When the old Tonight Show featuring Johnny Carson was on, he had a skit with the Great Carnak the Magnificent. Carnak would read the answers (repeated by Ed McMahon) and then read the hilarious questions. So here we go with the related topic of above:
The answers are: kidnap him, put grease on his hands and tie his shoestrings together.
The question is: How do the Baltimore Ravens stop Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark?
Short of doing those dastardly deeds, there is not much else to do to expect to be the first team to knock off the Indianapolis Colts from the ranks of the two unbeaten teams in 2009. Of course, we could always go the "Brady Quinn" route, but that would not be the right way to win a game, although Quinn sure made it a bit more difficult by taking our our best pass rusher this past Monday night.
Usually I come up with a solid game plan for the team but if New England Patriots can't do it, then how can the Ravens expect to win? That's an easy one....I think. No, it is possible in the NFL as it is so hard to win all sixteen games although the Pats did prove it is indeed possible and with two teams still without a loss this season, it is definitely within reach.
The Ravens will try to do what they came so close to doing in 2007 when they came within a minute of upsetting the Patriots in Baltimore, only to fall in the game's final moments just like the Pats did at the Colts last Sunday night. Perhaps we will pull one of those efforts out of our helmets and actually play for all sixty minutes instead of just 59. However, we will have to get off to a better start than we have since we last played New England earlier this year, which was the last time the Ravens offense scored a touchdown in the first half. Yes, that's no typo, check it out yourself. As many points as this team has put up this season, an overwhelming majority was put up in the second half and especially the 4th quarter.
The answer to this game's success is pretty obvious, considering the desperate nature of where the Ravens sit along with the great success of our opponent. We know what Peyton Manning can do with the ball in his hands all game, much less the last couple of minutes. If this game is close down the stretch, it's probably as good as over and if it ends up with the Colts' Matt Stover putting the dagger in our hearts with a game winning field goal, then I'd prefer Manning to blow us out long before that.
However, if, and this is a huge "if," the Ravens can establish the run game and keep the Colts offense off the field for much of the game, winning the time of possession battle and consistently putting together long drives that culminate with touchdowns (not FG's), then perhaps, just perhaps...
Short of that, winning the turnover battle with a few tipped balls turned into interceptions and easy points, combined with a couple of fumble recoveries and great special teams' play, the Ravens chances to win this game are pretty slim despite them only being a one point underdog right now on most oddsmakers betting lines. Then again, who knows which Ravens team will show up Sunday?
PS- Panthers over the Dolphins tonight: There are two teams, one in each conference, both coming around after starting off the season looking horrible. The NFC team is Carolina and the AFC team are the Tennessee Titans, both of which no one is looking forward to playing them.