Posts Tagged 'Baltimore Ravens'

NBC’s SNF Crew In The House

From Top: WR Anquan Boldin, CB Josh Wilson, and LB Dannell Ellerbe get their headshots taken in preparation for NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast

 

Ravens-Steelers Week…Feeling Like ’08

Well we have quite a matchup to look forward to this Sunday night. And it only seems appropriate that the Steelers come into town with the same record as the Ravens: 8-3.

High Stakes? You bet. But really, would you want it any other way?

The lead-up to this game feels an awful lot like the lead-up to the one 2 years ago on Dec. 14, 2008, when 10-3 Pittsburgh arrived to face 9-4 Baltimore.

That game more than lived up to the hype. It was a defensive slugfest and the Steelers came away with a memorable victory that clinched the division crown. Ben Roethlisberger drove his team 91 yards down the field and capped off the drive with this unforgettable play (which I recorded btw, sorry it is so blurry!!):

You’re going to hear many quotes from players of both teams this week that sound a lot like what Terrell Suggs said in his post-game interview last Sunday in regards to the the opposition this week:

“Our teams are similar, and we just don’t like them, but we respect them. It’s going to be championship football.”

The words are a little stronger on the internet between the fan bases. Venture over to the Scout.com Ravens page or read the comments to The Baltimore Sun’s Ravens Insider posts. The fans of these  teams can really fire up a war of words. Its quite entertaining and it proves  just how much this game means to the two cities involved.

The last two ravens victories over Pittsburgh have been great. An overtime win last year at home and a come from behind win this year at Heinz Field. However the guys under center for those two games? Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch respectively. Not to knock either of those two…but as a Ravens fan, I want to play Roethlisberger, and I want to beat him. Overcoming Pittsburgh just isn’t as satisfying or fulfilling when he isn’t playing.

Because like it or not, the man is an incredible quarterback. He is hard to bring down and he can improvise like no other when he gets flushed from the pocket.

Want to know what else is a hard pill to swallow for Ravens fans? The boys in purple haven’t defeated Big Ben at M&T Bank Stadium since November 2006, when he took that infamous hit from Bart Scott. Hard to believe its been that long, huh?? Granted, he didn’t play in ’07 or ’09…but still, its been 4 years!! And they last time they beat him period was just a month later when they took down Pittsburgh on the road to complete their first and only season sweep of the Steelers to date.

The big story this week will be the status of left tackle Michael Oher’s knee sprain. If he cannot go on Sunday, Oniel Cousins will get the start and faces the daunting task of protecting Joe Flacco from James Harrison for four quarters. More on that as the week progresses.

Peace.

Week 1 Preview: Baltimore Ravens @ New York Jets

January 16, 2010…that was the last time the Ravens played a game that mattered. Seems like a long time ago huh? Well the wait is over, September 13th has finally arrived, and what a game we have tonight!

The Jets and Ravens are very similar teams. They both have the young quarterbacks with plenty of experienced weapons on offense. Defensively, both squads play good ol’ “smash mouth football”.

There has been quite a bit of talking leading up to this game, and it’s fun, but I’m not gonna address the jabber. I want to look at the types of games both teams need to play to come away with a win tonight.

First off, believe the hype, Darrelle Revis is the real deal. He is as good as advertised and has to ability to take a whole side of a field away from the opposition. That opens up options for the New York defense to blitz, especially with their safeties. And everyone knows Rex Ryan loves to blitz. He will be sending extra guys at Joe Flacco early and often to try to fluster the third year signal caller. On the other side of the field will be Antonio Cromartie, who is also a very skilled corner, not as talented as Revis. However he does have lightning fast speed. If he comes up with an interception, he is likely to take it to the house.

That being said, Revis can only cover one guy at a time, tonight that guy will be Anquan Boldin. Baltimore has plenty of other options to go to other than Boldin when airing it out. Flacco will have to spread the ball around to targets Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Ray Rice in the flat.

Speaking of Rice, I believe he is more dangerous on those flare passes and toss plays tonight. Do not expect much from him rushing up the middle. The Jets have a beast in Kris Jenkins at nose tackle. He can take up so much space and will be a challenge for center Matt Birk on first and second downs. Against a defense as physical and brutal as New York’s, getting backs Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain at least half a dozen carries each is crucial. Rice isn’t built to take such a pounding for four quarters.

On to the Jets and their offense. Mark Sanchez enjoyed a solid rookie campaign and is looking to continue his growth as an NFL quarterback. He has plenty of viable options at his disposal to help him win not only tonight but throughout 2010. The addition of future Hall of Famer Ladainian Tomlinson as well as 15-year veteran Tony Richardson adds depth, experience, and stability to a young corps of backs in Shonn Greene and John Conner. Receivers Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes are solid options who have great hands as well as breakaway speed. However, Holmes is out for tonight’s game. He is missing the first four games of the season due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy this past offseason. Jerricho Cotchery will have to step up and fill in his place tonight. Tight end Dustin Keller averaged just over 11½ yards per catch last year but only hauled in two TD’s. I like him to have a big 2010, watch out for him across the middle.

This leads to the one glaring weakness of the Ravens, their secondary. With Ed Reed on the PUP list for the first six weeks of the season, and Dominique Foxworth gone for the year, the Ravens are vulnerable and everyone knows it. Baltimore will have to work with Fabian Washington, Josh Wilson, and Chris Carr at corner. Lardarius Webb is listed as a game time decision, however I expect him to suit up and get plenty up snaps. Tom Zbikowski fills in for Reed at free safety, while Dawan Landry provides the most experience and talent of the group at strong safety.

There are lots of big names at the skill positions for both teams, and they very well could be the difference in the outcome of the game. But I believe it will all come down to who can dominate in the trenches, specifically when New York is on offense. I already mentioned earlier that Kris Jenkins will cause disruption in the middle of the Ravens line, but more importantly is if the Jets big men can hold up against a tough Baltimore front seven. If they can, it gives Sanchez the necessary time to pick apart the corners and safeties. A poor effort up front will lead to sacks, hurries, and in turn, poor decisions by the second year QB.

I believe nose tackle Haloti Ngata is a bit better than Jenkins due to his speed and athleticism. Remember last year in the preseason (against the Jets) when Ngata droped back into coverage like a linebacker and picked off Sanchez and took it to the house? Center Nick Mangold, fresh off signing an 8-year, $57.4 million contract, will have the tall task of blocking Ngata all game. And a great matchup I’m excited to watch will be left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson against a leaner and quicker Terrell Suggs.

So many storylines and matchups to digest in this one. Both teams have “super” aspirations if you know what I mean. Lots of questions will have been answered by the conclusion of this evening’s battle. Time for the prediction: I say the Ravens get off to a slower than expected start, and possibly fall behind. But the offense has too many weapons and will unleash its firepower in the 2nd half. The defense will bend but not break, and limit the Jets to field goals when backed aginst the wall. BALTIMORE 27 – NEW YORK 16

Ravens 2010 Schedule Officially Released

The 2010 schedule is finally here! The Ravens’ opponents have been known for quite some time now but now we know when the games will be played and which ones will be in prime time.

Here are a few of the highlights:

-Week 1: The Ravens will open their season on the road against Rex Ryan and the NY Jets on Monday Night Football (9/13).

-Week 4 will be played at Pittsburgh, and assuming Ben Roethlisberger is dealt a four game suspension, Baltimore will not have to face him in that match-up (10/3).

-Looking ahead to Week 13: The second Pittsburgh game…this one at home, will be a nationally televised Sunday night game (12/5) for the second year in a row.

-A week later, another prime time game. This time on Monday Night at Houston (12/13).

-And on six days rest, Baltimore welcomes in the defending champion Saints to M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 19.

Click here or above on the header titled “Ravens 2010 Schedule” to view the entire slate of games. Grab your calendar and mark down the games! This fall should be fun!

12/20/09 Gameday: Bears at Ravens

A snowy good morning to you.  What a bizarre weekend of rumors and speculation we have had. There were the rumors of today’s game  possibly being moved to Monday night. No one was sure whether the Bears would actually be in town to play the game until their plane landed safely at BWI airport last night a few minutes before 11 p.m. And how about the snow removal! Great job by the workers at M&T Bank Stadium getting the seats, ramps, stairs, and field ready for today’s contest.

As for the actual game: The Ravens mindset is where right where it needs to be right now. They realize that they have to win out to get a spot in the playoffs. They will not take any teams lightly, just ask last week’s opponent, the Detroit Lions.

At the beginning of the season, hopes were high in the windy city. They had traded inconsistent Kyle Orton to Denver and in return got one of the best young arms in the game in Jay Cutler. But Cutler’s 2009 campaign has been quite disappointing. He has been very prone to turnovers, throwing 22 interceptions! That number leads the entire league. He is still very capable of making all the throws necessary to win a ballgame. This season has been a combination of bad luck and poor decision making for Mr. Cutler.

At the running back position, the Bears have a solid foundation in Matt Forte. The 2nd year back out of Tulane is having a bit of a sophomore slump. He had a tremendous rookie campaign, rushing for over 1200 yards and eight touchdowns. He was also able to add four more receiving TD’s. Similar to Cutler, the talent is there, but things just haven’t gone Forte’s way this year.

Defensively, the Bears suffered a major setback in their season opener at Green Bay when middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was lost for the season. He is the heart and soul of their unit. And accross the board, the numbers are not the same as usual for this defense.

As for the Ravens, they had a nice little confidence boost last week, beating up on the lowly Lions 48-3. I believe that the way Ray Rice is playing right now, is just too much for the Bears. If they focus on shutting down #27, they will likely leave many open opportunities for Joe Flacco and his receivers to do damage. I honestly think Chicago will put up a solid fight on offense, but not enought to topple a team that smells postseason. RAVENS 31 – BEARS 21

Gametime Pushed to 4:15

Baltimore Ravens Press Release – The time of the Ravens’ game against the Bears, scheduled for this Sunday (Dec. 20) at 1 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium, has been changed to 4:15 p.m.

Officials from the City of Baltimore recommended the time change to the Ravens and the NFL, because of safety reasons. “This gives the city more time to clear the streets and other passage ways around the stadium. It also gives us more time to clear the stadium of snow,” Ravens president Dick Cass said.

Cass also noted that 700 people will be at the stadium tonight and tomorrow to help clear the snow. This crew will work through Saturday and until game time on Sunday. The workers will be housed at the stadium club levels.

Hey now! This means fans will be able to get a  few extra hours of tailgating in. Nothing helps beat the cold weather like a few beers.

Speaking of beating the cold, there was an article in today’s Baltimore Sun about the Ravens performance at home when the temperature is below 40 degrees. Their record is 10-1, winning the last 10 in a row. Quite impressive if you ask me.

I’m currently writing my preview for Sunday’s game. It will be posted at some point tomorrow. Stay tuned…

Ravens To Wear Black This Sunday vs. Bears

Baltimore Sun – The Ravens will wear black jerseys with white pants Sunday, when they play the Chicago Bears at M&T Bank Stadium, a team official confirmed Wednesday.

It’s the first time that the Ravens will put on their alternate uniforms this season. The Ravens decided to go from the all-black combination (jersey and pants) last season because first-year coach John Harbaugh didn’t like how it looked.

The only time the Ravens have worn the black jersey with white pants was Dec. 7, 2008, when the Ravens beat the Washington Redskins, 24-10.

As Rich Eisen of the NFL Network would say: Ray Rice from Rutgers Running for the Ravens (and in this case) against the Redskins

Nice. I love it when the Ravens wear black. And honestly, I wasn’t too pleased last year when I arrived at the stadium before the Redskins game and saw the team warming up in their black uni’s and WHITE pants. But as the game went on I got used to the black/white combo and now I can say I like them.

Now what I don’t understand though, is why whoever is in charge of making this decision (based on the article above I’d assume its Coach Harbaugh) chose to wear the black uni’s this week. Why not wear them on Nov. 29th against the hated Steelers, at night, in front of a national audience?

If I were a betting man (and I’m not because I get killed by the spread), I would have said for sure at the beginning of the year that the Steelers game at home would be the one game the team wears black. Good thing I didn’t place any wagers.

To my knowledge, this will be only the second time the Ravens have ever worn black for non-night game and the first time for a 1 o’clock start time. The other occasion was New Year’s Eve 2006, when they hosted the Bills with a 4:15 p.m. kickoff

Ravens vs. Bills in 2006


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