I am more excited about this season than I have been in quite some time. Coming off a deep playoff run in a year where 8-8 would have been a success, this team is primed to go all the way.
Last year, I made some predictions, and I’ve already commented on free agency (although now Suggs has a deal without the franchise tag, so I’m even happier). This year I’ll continue my tradition, and share my completely uneducated view on the season.
I was sure this was going to be Jameel McClain, the inside LB that’s a physical carbon copy of Ray Lewis. He’s not a mental carbon copy, though, and based on his missed tackles in the preseason game against the ‘Skins, I’m not sure about him yet. Tavares Gooden, however, will step in to Bart Scott’s slot and be one of the stars on this defense. Watch out for Justin Harper, too. He’s got some issues with his hands, but he’s a playmaker if he makes the team.
Keys to the Season
Turnovers and Defense. Gotta have a positive turnover ratio, and the defense can not miss a step with the loss of Rex Ryan.
Joe Flacco remains cool. He’s shown some jitters and frustration in practice, but looked ok in the ‘Skins game. If he plays with the same poise he showed last year, as he develops this might be a big year.
Ray Lewis stays healthy. The last time he came into camp 15 pounds lighter, he spend half the year on the bench, and they went 6-10. Last year he was 260 and a beast. This year, he’s back down to 245 to improve his speed, and I’m a little concerned about the punishment. If Gooden steps up and the line plays well, this is less a worry.
Wins and Losses:
Week 1, Chiefs. Win, dominate the game.
Week 2, at Chargers. Lose a close one
Week 3, Browns. Win against a Browns squat that’s in shambles again this year
Week 4, at Patriots. Win a close game on emotion and heart.
Week 5, Bengals. Win, blowout.
Week 6, at Vikings. Win.
Week 7, Bye.
Week 8, Broncos. This is a tough call, because I think the Broncos will match up well against the Ravens, but I’ll pick the home team for a win.
Week 9, at Bengals. They’ll lose either against the Bengals or the Browns away, but I’m calling this a win, because…
Week 10, at Browns. Monday night, bright lights, lose in Cleveland.
Week 11, Colts. Two 8 win teams, this one’s a loss.
Week 12, Steelers. Prime time monkey comes off the back, and the Steelers pay for the Colts loss. Win, big.
Week 13, at Packers. Another monday night, in Green Bay. Loss.
Week 14, Lions. Win.
Week 15, Bears. Win.
Week 16, at Steelers. Loss.
Week 17, at Oakland. Win.
11 wins, 5 losses. Playoffs as a wild card because they lose a tiebreaker with the Steelers. Key games will be against the Patriots, Colts, and Steelers.