We thought the victory against the Raiders was a sign of things to come for the Ravens. We thought that they perhaps were on the upward swing, but on the road the Chicago Bears exposed the offensive line's true colors. It wasn't pretty.
Now, the Ravens travel to Minnesota to face one of the league's top defenses and a familiar foe in Mike Zimmer. It will get ugly.
Linval Joseph could make it impossible to run. But it is Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr that could become the game changers as the Vikings will feature gap exachange concepts from double-A gap looks that will confuse the Ravens guards. Barr is among the best blitzers at his position due to his time playing outside linebacker at UCLA. Zimmer will look to match Barr up against Buck Allen who is a less than ideal pass protector.
While Joe Flacco's blind side should be relatively safe with Ronnie Stanley guarding it, Everson Griffen will be sure to challenge his ability to anchor, which has been questioned in the past. On the other side, Austin Howard could be in trouble against Danielle Hunter as the former is not the fleetest of foot. Hunter is a terrific athlete whose get off and long arms will set up speed to power moves against Howard who could be foced to “open the gate” and flip his hips early.
Not only do the one-on-one matchups heavily favor Minnesota, but when their blitz schemes and stunts are considered, it becomes extremely hard to be positive regarding the Ravens offensive prospects for this coming game. It is hard to see this offense who has struggled immensely to start the season score more than 13 points on the road, against what is a juggernaut of a unit.