Ravens at Seahawks: Bold Predictions
It’s the Ravens at Seahawks in Week 7 of the NFL season and it marks the beginning of a challenging stretch of games for John Harbaugh & Company. The (4-2) Ravens, winners of two-straight, currently stand atop the AFC North while Seattle is second in the NFC West behind the (5-0) 49ers. Baltimore boasts the NFL’s No. 1 offense (450.7), while Seattle’s attack stands No. 5 (399.0), entering Week 7.
Seattle leads the all-time series with Baltimore, (3-2), most recently winning 35-6 in Charm City during the 2015 campaign. The Ravens have never won in Seattle (0-2) and are looking to snap an overall three-game losing streak to the Seahawks.
What can we expect in the sixth class between these feathered foes?
To begin, we’ll start with this week’s guest prognosticator, Sarah Ellison, formerly of BaltimoreRavens.com. Sarah remains highly engaged in the Twitterverse and provides a rare perspective with eyes from inside The Castle. Thanks Sarah for participating in our game of darts. You can follow Sarah on Twitter @sgellison
• Quarterback Russell Wilson has been playing mistake-free football with 17 touchdown passes to zero (!) interceptions. That streak ends Sunday. Wilson will still have an overall productive day with a clean pocket, but whether it’s safety Earl Thomas (that’d be quite the story), or cornerbacks Marcus Peters or Marlon Humphrey, there are too many playmakers to not get their hands on one.
• Head coach John Harbaugh will come in aggressive and go for it on two fourth downs. The Ravens will convert one.
• Quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense will once again churn out plenty of yards – 400 total – but finishing drives with field goals instead of touchdowns will hurt the point total. Baltimore will twice have to send in kicker Justin Tucker after entering the red zone.
• There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Ravens pulling off an upset against the red-hot Seahawks at deafening CenturyLink Field. For starters, the steal-of-a trade for Peters, a two-time Pro Bowler, will provide a shot in the arm to a struggling 25th-ranked pass defense. Plus, it’s always nice that the Ravens can pack their league-best offense for the cross-country road trip, including their top-ranked rushing attack. And even though the Seahawks have a 5-1 record, they haven’t beaten anyone that currently has a winning record. Despite the well-founded optimism, this Ravens defense still scares me. It’s improving each week, but until I see this unit have a solid game against a top-10 quarterback, let alone one getting MVP buzz like Wilson is, I can’t predict a win for Baltimore.
PREDICTION: Seahawks 30 Ravens 27
I’m not really much of a gambling guy but when I saw the line on the Ravens at Seahawks (-3.5), I jumped in and bet on Seattle. In part, my gut suggested that the Ravens aren’t quite ready to take on the near-midseason MVP Russell Wilson, with the 25th-ranked pass defense in a very challenging environment. I would love to see the Ravens win this game, but I’m prepared for disappointment, so I thought a winning bet might be a consolation prize. If I lose the bet, I’d still be happy – although with my luck, the Ravens will lose by 1-3 points and I’m screwed both ways, right?
A closer look at the game (after I plunked down a Benjamin) suggests that this is exactly what could happen. The Seahawks are (5-1) on the year, but they’ve only won one game by more than four points, and that came against a rebuilding Cardinals team by the score of 27-10. Three of their other four wins were by two points or fewer. Pete Carroll’s run-heavy approach coupled with a susceptible defense have led to tight games on a weekly basis.
But I keep coming back to this guy named Russell. If Baker Mayfield can carve up the Ravens, what will Wilson do?
And how will the Ravens defend the Seahawks signal caller? When asked that same question, Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale probably said it best:
“It’s sort of like playing against Steph Curry in basketball, if you will. You can pick him up from half court, and he’s going to try to drive by you when you’re saying ‘keep him in the pocket,’ or you can slack off, and he’s going to pull up and hit a three. He’s just playing at a really high level right now, and I don’t argue with anybody that’s saying he’s playing at an MVP level.”
So, with all that said, here are my Bold Predictions for the Ravens at Seahawks…
• The over/under total for the game has been set at 49 ½. I’m going with the under as both teams play a game of keep away, shorten the game by running the football, and finish in under 3 hours.
• A lot of chatter has been bantered about regarding the top 3 Ravens DBs, Marlon Humphrey, Earl Thomas and newcomer Marcus Peters. But the least talked about player in the defensive backfield, Chuck Clark, will register the first interception of the season against Wilson off a tip at the line of scrimmage by Pernell McPhee. The two turnovers lead to 10 points for the Ravens.
• The Seattle offense has averaged 268.5 YPG through the air. They will come in under that total as they contain the Seahawks outside pass catchers, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The pair will produce less than 100 yards. That said, look for backup tight end Luke Willson to be a thorn in the Ravens side. Willson has 5 catches for 52 yards on the season. He’ll eclipse both marks in this game while hauling in 6 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.
• RB Chris Carson and Russell Wilson will exploit the Ravens inability to set the edge v. the run. They’ve averaged 109 yards per game combined. Together, they’ll rack up 160 yards on the ground against the Ravens.
• Meanwhile the Ravens offense will struggle at times in the passing game. The Seahawks will compress the field defensively, particularly if dinged up receiver Marquise Brown is a no-go given his floppy wheel (ankle). Soggy conditions will dampen Lamar Jackson’s effectiveness and he’ll struggle with ball security while his passes at times will quack like ducks in the “fowl” weather. He’ll throw one pick and give one away following a sack by Jadeveon Clowney who will embarrass Orlando Brown, Jr. on the play. Lamar’s only score will be on a 20-yard connection with Hayden Hurst.
• The Ravens WILL find success on the ground as they churn up the CenturyLink Field turf for a total of 175 yards, nearly double the average rushing total given up by Seattle through 6 games (92.8). The biggest run of the day is delivered by Justice Hill who rips off a run of 30+ yards.
• But it won’t be enough as Wilson makes a few more plays than Lamar and THAT will prove to be the difference in the outcome. The Ravens walk away knowing that they can play with the big boys and I get my consolation prize.
PREDICTION: Seahawks 26 Ravens 20
— The Ravens boosted the back end of the defense with the addition of cornerback Marcus Peters, who has 14 tackles, two interceptions — one returned for a touchdown– and four passes defensed in six games this season. This could help curtail some of the big plays the Ravens have surrendered.
— However, the addition of Peters does not solve the problems with the pass rush. This is especially troublesome against Seattle and quarterback Russell Wilson, who is having an MVP-caliber season. If the Ravens can’t get pressure on Wilson, he will methodically pick them apart.
— Greg Roman has to get more players involved with the offense. The team is relying too heavily on Lamar Jackson, who produced 388 of the Ravens’ 497 yards of total offense Week 6 against the Bengals. The Ravens need to establish the run to control the tempo and keep Seattle’s offense off the field. The Seahawks are allowing 92.8 yards rushing per game, which ranks 11th in the NFL.
— Jackson has to be extra careful handling the ball this week, especially with the crowd noise. He and center Matt Skura need to be on the same page.
— With the exception of a 27-10 victory over the Cardinals, the Seahawks have won their other four games by one score. That means they usually don’t blow teams out. If the Ravens can stay close they could steal a key road victory.
Seahawks 28 Ravens 24
It’s fun to watch Russell Wilson play football…unless it’s against your team. Especially when it’s against your team and your team has zero pass rush.
I was thinking 30-20 earlier this week. Then, the Ravens traded for Marcus Peters. I think he’s worth a field goal.
Seahawks 27 Ravens 20
– In his return to Seattle, Earl Thomas doesn’t nab Russel Wilson’s first INT of the season, but newcomer Marcus Peters does.
– The Ravens fail to sack Wilson, and as a result, he throws a 60-yard score for Tyler Lockett on a broken play
– Jackson leads a staple of a game-winning drive that well remember for a while, and Justin Tucker caps it with his second game-winning field goal of the season.
Ravens 27 Seahawks 24
I expect improvement from the Ravens defense due to the addition of Marcus Peters in his first week. However he won’t have the same impact that he will down the line for the rest of the season. The defensive picture is coming into focus and should be a formidable unit in the coming weeks. The offense will be able to put up some points but will the defense keep Russell Wilson in check?
– Wilson hasn’t thrown an interception all season so far. He will throw 2 on Sunday and the recipients will be either Marlon Humphrey, Earl Thomas or Marcus Peters.
– Wilson will also rush for 70 yards reminding the defense of a familiar teammate.
– Jackson takes it up a notch and beats Wilson’s rushing numbers with 90 rushing yards.
– Mark Ingram will have a touchdown and rush for 75 yards.
– Myles Boykin will have his 3rd touchdown of the season.
Seahawks 27 Ravens 24
This appears to be a tough game to predict, because the teams are very similar – with mobile quarterbacks that are finding ways to win with both their arms and their legs, and underachieving defenses. This might end up being a shootout , or it could be a blowout for either side.
Lamar Jackson played a reserved but effective game last week. Made some good passes for the lack of wide outs he had, but obviously dominated with his legs. With Marquise Brown most likely out again this week,I predict a similar game plan. Greg Roman’s experience with facing the Seahawks with his time in San Francisco might also help out. I predict Lamar to have a mirror game of last week, but he throws 2 scores to Hayden Hurst while removing the score on the ground. I predict Mark Ingram to have an even 50-50 yard game in the ground and in the air against a good run defense in Seattle, but Gus Edwards scores twice in the red zone. I expect the O-line to have a nice game during pass protection, but they might struggle against via the run.
Here is where I don’t trust Baltimore. Russell Wilson is playing at an MVP level, and he isn’t throwing risky passes. Yet, he hasn’t exactly played a great secondary yet. I am hoping he has one of his games where he is just off the entire day, but I think playing at home gives him an advantage. The whole “Earl Thomas knows his tendencies “ narrative might be moot because the offense has changed. Russell will throw for 250+ yards and three scores, and Chris Carson will add another 75 yards from the ground, with two scores. David Moore and Jaron Brown will be the heroes of the game as they will expose the lack of depth in the Ravens secondary, and will dominate the linebackers from the slot.
This is a game that can go either way, but Seattle is in a groove that I don’t think Baltimore can handle at this time.
Seattle 36 Baltimore 28
There is one thing that is for certain the last couple of weeks, and that is the Ravens defense has definitely shown improvement since not being able to get the Chiefs or Browns offenses off the field in weeks three and four. However, facing the offenses they did, that should have been the case.
Since stepping in, Josh Bynes has been a strong contributor and L.J. Fort looked rock solid last week. The difference between these two and Kenny Young and Chris Board? They are playing ASSIGNMENT football. They aren’t the flashiest linebackers, but they have done their job and the results have shown. These two will be vital for any sort of defensive success against this Seahawks offense, as stopping the run and creating third-and-long situations will be paramount. Can they get the job done? I think they can.
Marcus Peters is absolutely going to play Sunday, and I think he plays almost every snap defensively. i do think his impact will be shown, and I expect Russell Wilson to try to attack the middle of the field, which has been the Ravens weakness this season for the most part. So the aforementioned Bynes and Fort will be vital there, as will Anthony Levine Sr and Chuck Clark.
Lamar Jackson and the offense will need to keep up with the Seahawks offense, and that is no easy task. Settling for field goals will not win this game. The offense will have to get the ball in the end zone and unlike last week, they will not be able to take the foot off of the gas pedal. Points will be vital to winning this game, as I do not see how the defense can hold the Seahawks to anything less than 27 points.
At the end of the day, the Seahawks simply have too much for the Ravens to handle, although I believe this is a game that will come down to the final quarter.
Seahawks 31 Ravens 24
The Ravens and Seahawks are mirror images of each other. That goes for this season as well. The Ravens haven’t beaten a team with a winning record yet but neither have the Seahawks. It’s a good litmus test for both teams.
The Ravens will have to score some points and Lamar Jackson is going to have to find a way to get his receivers involved. Marquise Brown hasn’t practiced in ten days so his chances of playing look grim. Who else can step up? On a positive note Mark Andrews appears to be fully healthy so I expect him to re-emerge and have a big game. Look for Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards both to have a 10-12 carries and the Ravens run the ball almost 40 times in all to keep the ball out of Russell Wilson’s hands.
The addition of Peters to the secondary will help but I need to see it before I can believe with this team. I think they’ll improve as the year progresses but Wilson is too much for them to handle at this point.
Seahawks 30 Ravens 24