Flacco is not the issue . He helps us win (3 straight +10 win seasons). If he’s holding the ball – then it means the receiver he’s looking at did not come open. When they come open, they need to catch the ball. Zero penalties last week is impressive, but I’d prefer zero dropped passes this week.
The Patriots secondary is suspect – bottom line. There are plays to be made and we have 4 receivers who are capable in Boldin, our 2 TE’s, and especially Torrey Smith. The offensive line is the key to the game. Get physical on running plays and keep it up on passing downs.
Don’t forget that the Patriots defense allows 4.5 yards per carry. Oops. I guess the national media was watching tape from the Texan’s game and assumed that Belichick would magically make a trade for their front 7 – pulling his 2nd “Josh McDaniels” of the postseason. The Patriots run defense is battered and broken. Andre Carter is gone for the season. Spikes is back, but he and Wilfork will have to have the game of their lives if they want to hold Ray Rice under 100 yards.
Don’t get me wrong. The Patriots do a great job scheming to slow down Rice. But we aren’t necessarily a difficult schematic offense to figure out. We’re a bullying offense, an execute-the-play offense. Though there’s a lot of talent, we’re an effort team. What better motivation for Ray Rice and the offensive line then to watch the all-22 game tape from last week. It was pitiful. Piss-poor pass blocking. Lack-of-finish when run blocking. And then there’s Rice’s performance. You can’t get a yard? I know you’re short, but jump over the pile. Or don’t trip on your own feet (I counted 3 times).
Rice has a lot of pride, and a little bit of ego and bravdo this year. He wants to be the reason we win the game in his heart-of-hearts. He uses PC speak at the podium, but watching him you see that he’s filtering his thoughts (a lesson Ed Reed never learned because he came into the league under Billick and Rex Ryan). Dude is playing for his one-and-only payday. Rarely do running backs get 2 big contracts. So, this is it. Playing poorly in both playoff games will spell disaster for the Ravens tomorrow, but to Rice it means he can kiss Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson money good bye. Don’t forget the bonus he stands to make for getting to the Super Bowl (might just double this year’s base salary).
Being up here in New England, it’s a little nauseating to see how confident Pats fans are. They have dismissed us based on last weeks games and are already openly discussing who they’d rather play in the Superbowl (49ers for an easy win; Giants for a vengeful rematch). While the emotionally spiked fan base are licking their chops at a chance to play Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata (I don’t understand why?), the talk radio hosts have shown more sense. They still are picking the Patriots to win, but there is fear in their hearts. We are not the Broncos and they are not the Texans.
What we are is a physical team with the ability to matchup in all 3 phases. We are the type of team that beats the Patriots like we did in ’09 or the Jets did last year or the Steelers did this year. We are a team who is 7-0 against playoff teams this season. We have experienced veterans who know how to ball-out in the playoffs. We have younger players who could shine with a surprisingly dominant game that elevates us to the Super Bowl.
Quite frankly, there are so many different games that can be played on Sunday in which the Ravens have a good chance to win. But when I think about the type of game the Patriots have to play to secure a victory, I can only visualize one option: be explosive. Their offense has to put up points through the air. And after watching the Saints and Packers get bounced from the playoffs (on the road and out of rhythm respectively) there is a real chance that the Patriots only put up 20 points. I am confident the Ravens can score 24 points on their defense.
I guess New Englanders should ask themselves how confident are they that the Patriots can score 30 against, “the best safety to ever play.”
-New England’s Head Coach, Bill Belichick
I like the Ravens 27-24, in a 60-minute ball game.
And now, you’re moment of zen…