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Houston, Problem Solved

Justin Houston
Photo Credit: USA Today
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Hot take #1:  There is always luck in sports but luck isn’t THE reason you win.

A prevailing theme on social media this week is that the Ravens are a lucky team and that somehow that should be held against them.  That they aren’t good, just lucky.  People who say that are really not smart.  Luck gets treated liked a bad word when it comes to sports.  Fans hate it but guess what, everyone gets lucky.  In the NFL, WHEN you play a team, matters.  Are they playing well, are key guys hurt, etc….Do the refs miss a big call?  Does the fumble bounce your way?  There are so many lucky things that happen, but to use “luck” in a manner that suggests that a team isn’t that good, well that’s just moronic.

The Ravens have had as many as 18 players on IR.  They lost their entire RB corps before the season started.  They just had their MVP candidate QB out with a virus.  Yet they keep winning and people out there think it’s because of luck?  NEWSFLASH to those people… it’s not luck, at least not only luck.  Its skill, its coaching, it knowing how to win and it’s a mindset that sets you apart because what goes on between the ears is more valuable than most fans realize and understand.

Hot take #2:  While fans lament the loss of Judon, they should be paying more attention to Justin Houston.

Matthew Judon has 10.5 sacks in NE.  He is having a good pass rushing season there and has really helped their defense. That said, I am still good with letting him go.  His PFF grade is still slightly under 70 and while he is a good pass rusher, the rest of his game is suspect.

Meanwhile, Houston has a PFF grade over 75 and is getting a lot of pressures and is setting the edge well.  The Ravens place a greater emphasis on stopping the run than most defenses.  This is a big reason why they consistently don’t get as much pressure with 4 guys.  They just don’t play that style.  So, Judon wouldn’t have that many sacks this year if the Ravens had paid him. Instead, they saved a lot of money, kept Bowser (who I think could be the better all-around player) and signed a solid vet in Houston who is playing very well for them.  Signing Houston was a solid decision by DeCosta.

[Tale of The Tape: Huntley Gets it Done!]

Hot take #3:  Mark Andrews is showing that he deserved that contract.

Andrew is leading the Ravens with a PFF grade of just under 90.  He has arguably been the best TE in football this year.  I was skeptical of the contract because he has had a history (albeit a brief one) of coming up small in big moments.  That hasn’t been the case this year and after seeing the Eagles pay Dallas Goedert more than Andrews got, I think the Ravens are in good shape with that contract.

Hot take #4:  Assuming Lamar plays, the Ravens are going to beat Cleveland by at last 2 scores this weekend.

I know Cleveland may get back Jack Conklin and Kareem Hunt for this game, but I think this is a game the Ravens win rather easily.  Call it a gut feeling but I feel like this team is ripe for a dominating effort in a prime time game.  Cleveland has been struggling and Mayfield is dealing with a lot of injuries.  My biggest worry is that the tackling issues show up against the Browns running backs, who are the best in the league at braking tackles and forcing missed tackles.  If that happens, they could be in for a tough night.

But I think they step up and win big!

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