Week 14 was pretty chaotic around the NFL, but as Ravens fans, we surely had our share of facepalms and belly laughs looking at the scoreboards.
To the highlights and lowlights!
— Remember when the Ravens got plastered by the Panthers? Yea, well that team just lost to the Browns, and are now a sub-500 team at 6-7. Which means the Ravens have now lost to two sub-500 teams on the year. Gross.
— Miami ran a miracle play with a bunch of laterals to beat the Patriots in the final seconds. Rob Gronkowski was in as a safety to make sure they didn’t score. They did. We all laughed.
— George Kittle went for 210 yards on only seven receptions, and somehow only scored once in the 49ers 20-14 win over the Broncos. That’s gotta be some sort of record to have 200+ yards, average over 30 yards per catch.. but only score once. Or maybe I’m just bitter for facing him in fantasy playoffs last week and losing by 0.15. Unreal.
— The Steelers lost to the Raiders in Oakland and… what can I really say? The Yinz are losing their marbles over a three-game losing streak, and the Ravens are now only a half game out of the AFC North lead. Can it get any worse for the Steelers? Sure it can – they still play in Pittsburgh this week versus the Pats and the following week in New Orleans against the Saints. Ravens fans are salivating…
LAST WEEK: RAVENS 24, CHIEFS 27
Well, it finally happened. Lamar Jackson lost a game.
Just kidding, “QB Wins” isn’t a real stat – it’s a team sport and no individual deserves sole credit for victories or loses.
I’m going to take the rosy route here and talk moral victories. Yes, I understand a loss is a loss, and some folks see no joy in positive takeaways in a losing effort, but I’m not that guy.
The Ravens defense went toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs offense that’s on fire, even without Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins (as evidenced by 28 points last night vs the 6th ranked Bolts defense). Giving up 27 points in overtime to an offense that averages over 36 points per game is a major accomplishment in my book. Yes, the Ravens defense blew some major plays but again, we can’t disregard the fact that they were facing the #1 ranked offense in the NFL. Hold your head high, defense!
On the flip side, the Ravens offense once again put up a solid showing with Jackson, and in the end, the rookie QB did everything he could to give his team a chance to win, including a pair of passing(!) touchdowns.
I see the L – but I also see a stout defense that proved they can line up across the best in the NFL and hold their own, and a run-heavy offense that continues to develop and shows zero sign of slowing down.
THIS WEEK: BUCS (5-8) @ RAVENS (7-6)
I’m torn this week.
One on hand, I see a Bucs team that’s 1-5 on the road, is allowing 39.3 points per game on the road, and hasn’t won outside of Tampa since Week 1 (New Orleans). They also lack a running game, and the quarterback situation can change at the drop of a dime (four QB changes this year).
On the other hand, the Bucs have been playing better of late, having won two of their last three after a 3-7 start to the year. Jameis Winston has throw two TD in each of his last four games, while throwing just two picks in the same stretch. The Bucs defense has turned it around as well, giving up 17 points or less in four of their last five games.
The Ravens have been on a 3-1 tear following the bye week, and despite a misstep in KC, many – including myself – remain optimistic about this Ravens team in the final weeks.
So everything is awesome right? Not so fast – I have a feeling this is a trap game for the Ravens who will be looking ahead to next week at the Los Angeles Chargers, and it’ll come back to bite them in the end…
The weather is slated to be a steady rain at game time, and I think that favors the Ravens and the run game. The offense will once again go run heavy with a 3:1 run:pass ratio, and will rack up – I kid you not – 300 total rushing yards and 3 rushing TD against Tampa. 3-0-0-yards. They’ll tack on another 150 through the air (gotta keep ’em honest!) and score at will.
Unfortunately, the defense will be closer to a sieve than a stout force we’ve come to know. Jameis won’t throw two touchdown passes for the 3rd straight week though- he’ll throw three.
It’s close, but the Ravens fall behind by four late in the game, and can’t recover.
Rest of the Slate
As we reach Pre-Playoff-SZN, it’s time to focus in on the games that matter most for the Ravens future potential opponents, as well as the teams breathing down their neck for that 6th seed (or AFC North title!).
Browns @ Broncos. Sat 12/15 @ 8:20pm. Saturday football! The Ravens face the Browns in Week 17 and don’t look now, but the Browns are 3-1 in their last four with a cupcake schedule leading to Week 17 (Broncos, Bengals). Imagine a 7-7-1 Browns team coming to Baltimore, and the Ravens in another ‘win and in’ scenario…
Colts @ Cowboys. Sun 12/16 @ 1pm. The Colts (7-6) are right on the Ravens’ heels, heading down to Dallas to face a stout Cowboys defense. I find it hard to root for Jerrah’s ‘Boys, but I also want that cushion of a game in the wild card race, with only a few weeks left in the season.
Pats @ Steelers. Sun 12/16 @ 4:25pm. I want a tie. That is all.
Saints @ Panthers. Mon 12/17 @ 8:30pm. I just love watching Drew Brees play. Dude is a chess master.
Christmas is right around the corner, and I’m ranking Christmas movies this week. It needs done, simply because far too many folks like the wrong movies and need corrected. Top-5/Bottom-5. I’ll even caveat and say I’m not including the classic animated movies like Rudolph, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty, etc.
Feel free to tell me I’m wrong (I’m not).
Top-5 Christmas Movies
5- The Grinch (2018). If you haven’t seen it? Go see it. Benedict Cumberbatch was a great Grinch, and Keenan Allen as Mr. Bricklebaum was hilarious, and the animation was insane.
4- The Night Before. Not as ‘classic’ by any definition but it’s Seth Rogen-style comedy combined with Christmas. Think Santa meets Pineapple Express.
3- Elf. Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) is the most quotable character in modern Christmas movies.
2- Home Alone. How can you not love this movie? Ever think about this movie in modern days? Kevin would text his mom and be like “mom where are you?” and she’d be like “my bad, Kev. Sending an Uber ;0” and she’d watch the Nest cam to make sure he got out the door okay, and it’s over. 10 minutes at most.
1- Christmas Vacation. Classic Chevy Chase, incredibly quotable comedy (“Merry Christmas! Shitter’s full!”), and anybody who has a big, crazy family can respect this movie for the perfection that it is.
Bottom-5 Christmas Movies
5- The Grinch (Jim Carey). I just don’t get the allure. The Whos looked like half human/half chipmunk people, Carey’s Grinch was hokey, and they took this whole dark bullying angle from repressed childhood memories and yea… just wasn’t that good at all.
4- Polar Express. It’s creepy. I don’t know if it’s the animation or what but it’s not cute, or funny, or adorable. It’s just creepy.
3- Jingle All The Way. Arnold Schwarteneger. Need I say more?
2- Any Hallmark Channel original. Lump these piles of crap together. It’s all the same sappy plot that induces yawns and eye rolling. It’s the holiday movie equivalent of fruit cake.
1- A Christmas Story. A leg lamp?! How hilarious! Seriously though, it’s boring as hell and a considered a cult classic because it’s forced on us via TBS for 24 straight hours. What an awful movie.
NOT LISTED: Die Hard because IT IS NOT A CHRISTMAS MOVIE. If Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then so is Trading Places with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy just because Louis (Aykroyd) wears a Santa suit and shoves a giant salmon down his pants while he pals around with Jamie Lee Curtis and… y’know what? I think I need to go watch this movie again!