PREVIEW: Ravens Duke It Out With Da Bears

BALTIMORE – The recently jump-started Baltimore offense hits the field to see if they can find consistency for the second straight week when they take on the Chicago Bears (1-4) this Sunday. The Ravens (3-2) look to be without DT Brandon Williams again and, although they are at a semi-respectable 3-2 record, they could very well be .500 by 4:30 on Sunday.

The Bears have a very solid running game with stud running back Jordan Howard and jitterbug Tarik Cohen. This season, Howard and Cohen combine for 118 touches and 522 yards (4.4 YPC) on the ground with four touchdowns. Howard has seen an increase in action over the last few weeks while Cohen seems to be an afterthought in the Bears offense. With rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky under center, both running backs will see plenty of carries to start the contest at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens came alive last week on the first play of the game against Oakland when Joe Flacco uncorked a beautiful rainbow throw to Mike Wallace for the longest offensive play of the year thus far for Baltimore. Wallace continued to add big plays to the game script with another 50+ YD catch later in the game to set up a Buck Allen TD run. There was a Breshad Perriman sighting as well, as he finally managed to catch a ball. Jeremy Maclin excelled as the main possession receiver, consistently bailing out Flacco in pressure situations. Even in the play where Flacco danced around the pocket, fell, and delivered a floater, Maclin was right there and made the play.

The Ravens offensive line played consistently and stand-ins Matt Skura and Jermaine Eluemenor were very serviceable. According to Pro Football Focus, center Ryan Jensen had the highest rating of any NFL center during week 5. The Ravens only committed one penalty against the Raiders, an amazing feat considering they haven’t had that few of penalties since the winter of 2011. John Harbaugh was visibly pleased at the line’s performance.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR:

  1. Bears RBs: Howard and Cohen, if not held in check, have the ability to trample the Williams-less Ravens defensive unit. In week 4, Le’veon Bell had over 150 all-purpose yards and we could very well see more of the same against this front.
  2. Ravens WRs: With the unit seemingly catching fire at the most opportune time, the Bears shaky secondary could fall victim to the pure speed that is possessed by Baltimore. Calvert Hall Alum Adrian Amos is the best player in the secondary for this young Bears squad. Wallace will look to continue his ridiculous production after setting the record for yards-per-catch in a game by a Raven, previously held by Qadry Ismail. Perriman looks to become more of a factor and shake the premature title of bust.
  3. Bears Defense: Surprisingly, this unit is sixth in the league in total defense, which doesn’t bode particularly well for the offensively-challenged Baltimore Ravens.
  4. Trubisky: After a mixed bag start for the rookie, Trubisky looks to yet again step into the crucible and take on one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. He could have a very good game if the offensive line holds up, but chances are he will struggle mightily, as Baltimore’s secondary is far more talented than Minnesota’s.

Details:

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears

What: Week 6 NFL regular season

When: 1:00 p.m.. ET, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017

Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

TV Channel: FOX

Live Stream: NFL Game PassFOX Sports Go

Radio: WBAL News Radio 1090 , BaltimoreRavens.com

Point Spread: Baltimore, -6.5

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 84 degrees, partly cloudy

Image Credit: NFL

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Preview: Ravens and Steelers #47

BALTIMORE – Yes, you read the title right. Sunday, Oct. 1st marks the 47th time the Black & Purple have taken on the Black & Yellow. Its been back and forth for so many years, but recently (starting back in 2010) the Ravens have been running the show with a 10-6 record against their biggest rival. The Ravens look to bounce back from last week’s stinker in London and take firm control of the rugged AFC North.

After a confidence-shattering loss on Christmas Day last year, Baltimore has faith in its squad to get adequate revenge on the opponent that effectively removed them from playoff contention. Pittsburgh has gotten off to a rather sluggish start this season. The Steelers lost in overtime last week to the Chicago Bears, who used their patented “Thunder and Lightning” combination of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen to trample Pittsburgh and make their defense look like a wet paper towel, a far cry from the Steel Curtain of old. The Bears RBs last week combined for 218 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

Things To Look For:

  1. Steelers’ Front Seven: After getting gashed by the Bears last week, Pittsburgh is going to want to tighten up ship if they will be able to shut down second-year upstart Alex Collins. The Ravens’ offense may be ranked 32nd right now, but the way the Steelers defense has played recently, Baltimore faithful should have something to hope for.
  2. Ravens Front Seven: After an abysmal performance last week where the absent Brandon Williams was sorely missed, the Ravens allowed 410 total yards (ironic, isn’t it?). With Williams still not a slam dunk to play, and young star Brent Urban on IR now with a Lisfranc injury, young bucks Bronson Kaufusi and Chris Wormley will be heavily relied on to stop Le’Veon Bell.
  3. Ravens Offensive Line: Joe Flacco was pummeled last week (5 QB hits, 2 sacks). The Marshal Yanda – sized hole is not going to be filled until he returns next season, which means more of the same for the stagnant Baltimore offense. Look for Collins to be Baltimore’s biggest playmaker behind this scattershot unit.
  4. Flacco: Coming off the worst statistical game of his career last week (8-for-18, 28 yards, 44% COMP, 2 INTs), fans will see what Flacco and the staff have done in the last week to adjust.

Expect this game to be close as all recent games in this rivalry have been.

My Prediction: 24-21 Ravens. Defense wins the day after last week’s debacle.

Catch the game on local television this Sunday on CBS with Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts on the call. You can also catch the radio broadcast on the home of the Baltimore Ravens, WBAL-AM 1090 and FM 98 Rock with Gerry Sandusky,  Stan White and Dennis Pitta on the call. Gameday audio will also stream on the Ravens’ website.

Enjoy Everyone!

Follow Vasilios on Twitter at @VtheNFLGuy for more commentary and behind the scenes!

Photo Credit: ESPN

The Ravens’ British Meltdown

LONDON – For all of the fans that made the trek to Wembley stadium, this may have been the worst game they could have possibly seen. As for the fans already established in the United Kingdom, things were much worse for them:

 

The Ravens lost 44-7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday morning, their game ending at approximately 12:35pm. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that I regret waking up for the utter pile of dung that was left on the pitch. Not only did the Ravens get beat, they got trounced, looking extremely sluggish and underestimating their opponent. The Jaguars were the better team in London on Sunday, that much was clear.

Baltimore may have hurt their fans with their performance today, but nothing stung more than the players taking a knee for the National Anthem, as evidenced by the hundreds of fans that declared their hatred for their (former) team by burning memorabilia and selling season tickets. Based on what you believe or what your political stance is, you may see this situation differently, but either way this route will definitely harm NFL viewership.

The only bright spot for the Ravens in this awful showing was the play of 2nd year back Alex Collins. 9 carries for 82 yards, the largest total he’s had in his career, led all Baltimore RBs . Although its not the statistics that make it most impressive, its the way he found lanes the other backs could not find and made defenders miss. Look for Collins’ workload to increase next week vs. Pittsburgh. The missing puzzle pieces Marshal Yanda & Brandon Williams, the anchors of each unit, were sorely missed, as evidenced by the poor performances of the O-line & D-line. Joe Flacco threw 2 interceptions, one of which was to the fault of Jeremy Maclin.

The Ravens look to rebound against their biggest rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday October 1st at M&T Bank Stadium.

 

 

Ravens – Jaguars: Battle for London’s Heart

LONDON – As thousands of Baltimore natives flock to Wembley stadium to watch their home team participate in the International Series for the very first time, equally as many people will enjoy their morning coffee in the United States. with a game of football at 9:30 AM. As the NFL expands it’s influence beyond the U.S, more and more of the United Kingdom’s citizens are becoming fans of the “off-brand” rugby, as it has been referred to. There are an overwhelming amount of Ravens and Jaguars fans that are native to the UK and have their respective fan clubs.

Sunday will mark the fourth consecutive year that Baltimore has faced Jacksonville in the regular season, something fans haven’t seen since the days of the AFC Central rivalry. The Ravens own two of the last three matchups and look to extend their winning ways against Jacksonville to 3-1 over the last four years.

Some things to look for in this matchup:

Ravens Offensive Line: With future Hall of Fame guard Marshal Yanda done for the season with a broken ankle, Tony Bergstrom will be thrusted into the front five. How they will handle a Jaguars defense that exploded for 10 sacks in week 1? Joe Flacco will have his hands full nonetheless.

Blake BortlesThis guy is awful, probably the worst QB the Ravens will face this season. Baltimore could easily capitalize on mistakes made by Bortles and leave the game with another 5 turnover game to their name.

Brandon Williams OUT: After suffering an ankle injury in last week’s 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns, defensive tackle Brandon Williams will not play on Sunday. Without the anchor on Baltimore’s defensive line, Leonard Fournette could see a lot of carries up the middle to try and take advantage of Williams’ absence

Ravens WRs: It’ll be fun to watch the downfield sparring matches that will undoubtedly take place between WRs Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin, and DBs A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey has not practiced all week (ankle), but he did not practice all of last week and still played against the Titans. Ramsey says he will play against the Ravens, despite his ankle problem. It could go either way as there will be at least one big play on each side.

Ravens Run Game: Although early runs look promising, we have yet to see if the Ravens will continue to run in a pressure situation, which they could face from the Jaguars.

Whoever wins this matchup will own bragging rights, bring back memories of good times in the AFC Central.

Catch the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Sept. 24 at 9:30am ET. from Wembley Stadium CBS/WJZ-TV (Ch. 13), YAHOO!
98 Rock, WBAL-1090 AM, Baltimore Ravens’ website.

Commentators: Andrew Catalon and James Lofton

 

Game Preview: Ravens open up 2017 campaign in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — With Joe Flacco, Breshad Perriman, and Danny Woodhead all returning to practice the same day last week, it’s been looking bright for Baltimore. Since Joe Flacco entered the league back in 2008, the Ravens are 3-6 in Cincinnati. The only difference this time around is Cincinnati’s offensive line is a shell of its former self, with Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher headlining the unit instead of Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth.

The Bengals are also a few men short, LB Vontaze Burfict, CB Adam Jones, and rookie WR John Ross are all out for week 1, giving the offensively-challenged Ravens a chance to start quickly. The Ravens have announced that rookie DB Jaylen Hill will be out for week 1.

What to Look For: 

  1. The Ravens O-Line: It remains to be seen if the patchwork offensive line, outside of Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda, will be able to protect Flacco and his ailing back, let alone open up holes for a struggling Terrance West.
  2. Andy DaltonThe Bengals QB will be facing a lot of adversity in week 1. In addition to playing with untested linemen and wide receivers, he happens to be playing against the best and most physical defense the Ravens have fielded in many moons.
  3. Ravens Defensive Secondary: Going against A.J. Green has always been tough for the purple and black, but now that they solidified the safety positions with Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson, Green may not make much of an impact. Rookie CB Marlon Humphrey has looked very impressive in his preseason snaps
  4. Ravens Pass Rush: With the struggles the Bengals are certain to have at OL, look for rookie LB Tyus Bowser and established veteran Terrell Suggs to terrorize Andy Dalton and disrupt the running game.
  5. Joe Flacco: After many months of not throwing a single pass, Flacco is going to immediately be thrown into the crucible with established DT Geno Atkins looking to take him down. Flacco has to be able to make all the throws and manage the game to make it work.

My Prediction: Ravens win 21-20 in Cincy

Where: Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, Ohio

When: Sunday, Sept. 10, 1:00 pm

Network & Commentators: CBS, Spero Dedes & Adam Archuleta

How to watch/listen: Ravens fans can catch the game on their local CBS station. Fans out of market can watch on NFL Sunday Ticket. Gerry Sandusky and Stan White have the call on WBAL 1090, 98 Rock, and gameday audio will also stream on the Baltimore Ravens website.

Image Credit: Baltimore Sports and Life

Preview: Ravens vs. Saints Preseason Finale

Baltimore – With the seemingly never-ending preseason wrapping up, fans will get one last look at the backups and the hopefuls that are striving for a roster spot this Thursday. The Ravens will venture down to the Big Easy, where they won Super Bowl 47 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome a few years ago. The Ravens have played the Saints four times in the preseason and have won each contest thus far. This also happens to be the fourth consecutive year that the Ravens battle the Saints in the preseason.

Things To Look For: Since this is the fourth preseason game, don’t expect to see many starters, if at all. Josh Woodrum is the presumed starter under center and undrafted RB Taquan Mizzell will look to further solidify his spot on the 53-man roster. Other players to look for on offense include WR Quincy Adeboyejo, WR Chris Matthews, WR C.J. Board, & WR Vince Mayle.

Defensively, the Ravens have never had as much depth as they do now. Players to look out for on this side of the ball: LB Bam Bradley, who has a chance to thrive because of the injury to fellow LB and special teams star Albert McClellan, DE Patrick Ricard has the versatility to play almost every position even on offense. Most notably, CB Jaylen Hill

has had an incredible preseason. After coming to camp for a simple tryout as an undrafted player, he looks to be one of the team’s most exciting rookies yet. With a very respectable stat line of nine tackles, five passes defensed, and two interceptions, he could possibly be the answer to the injury of Tavon Young, the slot corner that went down with a knee injury back in OTAs. Hill looks to get some more playing time on Thursday, but his roster spot is basically guaranteed at this point.

Joe Flacco has started throwing, but not practicing. At last week’s post-game press conference,  Head Coach John Harbaugh promised that Flacco would be back in time for Week 1 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. The three-game suspension that LB Vontaze Burfict now serves will definitely make it easier on Flacco.

Until next time! Follow me @VtheNFLGuy on twitter for more on this matchup!

The Ravens kick off at 8pm ET on Thursday from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, make sure to tune in via TV (WBAL TV-11) or radio (98 Rock + 1090 AM) to hear Gerry Sandusky and Brian Billick with the call. 

Photo credit: USAToday

Series Preview: O’s soaring after sweep, set sights to visiting Mariners

Baltimore– After a long weekend of dominant baseball up north by the Orioles in which they held the opposing Boston Red Sox to only four runs in three games, the Birds return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to take on the Mariners. This series begins a 10-game homestand for Baltimore. The two clubs last played a couple of weeks ago in Seattle where the O’s got off to a hot start by winning the first contest, 11-3. But as the series continued, the Orioles took a few steps back, as their bats fell asleep after scoring 11 runs in game 1. They proceeded to lose the 2nd game 1-3, then to closed out the series allowing seven runs in a 6-7 loss.

The season series is currently owned by the Mariners 2-1, but based on the way Baltimore has carried themselves into being only half a game behind Seattle and Los Angeles respectively, Seattle looks like they’re in trouble. Baltimore is also only two games back of the 2nd Wild Card spot that Minnesota currently holds. If all goes right, the Orioles could secure themselves a playoff berth in the coming days.

GAME 1: Pitching: Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.75 ERA) vs. Marco Gonzales (0-1, 7.40 ERA), MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Pitching: Dylan Bundy (12-8, 4.18 ERA) vs. Erasmo Ramirez (5-4, 4.52 ERA), MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Pitching: Ubaldo Jimenez (5-9, 6.57 ERA) vs. Ariel Miranda (8-6, 4.62 ERA), MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Up Next: The Orioles welcome Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays to town for four games, then the Yankees arrive to finish off the homestand with 3 games.

Photo Credit: USAToday