Happy Turkey Day, Flockers!
With the official kickoff of #HolidaySzn upon us, we bumped up our 2 Minute Drill this week, but fret not! We’ll still get into the Ravens dominance over another NFC West team, a look ahead to Sunday’s matchup versus the 49ers, a peek at the Thanksgiving slate and the best of the rest in NFL Week 13, as well as a top-5 Turkey Day countdown.
But first, some major notes from around the league this NFL Week 13…
– Phantom Flags In Foxboro. In a close game in Foxboro on Sunday, the Cowboys were marching in an effort to overthrow the Patriots, but oh?! What’s this?! A phantom ‘tripping call’ negates a 1st down Zeke run and puts the Cowboys in 3rd and 17, effectively killing any momentum, the drive, and the game?! This never happens in favor of the Pats…
-Jerrah Prepares A Pink Slip. On the NFL Network on Wednesday, Jerry Jones was asked about Jason Garrett’s job safety and quite clearly said “I don’t have to win a Super Bowl every year… but in this case, you have to come in first.” That’s pretty damning evidence that Jerrah is ready to move on from Garrett, barring a Lombardi. I’ve got my money on Jerry putting his money on Lincoln Riley’s desk come March 2020, but I’d also expect Jerry Jones to suggest Jerry Jones coaches Jerry Jones’ Cowboys.
-Browns fans are trash. Not even a catchy intro for this one, but Browns fans are hot garbage (we already knew that) as evidenced by fans attempting to beat a Mason Rudolph piñata with a helmet before they played the Fins in Cleveland. The 2019 Paper Champs have now taken the throne of 2019 Brown Paper Bag Full Of Sh*t Champs. Congrats, Cleveland.
Cleveland’s newest game: Mason Rudolph piñata. pic.twitter.com/qxst1rSwzS
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) November 24, 2019
LAST WEEK: Ravens 45 Rams 6
I have felt so many feels this season as I watch our Ravens, but this Monday night was a new one for me.
Ladies and gentlemen of The Flock, I found myself doing something I’ve done only a few times in my life: sitting in silence.
I found myself fixated on the TV after Lamar Jackson’s fifth touchdown pass of the night against the Rams, and I simply did not know what to think or how to feel anymore… words and thoughts could not be formed… I’d gone from happy to joyous to elated to flat out giddy, but what’s the next tier of happiness one can experience?
This was it.
I think we need to realize that the Ravens aren’t a just a good team, nor are the a great team- they’re a downright special team, and we are witnessing something that I feel is so big and significant in the storyline of the NFL’s history that fans across the globe will recognize this Ravens team in the same light we recognize the likes of the Monsters of Midway, or the Greatest Show On Turf, or the Legion of Boom, among other great defenses or offenses, but the biggest difference?
This is a TEAM effort in Baltimore, not just one side of the ball transcending the game, and that, my Flockers, is greater than anything I’ve witnessed in all of my years of watching the NFL.
The 2019 Ravens are a truly epic team that we’ll be telling our grandchildren about one day, and they’ll never grasp how this team made us feel as fans.
Coming back down to earth here, this game against the Rams was everything we had hoped for, and then some.
Lamar Jackson threw for 5 touchdowns (the Jackson Five as Joe Tessitore waited so patiently to exclaim), the offense put up 7 on each of their first 6 drives, and the defense manhandled the Rams offense, including a Marcus Peters interception of his old team that shooed him away in a trade.
9-2 feels great, but the Ravens have already shifted focus to next week’s opponent, rightfully so…
THIS WEEK: 49ers @ Ravens
Figured I’d use a Peters graphic here, since he already picked off Jimmy Gezus once this season…
No rest for the Ravens, who go from facing one stout defense in the Rams, to another in the 49ers this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. The 49ers (10-1) poses quite the challenge for the Ravens on both sides of the ball… and I say ‘challenge’ loosely, given the supposed challenges the Ravens were expected to see in Seattle, New England, Houston and Los Angeles that all resulted in some lopsided wins for Baltimore.
Defensively, the 49ers are the ‘top defense in the NFL’ but are they really?
As always, I hate the ‘yards per game’ stats, simply because it’s skewed by attempts. I feel that ypa is a better litmus, and for the Rams alleged top defense, they don’t look so hot in one facet of the defensive game:
Passing YPA: 5.6 (2nd)
Rushing YPA: 4.7 (25th)
Indeed, the 49ers are proclaimed the top defense in the NFL based on total ypg allowed, but it’s heavily skewed by teams passing (330 attempts) much more than rushing (262 attempts), despite a higher clip of rush ypa allowed by the Niners defense. Fortunately for Baltimore, their offense is a run-first system that has made some great defenses by the ‘total ypg allowed’ metric look downright foolish. Just take a peak at some recent Ravens success since the bye week:
-New England (256.4 ypga) gave up 372 yards to Baltimore (+116).
-Houston (367.3 ypga) gave up 491 yards to Baltimore (+123)
-LA Rams (338.7 ypga) gave up 480 yards to Baltimore (+142).
The Ravens are steadily churning out offensive yards- largely because of the ground game- regardless of opponent, and this week won’t be much different.
Prediction: The Ravens will come out running, running hard, running often, and running the 49ers offense into the ground on the other side of the ball.
With an expected rainfall starting Saturday night and running through Sunday evening, I expect a wet game to feature plenty of rushes and less passing, which falls right into the Ravens favor.
Baltimore will look to do what they’ve found success in doing recently- score early and often, force teams to play from behind and capitalize on turnovers, while taking the second half to extend drives via ground game and eat clock at will.
Pretty simple, right?
Of course the 49ers aren’t 10-1 without reason, and having a full array of healthy receivers could be enough to keep San Fran close in this one… but only until halftime.
Ravens take an early 13-0 lead on a Patrick Ricard touchdown (yea, I said it), and a pair of short range Justin Tucker field goals. The 49ers get into the red zone once before halftime, but turn it over on a fumble by Garoppolo to keep the Niners off the scoreboard.
The Ravens come out in the second half on an opening touchdown drive to extend the lead to 20-0, and never look back.
A late 49ers touchdown makes the score appear closer than the game ever was, and once again we ask… Who’s got it better than us?
Rest of the Slate
Turkey Day games, and some great primetime matchups on SNF/MNF!
Bears @ Lions. Thurs 12:30pm. Trubisky versus Driscoll is a less than alluring Turkey Day appetizer, but it’s free football early on a Thursday, and I’ll take it.
Bills @ Boys. Thurs 4:30pm. Best of the Thanksgiving games, and while I’m not actively cheering for the Cowboys, I’m also watching the Ravens next opponent in the Bills and hoping they take the L.
Saints @ Falcons. Thurs 8:20pm. Just 3 weeks ago, the Falcons went to Nawlins and slapped the hell out of Brees and the Saints. Will the Saints repay the favor? Will Atlanta somehow steal two from New Orleans? Will I still be functional and awake by halftime? All great questions…
Pats @ Texans. SNF 8:20pm. This one is such a toss up because the Texans have shown the ability to light up a scoreboard, while the Pats have struggled to do so… it could be a 10-9 defensive game, or a 31-30 high scoring affair, and I wouldn’t be shocked either way.
Vikes @ Seahawks. MNF 8:15pm. Could be an early look at an NFC playoff game on Monday night, but I’m also in the camp of the Vikes being pretenders.
Rank Em! Turkey Day Edition (Pt II)
Last week, I ranked the bottom-5 things about Thanksgiving, and today I’m opting to go for the top 5 people I’m thankful for in regards to the Ravens… sort of.
We all know the obvious answers: Lamar! EDC! Harbs!
But I’m going for the more obscure folks that I’m thankful for, mostly because it wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t out in left field, right?
Top-5 People I’m Thankful For As A Ravens Fan (a working title- I lack patience to give it more effort)
5- The Philly Eagles. Why am I thankful for an opposing franchise? Simply put- they facilitated a trade with a Ravens in 2018, that allowed Baltimore to jump back into Round 1 and grab Lamar Jackson. Turns out LJ is kind of a big deal.
4- Eric DeCosta’s wife. Ladies, imagine having this convo with your husband every year since… call it 2010-ish:
“Honey, I know that job offer is a promotion and a raise, but I’m staying with this company. Trust me, it’ll pay off one day.”
That would drive any wife crazy! And yet, Mrs. EDC was steadfast in standing by her husband’s decision, and it has paid off for the Ravens GM, as well as for all of us fans!
3- Jerry Jones. Big props to Jerrah! Had he not opened his checkbook back in 2008 for current Cowboys Head Coach (well.. current through end of the 2019 season) for shunning this Ravens franchise back in 2008. Had he not turned us down, we would’ve (likely) never ended up with John Harbaugh leading this Ravens team over the past decade-plus and, well, the results speak for themselves. Thanks Jerrah!!!
2- LJ’s Momma. Dead serious. Lamar Jackson/QB1/Future MVP/4x Offensive Player of the week in 2019 is not just a phenomenal talent on the field- he’s an incredible human being. He’s humble, passionate, driven to succeed, and compassionate. Forget those traits in an NFL player- those traits are rare in any human being, and I attribute that to how he was raised. Cheers to you Momma Jackson! We are truly grateful!
1- The Flockers. I’m truly grateful for every last one of you. The passion of this fanbase, the constant interaction on the fan pages and social media, the drive to become more knowledgeable about this team and the inner-workings of what makes the Ravens team thrive… it’s just an awesome thing to see. In a calendar year we’ve gone from a fanbase largely divided to a unified family looking for a common goal. Of course like any family, there’s still a few loose screws, but we love them too- they’ll come around!
Happy Thanksgiving, Flockers!!