The second half of the season kicks off in style when the Baltimore Ravens travel to Atlanta to take on Matt Ryan and the Falcons under the bright lights of Thursday Night prime-time football. The Ravens will be coming off of four days rest after hosting the Miami Dolphins the previous Sunday. Fortunately they played that game in Baltimore so there is no time lost on travel and they can get right to preparing for the game.
After that game the worst thing in football happens for Ravens' fans. We will have to sit through 10 days of no Ravens football to watch as the team has their Bye week, but no worries, you can watch the Jets smack around the Browns that 1st Sunday, Pittsburgh plays New England and the Bengals play the Colts. This is a key week for the Ravens as they can take a step up on the division even without stepping onto the playing fiel!. The Dolphins will be playing the Bears that following Thursday if you care.
Then our "Mighty Men" travel to Carolina to take on Matt Moore and the Panthers? Stop shaking, it's going to be okay, he's only thrown 249 passes in the last 3 years, not throwing a ball in '08, but had a rating of 67 in '07 and a 98.5 in '09. Joe Flacco, meanwhile has thrown 927 times in 2 years for a rating of 80.3 in '08 and 88.9 in '09. Oh yeah, he has also got 3 playoff road wins in Tennessee, Miami and New England, with 2 losses in Pittsburgh and Indy.
The next week the Ravens get a "bye" in the form of Tampa, whose offense and defense ranked among the worst in football last year. Their QB Josh Freeman had a 54.5 completion percentage with a rating of 59.8 last year.
Then for this section's finale, our boys play the Steelers to Baltimore in Prime Time, Sunday night.
Ready? Let's go:
Game 9: @ the Atlanta Falcons, Thursday Night Football Nov. 11th @ 8:20 pm
Looking through the off season moves of the Falcons, I was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find anything exciting outside of the Robinson signing. When you see phrases like: "the team is making low-key moves" and "having a quiet, but solid off season", they're not trying to win any more game then they did last year. In fact, you will lose more, because you are bringing the same old same old to your division. I'll be surprised if the Falcons have a better record then 9-7. It's 8-8 for me and Matt Ryan falls to Joe Flacco, yet again.
Game 10: @ the Carolina Panthers, Sunday afternoon Nov. 21st @ 1:00 pm
Out: Julius Peppers DE, Damione Lewis DE/DT, Ma'ake Kemoeatu DT, Jake Delhomme QB, A.J. Feeley QB, Brad Hoover FB, Muhsin Muhammed WR, Keydrick Vincent G, Hollis Thomas DT, Na'il Diggs OLB, Chris Harris S, Quinton Teal S
In: Ed Johnson DT, Marcus Hudson CB, Aaron Francisco S, Jamar Williams OLB
This team is a mess, but has some strong features. Their running game is impressive but they still need stability at QB from either Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen to open up the lanes for Williams and Stewart. Unfortunately their #1 receiver Smith broke his arm and will be questionable for the season start. They should rely heavily on the running game and that is the Ravens forté. Without another proven receiver and a defensive line depleted of quality, the Ravens can flourish against this team with a strong running game, because throwing the ball can be difficult, since their secondary was 4th versus the pass.
Game 11: vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday afternoon Nov. 28th @ 1:00 pm
Out: Byron Leftwich QB, Antonio Bryant WR, Brian Clark WR, Arron Sears G, Jimmy Wilkerson DE, Chris Hovan DT, Matt McCoy OLB, Jermaine Phillips S/OLB, Will Allen S
In: Reggie Brown WR, Keydrick Vincent G, Jon Alston OLB, Sean Jones SS
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will rely on the input of their rookies. Josh Freeman has had an up and down season last year, but may have the potential to be a good QB for Tampa. They won't make any team cringe just yet, but this group could develop over the next few years and become a solid team. Things can change quickly though in the NFL. Like I said before, the Ravens won't do any damage to their record by overlooking this team and preparing for...
Game 12: vs the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday Night Football Dec. 5th @ 8:20 pm
Please read part 1 to go over the main details for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This game is probably going to be the deciding factor for division dominance. By now the Ravens should have beating them once without Ben and now have to battle against him in M&T Bank. Advantage: Ravens. With only 4 games left on the schedule after this game, the Ravens really have to step it up and use home field advantage to keep ahead in the AFC North. Ben will be in a grove by this time in the season as he is trying to show his team that he is still capable of bringing it on the field. I am sure with all his antics, his performance will be heavily scrutinized and the pressure may be in him to perform. Maybe there is a chance the pressure can get to him but it is unlikely seeing as how their soft schedule could have them level with the Ravens and he is looking to take 1st place. Count this as the most important game of the season on Sunday Night in our house!
(Written by Arjan @ BmoreFan)