This is a must-win for the Ravens. It’s a really-badly-want-to-win for the Vikes. It’s going to be intense. You can bet that the Ravens defense wants to prove to the league and to their fans that they are still as good as they can be, but it will have to be seen if they can actually deliver on that. The key to winning today’s game will be the defenses. The Ravens need to contain the Viking’s more than capable attack and keep Adrian Peterson out of the end zone. They need to force mistakes from Brett Favre, because when one comes, more come. The Vikes will need to keep Joe Flacco out of a rhythm and contain the two-headed monster of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee. Should be fun.
Vikings Pass Rush vs. Ravens Offensive Line: Last week I also highlighted this matchup, but this week the pass rush is much better. Led by Jared Allen, the Vikings have a big, physical defensive line. Jared Gaither is doubtful and did not participate in any practice this week, so it’s even more important that the o-line steps up for Flacco. He’s only been sacked 7 times this year, but in the last two weeks, he’s been sacked twice both times. The line needs to continue its stellar play, even without its star.
Ravens Linebackers vs. Vikings Checkdown Routes: This has been the single most annoying thing I have seen from this team so far. Everyone is covered downfield, and somebody’s about to hit the quarterback, and then a guy two feet away from him gets open, and takes the pass for a first down. The linebackers or whoever is responsible for those players need to step up. The last two games have been won from passes like those and this game needs to be different if they want any shot at winning.
DOUBTFUL: T Jared Gaither
PROBABLE: LB Jarret Johnson, TE Edgar Jones, DT Haloti Ngata, WR David Tyree, WR Mark Clayton
DOUBTFUL: WR Darius Reynald
QUESTIONABLE: WR Percy Harvin, T Phil Loadholt
PROBABLE: DE Rey Edwards, CB Cedric Griffin, G Steve Hutchinson, FB Naufahu Tahi
I gotta stop picking the Ravens to win, but I honestly believe that they can win this game if they play the way they did the first two weeks and the first three quarters against the Patriots. I’m not giving a player of the game this time though, because those have always been WAY off. 33-27, Ravens win in overtime.