Can the Ravens bounce back from their loss Monday night? Three wins to finish the season will give them the AFC North title, and it all starts Sunday in their final regular-season home game until 2017.
I have to admit that I got pretty excited by the complete game the Ravens put together against the Dolphins. I thought that might be the launching point for Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. Well if it was, they had a crash landing in New England and now they’re left to pick up the pieces.
And they will, at least for this week.
The Eagles play a lot of man coverage and that works better for Joe Flacco who reads disguised zone coverages about as well as Stevie Wonder reads the phone book. Do they still have phone books? Anyway, you know what I mean. If the Eagles secondary employs some zone, we’ll probably get a second helping of check down city.
Another unit that will impact the game is the Eagles offensive line. It’s a sieve. Actually that’s an insult to sieves. The Eagles might want to reserve a room for Carson Wentz at The University of Maryland Medical Center.
* Breshad Perriman gets his first 100-yard game to go with 2 TD’s.
* Joe Flacco boosts Christmas sales of Flacco Flannel Jammies with a 100.0+ passer rating performance
* Ravens intercept Wentz three times
* Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil combine for 5 sacks
* The Ravens will go for it on 4th down in their own territory leading to the Eagles only TD on the day
* The cheerleaders will have to wear rain gear
* The Bengals do the Ravens no favor losing by the score of 24-20 when Andy Dalton is intercepted by Mike Mitchell deep in Steelers territory as a potential game winning drive stalls.
THE MEGAN FOX
The guy whose Dad once caught TD passes from former Ravens QB Scott “The Water Buffalo” Mitchell.
Ravens 31 Eagles 16
The offense can’t afford any more meltdowns and the Joe Flacco we must see is the one that teed off on the Miami Dolphins just weeks ago. At home, the offense finds a way to get it done, and while it may not be pretty, Joe tosses two touchdowns to Steve Smith Sr. while Kenneth Dixon scores a touchdown and has 150 total yards from scrimmage.
On defense, the team desperately needs to find a pass rush with Jimmy Smith looking as if he will be sidelined with an ankle injury. Carson Wentz is no Tom Brady but still, if Smith is sidelined, Pees has to hit with his pass rush. Terrell Suggs has a career game in what could be his last at M&T Bank Stadium recording three sacks and a forced fumble. Rookie Tavon Young gets an interception and the defense as a whole limits the Eagles to just 250 total yards.
Ravens 24 Eagles 6
As always seems to happen after a week full of “what happened to the running game?” headlines going back nearly a decade now, we’ll see some early over-compensation. Four of the first six offensive plays the Ravens run will be…runs.
Flacco will have another game like that against Miami, and will have Ravens fans everywhere asking “Where was THIS on Monday night?”
Still, without Jimmy Smith, Carson Wentz will make enough plays to keep the Eagles in it until late in the fourth. The Ravens pull away with a Steve Smith touchdown with under five minutes to play.
Ravens 27 Eagles 17
The forecast for Sunday looks like a sloppy one. A mild day with rain will make for an ugly game but regardless of the forecast this is a game the Ravens should and will win.
After starting off 3-0 the Eagles have fallen apart and Carson Wentz has looked the part of a rookie quarterback. The key for the Ravens defense is pressuring Wentz. When under duress he has a quarterback rating of 45.6. When he’s had time in the pocket that almost doubles to 88.3. The pass rush disappeared in Foxboro, the Ravens need to find it again this week.
The offense will play with more urgency but they are what they are at this point and will continue to struggle. They’ll do enough, though, to get the Ravens the win. Bold prediction of the week is the offense will actually commit to the run. Dixon leads the backfield with 20 carries and over 100 yards.
Obviously, the Ravens are now in must-win territory. Two of three may get them the final wildcard spot, as Denver and Miami look pretty vulnerable right now and both very possibly could end up at 9-7 – but, there are too many variables involved to count on that.
So, the Ravens’ quest for the division title (and a home playoff game!) starts with the Eagles. Now losers of four straight and 2-6 since their 3-0 start, the Eagles are a perfect team to get a roll started. At home, the Ravens have no excuses to not take out the Eagles and create some new momentum to head into Pittsburgh next week for their Christmas Day showdown.
I would expect a typical Ravens game, an early lead, a lull throughout the middle of the game and then they will finally start putting the Eagles away in the late 3rd quarter.
The Ravens, aided by 3 Eagles turnovers, win 30-13.
This is one of those games where I initially think we’re going to see an offensive explosion, similar to Miami. The cards are in place. The offensive line is giving Joe protection, the Eagles secondary isn’t all that strong, but I expect the Ravens to fail to capitalize.
The issues with the offense will persist. However, with the playoffs essentially on the line I think the good guys sneak out a win. The Eagles have one of the worst WR groups in the NFL and we know what our front 7 does against the running game.
I think Pees sends the blitz early and often and forces Wentz to make mistakes. I predict 2 INTs and 4 sacks.
Ravens win 16-13 with a Tucker 40+ yarder winning it after a long final-minute drive.
Nasty weather and a tension-filled loss should make for a simplistic gameplan for the Ravens: pound the rock and rush the passer.
If the Ravens don’t play the way they did against the Dolphins, you can sink this season. A loss to the Eagles ends it. And as Ryan put it, that may be better for the team in the long run.
But there is no reason they should lose to the Eagles. Flacco better make better decisions and throws than he has. The play calling better be more even than it has. We have seen the success that this team can have when they dominate running the ball, which helps them throw it more effectively.
I am not worried about the defense at all, and with Devin Hester gone, the return game should get better.
If Ravens work the run game, they win 28-14.
If the Ravens throw it for double the amount they run it, Ravens win 17-14.