stadium this weekend. As Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun pointed out… “Combined, they have committed 35 turnovers in 20 games. This one could get ugly.”

But ugly is exactly how the Ravens like to play. They have never been a pretty team. They have never been a team to win by playing perfect football. They play mean and they play ugly. And more often than not, the Ravens come out on top of those ugly games, and I see this being no different. The Ravens will get a much needed win Sunday at home.

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Joe Polek

About Joe Polek

Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. He lived in Maine from 2001-2012, where he met his wife and had two daughters. He now resides in Columbia, SC where he has left TV/Radio and is the South Carolina Marketing Coordinator for Bojangles' Restaurants. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens and Orioles game once a year. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak). Find Joe on Twitter @JoePolek. More from Joe Polek


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