PiR: Flacco’s Pick Streak Reaches 8

Street Talk PiR: Flacco’s Pick Streak Reaches 8

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REALITY: Joe Flacco continues to turn the ball over.

Perception: Eight straight games with an INT? The Ravens are 5-3 in those games, but it’s also included two wins over the Browns.

One of the reasons the fans have wanted the team to run the ball more is because Flacco can get very sloppy with the ball, especially when he has pressure on him. By running the ball more, it gives Joe a few extra seconds on play-fakes as the defense follows the running back.

Flacco played pretty well on Sunday, but to be honest, I was a little worried when I heard Head Coach John Harbaugh say, “The passing game is what made the difference for us.” Yes, the passing game worked a lot better against the Browns on Sunday, but let’s look at it a little more.

Benjamin Watson had 8 catches for 91 yards. Javorius Allen had 5 catches for 35 yards. Terrance West had 2 catches for 23 yards. Maxx Williams had 4 catches for 21 yards. Nick Boyle had 1 catch for 9 yards. Do you notice anything about that? They are all Tight Ends and Running Backs. Go back and look at the film… it’s all dinks and dunks. Now, was it effective in moving the ball? Yes, but when your receivers only have 5 catches for 38 yards, that means you are not looking downfield at all. That worries me when the Ravens line up against teams with better defenses.

REALITY: The Ravens defense has forced 10 turnovers in the first two games

Perception: The +7 turnover ratio is by far the best in the NFL, with the next closest team just +3. Back-to-back games with four interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Do you want to see how much better this year’s defense is than past years? In all of 2016, the Ravens had 18 interceptions and in all of 2015, they had just 6 INTs. This year, in two games, they have 8 already.

The defense is making all the difference. Yes, the offense is good enough to get the job done, but the defense has stopped teams in the red zone with their picks. Those are game changers, taking away points. Can they keep up this pace? I doubt it, but they are doing what needs to be done, while the offense gets more time playing together.

REALITY: Marshal Yanda is the best guard in the league and is lost for the season.

Perception: How deflating was that on Sunday? The Ravens get a good win and literally minutes after the clock expired, we find out the Yanda is gone for the year. This could be a devastating loss for the Ravens, who have run the ball so well. Yanda is also great at helping keep Flacco upright.

Think about this: The Ravens started training camp with Yanda, John Urschel, Alex Lewis, and Nico Siragusa as their guards. After Week 2 of the season, none of them will play again in 2017.

According to CBS Sports, the San Francisco 49ers lead the league with 14 players on IR. The Jacksonville Jaguars have 11 players out, and the Ravens also have 11 players on IR.

Injuries are part of the game, so I am definitely not complaining, but I just find it incredible how beat up this team continues to be. Just when you think they are getting healthy, someone else goes down. I can’t remember a year where they stayed relatively healthy.

REALITY: The Ravens travel to London to take on the Jaguars.

Perception: Baltimore iss headed to England Thursday night and Coach Harbaugh says he is trying to keep the team on the same schedule as much as possible.

The game starts at 9:30am on Sunday and you can watch it online for free. To see how, visit BaltimoreRavens.com.

Every time the Ravens play the Jags, I think back to the early days of the Ravens, when Jimmy Smith and the Jaguars played in the AFC Central. That rivalry was as good as any. Jacksonville dominated Baltimore, winning the first eight games the two teams played (1996-1999). But then the Ravens put their incredible defense together in 2000 and beat the Jaguars the next six times they played. Overall, Jacksonville leads the series 11-9, with the last four meetings being decided by less than one score each.

After shocking the league with their opening week win in Texas, Jacksonville fell back to earth with a disappointing showing at home against the Titans this past week.

By the stats, this game looks pretty even. Baltimore is 20th in the league in offensive yards, and Jacksonville is 21st. The Ravens are 13th in defensive yardage allowed, while the Jaguars are 11th. The difference will be on the ground. The Jags are giving up 136 yards per game rushing. The Ravens are rushing an average of 146 yards per game.

The Ravens will need to continue to pound the ball, but will the loss of Yanda allow them to do that? I think they find a way to run effectively, but Flacco continues his interception streak going. In the end, the Ravens defense wins the game for them again, 24-17.

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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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