This is a very unfortunate situation for all fans out there. And it’s a poor situation for every football blogger out there as well. Why? There’s really nothing to write about anymore. Yes, there’s the lockout but can people really talk about that every day and more than once a day? It’s very difficult because not only is the situation confusing, it’s boring and, most importantly, depressing. I have tuned out the lockout and everything about it because it feels like it will not ever end. However, the NFLPA head, DeMaurice Smith, promised us all yesterday that the NFLPA and the owners are working as hard as possible to make sure there’s football this season. Even if that’s the case, it sucks to not be focused on free agency and trades and training camp and all of the preseason stuff.
So, I want to talk football. I’m going to take a look at the Ravens schedule week-by-week and give you guys MY rundown of how I think things are going to go. I know it’s early and difficult since the roster isn’t even close to being set yet. We could sign some good players and lose some defensive players that we are in desperate need of (CBs for example). I’m also not going to do preseason games because, let’s be honest, they mean absolutely nothing and no one really cares about them/watches them (except losers like me).
Week One review after the jump.
Week One: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (9/11 @ 1 PM)
Oh boy. What a freakin way to start off the season. A divisional match-up against the despised Squealers. I know we all want to say “Oh, we’ll definitely win this time!” and you know what, I think we can. Harbaugh and Flacco have yet to beat the Steelers when Roethlisberger is in the game in 3 years. He is definitely our Achilles heel like nothing else and I know that every single member of the Ravens is fed up with this. They have been since 2008 and it’s gotten worse. Especially since every game has been so close and last year the SNF game at M&T Bank was in their hands until a few bad plays by the Ravens and that pesky Polamalu turned it around. I don’t think they will let this happen again TWICE. If all goes well and Roethlisberger is healthy all season, the Ravens may beat him. But only once and their only opportunity is in this game. I’m sorry but there is no way the Ravens are coming out of that game as winners in Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football. No way. It’s too big a stage and at home. So if the Ravens lose this game, they’ll be swept. If not, they’ll come out tied.
We know how every single game between these two teams is a close one and I say the Ravens come out with a 13-10 win. Assuming the loss at Pittsburgh is guaranteed, if we lose this game, I say we lose the division right then. If we win, depending on the rest of the season for both teams, we have a chance to win the division. This is such a huge game and I’m so excited that it’s the first one of the season AND that we open at home.
3 Keys to Winning:
Again, this is tough since we don’t know the full team and everything but here it goes.
1. Joe Flacco: He has to lead this team to victory. He needs to get rid of the ball QUICK, always know where Polamalu is, and minimize interceptions/fumbles AT ALL COSTS. These mistakes are what breaks us in these games. I think he will be able to do this with another year under his belt plus a better receiving corp (Torrey Smith + whatever other moves the Ravens make) as well as being given the offensive reigns. It has been said that Cam Cameron will still call the plays, but it’s also been made clear that Flacco will have more freedom and say in what he does.
2. Offensive Line: One of the keys to Joe Flacco is for him to not fumble/throw interceptions. This is aided by the OL. Michael Oher had a sub par season last year and really needs to stop with the false starts and other penalties. If he can go back to the Oher 2 years ago, that’s a good start. Jared Gaither is all but done because everyone involved with the Ravens is fed up with him (including the fans). Jah Reid has a chance to start opposite of Oher, which may be a big deciding factor.
3. Cornerbacks: Jimmy Smith will play a big role in the Ravens defense for the whole season. The defense is always the biggest piece to these games and it will be no different now. Last season, the Ravens were pretty weak at CB and now that Webb, Josh Wilson, and Chris Carr are all free agents, we have another problem. I’m hoping we can resign one of the 3 (I would hope Wilson, but it’s more likely to be Carr who was decent) as well as having Jimmy Smith, Domonique Foxworth, and hopefully signing a big name CB (this would be incredible).
What do you guys think about this game? How will it go and what are the keys to winning?