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Quick offseason footblogging

Dear Ravens:




Big Fan

An asskicking

That’s really the only way to describe the Ravens’ loss to the Bengals. Cinci dominated the first half, and while it looked like the Ravens showed up to play defense in the second half, they forgot to bring the offense with them.

After dominating last week, the inconsistent Ravens are back. Unless there’s a big change, this team isn’t going to the playoffs, as I don’t see how they can play the Steelers (twice), Indy, and the Packers in Green Bay and come away with just two more losses.

Oh, by the way, the officating continues to get worse. It honestly looks like there are no penalties unless a Raven did it. I saw easily 5 holds and not one was called, but everything the Ravens do gets a flag. It didn’t matter, but it’s still frustrating.


Tuesday evening QB

Ravens stomp the Broncos 30-7. So now they’re 4-3, heading to Cinci.

If these guys show up like they did on Sunday, they might finish the year out with 7 more wins.

Ellerby is playing like a beast, and Ray Rice is the real deal. They’ve got few significant injuries, which is also good at this point in the season. Every aspect of the team was on last week, they’ll need to do that again to beat the Bengals… I think if they can hold the Bengals to 17 points again, we’ll see a win.

Late Football Review

Better late than never, my take on a devastating Ravens loss, 33-31.

You can’ t blame the kicker when you give up 33 points.

Awesome comeback from 17 points down with 10 minutes to go, this team has heart, it’s got fire, and they will win some of these. Harbs needs to take the D to the woodshed, though. The talent is there, they’ve got to man up. The bye week has to focus on resting up, although there arent’ many injuries, and getting the playmakers on this defense fired up to make some plays. To get in the playoffs, 10-6 is going to be a minimum, and it might take 11-5.

Oh, and don’t trust me to pick games. At all. 6-8 against the spread, and 7-7 just picking winners last week.

No waiting

Ravens go down 17-14 to the Bengals.

Plain and simple, they got beat. 1 offensive TD. Dominated on both sides of the ball. Only the ability of the defense to come up with big stops kept this from being much worse.

Yes, the officiating was terrible, both calls that were made and some non calls; and how do you spot the ball 5 yards off after watching a replay (which resulted after a bad call on the field). Overall, the officiating has to improve, for the sake of the game.

But the Ravens need to take it out of their hands.

Hopefully, this was the letdown game I expect once a year to the Bengals or the Browns, and they’ll turn it around. But the Vikings are next, in Minnesota. It becomes almost a must win, and that’s not a team you want as a must win game.

Tuesday Morning QB

We didn’t think the Ravens would go 16 – 0, did we?

Losing to the Patriots (again) stings, let’s admit that. They’re a really good team – better than I gave them credit for, and the Ravens stuck in there and had a shot at the end. Some costly mistakes, and some questionable play calling cost them the game; and they were flat out beat.

It happens.

Flacco continues to impress, as does the just dominant run defense. Pass defense isn’t what it’s been in the past, but with the offense playing that well, if the defense can force teams to throw and hold teams to field goals, this offense can win a lot of games. If Mark Clayton can hold on to the ball. I would have much preferred to see more of the running game, it sure looked like the Ravens could run all day, but I’m not a coach, so there might have been something I’m not smart enough to see that lead the Ravens to throw the ball.

On the officiating, which has been the talk of sports radio and sports blogging so far this week: I didn’t see a referee drop a pass, I didn’t see a ref miss a block, and I didn’t see a ref fumble a kickoff. The officiating was horrible. But it was pretty bad both ways. Sure, the Pats got a couple of home field spots, but there were just as many terrible calls (and non calls) that went against the Patriots as the Ravens.

By the way, calling for a measurement when there’s an obvious yard (or more) to go is a brilliant way to get a timeout without calling a timeout. Very creative, Coach Belichick. And nice move Coach Harbaugh to notice that little trick, and use it in the 4th quarter.

Any Ravens fan has to be happy coming out of the first 4 weeks at 3-1. The schedule will get a little more challenging later in the year, so I’d like to go into the bye week at 5-1. 4-2 may be more realistic. The Bengals are next week, and while the Ravens should be able to beat this team, there’s almost always a letdown game against the Browns or the Bengals each year. I hope it’s not this one, with the Vikings the following week, in Minnesota. I think the Ravens match up pretty well against the Vikings, but they look pretty good.


You know what? Nobody who does picks knows what they are talking about any more than I do, so what the heck. I present here my totally uneducated NFL picks for the week, both winners and against the spread.

Ravens (+2) @ Patriots

I’m picking the Ravens to win a fairly close low(er) scoring game. Just a hunch. I know it will be close. Ravens win, and I’ll take the Ravens with the points

Buccaneers (+8) @ Redskins

I think the Redskins are going to completely fall apart. I think the Bucs might win this one, and there’s no way the ‘Skins cover 8 points. I’ll pick the Bucs to win and the Bucs with the points.

Titans (-3) @ Jaguars

The Titans are far better than their 0-3 record, the Jags showed against the Cowboys on Monday that they just aren’t a great team. Titans to win and to beat the spread.

Raiders (+10) @ Texans

I think this will be a much closer game than 10 points, and I think the Raiders might be able to pull it out. Picking the winner is tough, I’ll go with the Texans to win at home, but they won’t cover the spread, so Raiders with the points.

Lions @ Bears (-10)

The Lions win last week wasn’t a fluke, but they aren’t going to beat the Bears in Chicago. Or anywhere else. Bears to win, and I’ll take the Bears and give up the points.

Bengals @ Browns (+6)

The Bengals surprised everyone last week, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns win this one. The Bengals are still inconsistent, the Browns are at home and desperate. Even with horrid coaching on the Browns side, Cinci might give this one away. I’ll pick the Bengals to win (but I’m not sure), and I’ll take the Browns with the points.

Seahawks @ Indy (-11)

Some key injuries on both sides, but I think this is going to be a blowout. Indy to win and cover

Giants @ Chiefs (+9)

I don’t think any team will go 0-16 this year. But this week isn’t the week the Chiefs get a win, not against the Giants, who will win the NFC East. I do think the Chiefs will make a game of it, and it may be closer than people think, so I’ll take the points and the Chiefs.

Jets (+7) @ Saints

While I know Rex Ryan is a great coach, I don’t think the Jets are going to New Orleans and winning against the Saints. They aren’t that good. I can’t predict a blowout here, though, I think it might be a close game, so Saints to win, but Jets with the points.

Bills @ Dolphins (+2)

I thought the Bills might have something for the AFC East this year, given their good performance against the Patriots in a tough loss, but I’ve lost all confidence. The Dolphins, even with a backup QB, can beat this team. I’ll take Miami to win and with the points.

Cowboys @ Broncos (+3)

The Cowboys are favored? I don’t think so. I think they get destroyed this week. Denver wins, and I’ll take them with the points.

Rams (+10) @ 49ers

I predicted that when Kyle Boller moved on to another team from the Ravens, that he would turn his career around; that he’d even end up in a pro bowl or winning it all. That won’t happen this year, but I do think he will find success. 49ers to win, but I’ll take the Rams with the points.

Chargers (+7) @ Steelers

I think this is one of the biggest games this week. I think the line is off, that this will be a much closer game. I think the edge goes to the team with the better coach, which is the Steelers. But I’ll take the Chargers with the points.

Packers (+4) @ Vikings

All the hype, I’m not convinced. Yeah, Favre pulled off an amazing play last weekend. But he can’t do that every week, and I think the Pack is the better team. Pack to win, and I’ll take them with the points.

Thursday Afternoon Quarterback

Ravens are 3-0. The last (only) time they started 3-0, they went 13-3, and I think this team is better than that one.

There’s not much to talk about after the Browns game. The Browns are just a bad team, and they can’t really be used to evaluate the performance of the team beating them.

The Ravens scored at will, held them to less than 200 total yards of offense, and ended up putting in backups in the 4th quarter. 4 interceptions sure makes the secondary look better, but it was the Browns.

Now it’s on to the Patriots. This is going to be a tough game against a good team, although I’m not sure the Patriots are better than the Ravens are this year; at least not yet. Brady still looks tentative, and their defense lost a lot of experience and talent in the offseason. They are 2-1 instead of 1-2 because the Bills beat themselves (I think the Bills are actually a better team this year than the Patriots). But they will be prepared on Sunday, they know this is a huge game.

Likewise, the Ravens will be fired up. I’m still waiting for the letdown game they always seem to have. Honestly, going into the bye week 5-1 or 4-2 would be just fine with me.

Given the way the two teams have been playing, I’ll stick with my preseason prediction and call it a win for the Ravens, but a close game with a lower score, maybe 21-17 or 24-20. The Patriots are a 1 point favorite, and the over/under is 44 or 45 or so, I think this is a tough game to predict, and I sure wouldn’t be putting much money on it if I were a gambling fellow.

Wednesday Mid Morning Quarterback

Ravens = 2-0. I did not predict this, but I’m pretty happy about it.

The offense looks pretty darn good. The running attack looks unstoppable (although the Chargers run defense wasn’t at full song). While 130 yards rushing isn’t spectacular, 4.1 yards per carry is pretty nice. The worries about receivers have been replaced (more on that in a minute) and as I happen to have predicted in the preseason, these guys are going to do just fine. You don’t need a bigtime playmaker to win games, you need a solid diverse core of good football players. The Ravens have that. And they have a pretty good QB. What I really like is that it seems they can score at will (3 touchdowns in 4 trips into the red zone? The Ravens?), and never let the game get out of their control. Also, there were spots where execution was brilliant (the Washington touchdown was an awesome play).

I’m going to buck the Baltimore sports radio trend and not go nuts about the secondary. Yes there’s a bit of weakness. Yes, I’d like to see a little more from those guys. But defense is truly a team effort, and a 60 yard pass play can start with the nose tackle making a mistake. The Chargers have a heck of an offense, and every one of their receivers is 6-5 and jacked, going up against our 5-10 180 pounders. I think they held their own OK, and while there were too many big plays, all but one had the damage contained. They made the tackle after the pass was caught, so there weren’t big yards after the catch. All in all, they played pretty well against a really tough matchup.

I’m not sure if the issue is the playcalling or the play but I would like to see a little improvement, and some work on eliminating the little mistakes on both sides of the ball.

The Ray Lewis play at the end of the game is what fans live for. Seriously. A jump up off the couch and spill the popcorn play. My dog is still hiding under the bed.

Oh, and have the Ravens ever been #1 in the ESPN Power Rankings?

Other game notes:

The Jets defense looks better than I expected, and the Patriots look terrible. They are lucky to be 1-1. The Jets offense will be their downfall if there is one.

How does a team win with 15 minutes time of possession? Payton Manning, that’s how. Wow.

Next week, Ravens face the Browns in Baltimore. They will be 14 point favorites (or more) but these are sometimes the games the Ravens have a let down. Harbaugh has done a good job eliminating that, this game may actually be a test. My prediction: Ravens 24, Browns 13. But I’m probably wrong.

Ravens, Week 1

To continue my traditional footblogging, albeit a little late this week: my comments on the Raven’s KC game and the upcoming game against the Chargers.

The KC game was an absolute blowout. KC scored 14 points on a blocked kick and a 70 yard INT run back, take those out, it’s 38 – 10, and could have been worse.

How can I say that? Because I think the Ravens were treating it like another preseason game with the offense, testing out the passing game a bit more. Flacco was great in the first half, a little off in the second, but there’s no worries. The running game is solid, I think they were still trying to work out some passing kinks.

The defense looked solid, although didn’t get much airtime due to the lopsided (almost 2:1) time of possession.

One thing I noticed is how wrong some people who get paid to talk about sports can be. Witness Pete Prisco at CBS, who says the Ravens D gave up too many yards and points.

Joe Flacco had a huge game with 307 yards and three touchdown passes. This is his team now. They’re not a running team anymore. The defense gave up a lot of yards and too many points for a Ravens defense, especially to a backup quarterback.

KC had a total of 188 yards.  29 total rushing yards.  Larry Johnson had 20 yards on 11 carries.  2-10 on third downs.  The Ravens average yards against per game in 2008 (when they were ranked 2nd in the NFL) was 261.  I don’t see how giving up 188 yards is ‘a lot’.  And I know 10 points isn’t ‘too many’.  But somehow he gets paid for his opinion, and I just blog and have 6 people read it.


Anyway, looking forward to this week, at the Chargers.  I predicted this would be a loss for the Ravens, but now I’m not so sure.  The Chargers got pretty banged up against the Raiders.  LT might not play.  I think if the Ravens are their usual physical selves and can overcome the SoCal heat and travel, they might pull this one out.  It won’t be a 38-10 blowout, though, they need to stick to the running attack and play outstanding defense, and come out with a 17-14 something like that.

2-0 would be a great start!

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