What to say, what to say

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?

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  • Evan

    I think you should write this opinion piece but not publish it until you know who is actually on the team.

    You give the Steelers and Roethlisberger entirely too much credit. You think Baltimore has 0 chance of winning at night in Pittsburgh. Are you wearing a #43 jersey?

    Pitt has problems at QB, O line, CB, and safety. What makes you think they’re so good?

    • Cornelious

      Ok Evan, the writer is not wearing a 43 jersey, but in fact wearing a “im not a naive ravens fan” hat. Shes not being one of them and you should stop being one yourself. The facts she stated are enough for us to stay grounded here. Stop acting like the Ravens are the be all and end all when in comes to football. They are not the Patriots or the Colts. Not the Packers. And NOT the Steelers. Long gone are the days of the dominating defense with the core players getting up there in age. The Super Bowl victory was over a decade ago…. Thats a long time for every Raven fan to keep using the notoriety of that to hold the franchise up on such a high level. Lauren merely stated the facts. Flacco and Harbaugh (the mediocre combo at best. These are my words not hers)cannot beat Ben Roethlisberger. When Dennis Dixon or Charlie Batch are playing, the matchup is quite even. However, when Roethlisberger is playing, the Steelers are by far and away a better team. Because Roethlisberger is much better then Flaccover at this stage in their respective careers. And I do not see that changing for the foreseeable future. Roethlisberger wins big games. And against the Ravens. And Super Bowls. Everyone says the two teams defenses are very similar and evenly matched. Well what makes the Steelers better to beat the Ravens every time they play? You could say better coaching (which clearly there is) but I would pin it more on better Quarterback play. Now is it entirely possible for the Ravens to go into Pitt and win a game with Roethlisberger playing? Yes of course it is. Just like its possible for the Browns to walk into Baltimore and beat the REAL browns,but neither of which are all too likely at this stage in the NFL. And I think this is what she is getting out of it. She is a Ravens fan which is pretty obvious. Shes just not one who is thinking unrealistically.

  • Cornelious

    Oh and by the way, what makes pittsburgh so good??? I’m Pretty sure they went to the Super Bowl and but our team in the process about 3 and a half months ago…that would make them good…

  • Evan

    Thanks for the response! Let the author respond with support for her claims.

  • Lauren Tilley

    Well Cornelious is right. First off, it’s very upsetting to think just because I say the Ravens will lose to the Steelers in Pitt that I’m automatically a Steelers fan. Obviously, I’m a Ravens fan or I wouldn’t be writing for this blog. And to respond to your first comment about waiting until the rosters are set, I did mention in my post that this is obviously very early because we don’t know who’s going to be on what team but I was going to do it now because I didn’t want to write about the lockout whatsoever.

    You asked what makes me think Pittsburgh is so good….well let’s look at it.
    In 2008, they went 12-4, were division champs, swept the Ravens, beat them in the 2nd round of the playoffs and won the Superbowl. In 2009, they went 9-7 which isn’t great and not typical like them. They lost to the Ravens at Pitt….but Dennis Dixon played. And we won in OT which we should have been able to beat them easily. They won at home…with Roethlisberger playing.
    Last season, they went 12-4 were division champs, lost to us in Pitt…with Charlie Batch playing and again beat us in Baltimore…with Ben Roethlisberger playing (with a broken nose, mind you). They beat us in the 2nd round of the playoffs AGAIN and went to the Superbowl.

    It’s pretty obvious that they’re good. They’re one of the best teams in the league almost every season and are always thought of as the best defensive team. I am not an over confident fan every season like a lot of people are and I’m not a fan who’s going to say the Ravens are better than the Steelers because they have yet to prove that since they cannot beat them when they’re starting QB is playing. Yes they may have those problems that you stated but the Ravens have problems too and it’s obvious through last season that Pittsburgh’s problems aren’t as bad as Baltimore’s since they were still able to beat us once in the regular season with Roethlisberger and in the playoffs with Roethlisberger. Like I said, if he’s healthy for both games, I think the Ravens can beat him. But it sure as hell isn’t going to happen twice in the regular season and it’s extremely hard to win in Pittsburgh. Yes the Ravens won last year in Pitt but they barely did. It came down to the last 2 minutes and that was with Batch playing QB for Pitt, which is again pretty pathetic that it was that hard for the Ravens to beat them.