In a few hours, we will all be witnesses to the Brian St. Pierre Spectacular. A game that was previously an afterthought on the NFL schedule this week because of the gap in talent between the two teams has become one of the games to watch this week, all because of a fourth-string quarterback who’s played two games in seven NFL seasons. It’s ironic because St. Pierre will try to beat a team that placed him on their practice squad in 2005, and cut him completely from their team in 2006. That means a man who could not beat out a 33-year old Kordell Stewart for a roster spot will try to beat the 6-3, AFC North-leading Ravens today.
If everything goes according to plan, the Ravens should take this game and improve their record to 7-3. Just to let you know how favored the Ravens are, there is an 11-point spread in favor of the Ravens, who are the away team in this game. If anything, all of this reeks of the Bills matchup, meaning that the Purple Birds need to have a good head on their shoulders today, jump out to an early lead, and never look back.
Le’Ron McClain/Todd Heap vs. Jon Beason: Jon Beason is one of the NFL’s best linebackers, and it’s not a secret. In order for the Ravens to win, they need Ray Rice to get a good amount of carries and get yards on the ground. If McClain or Heap, whoever the lead blocker is, can bottle up Beason and force other Panthers to make tackles, Rice could break off some big gains. If not, Beason could rack up a lot of tackles, and really disrupt the Ravens’ offense.
Ed Reed vs. Brian St. Pierre: I don’t think Brian St. Pierre would’ve wished for it any better. In his first career NFL start, the journeyman quarterback will be privileged enough to see Ed Reed lining up on the opposite side of the ball. If St. Pierre is nervous, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar with the Panthers’ offense as most pundits have suggested, #20 could have a field day. Reed is always a step ahead of any NFL quarterback, so imagine how many steps ahead he’ll be of St. Pierre, the fourth-string passer on the league’s worst team. Unless BSP (cool nickname, huh?) learned some secrets about Reed while in Baltimore, he has a tough job ahead of him.
- Tom Zbikowski is OUT for the Ravens.
- Chris Chester is listed as QUESTIONABLE, but Aaron Wilson has reported he will be OUT for the game. Tony Moll is the likely replacement.
- Running backs Jonathan Stewart and Tyrell Sutton are both OUT for the Panthers. With DeAngelo Williams on the IR, this means 2nd-year back Mike Goodson will get nearly all of the carries.
- Brandon LaFell is OUT for the Panthers.
While I don’t think St. Pierre will stink up the joint as many have been presuming, the Panthers have no shot of winning with him under center. Ravens 31, Panthers 6. Player of the Game honors will go to Ray Rice, who will have his best game of the season.