Flacco has been called many things by many people. One of these terms is “inconsistent.” However, I like to think of him as unpredictable, as I do for the Ravens as well, since you never really can predict what will happen in any of their games.
They can play down to their weak opponents or blow them out of the water. They can lose like they’re predicted to against the toughest opponents or upset them devastatingly.
The one consistent theme in Flacco’s career thus far has been his domination over the Browns. Specifically, he is 10-0 against that team. There is something about Cleveland’s team that Flacco does not give much of a chance to win…
The Ravens team themselves have several great records that will continue Sunday. One of these is a 4-0 record in the Harbaugh era following a loss by 20+ points. There are also the performances following a Thursday game that the Ravens seem to be very good at. The 10 days between games gives the Ravens a sort of “half bye week”, and we should know by now how undefeatable the Ravens are following a bye.
I assume other fans acted as I did last Thursday and stopped watching the game sometime early during the 2nd half. What stood out to me when looking at the box score is Flacco’s stats: 34/62 for 362 yards. Now, unless your quarterback is Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, your team never wins a game where the quarterback throw 50+ passes. Teams normally throw an exceedingly large number of passes when they’re behind by multiple scores in the second half, and the Broncos game was no different. Rice’s stats suffered mainly because the Ravens were attempted to come back. Had the Ravens been down by say 7 points in the fourth quarter, Rice would’ve had closer to 80 yards rushing and Flacco’s efficiency likely would have been better.
Teams still need a good running attack in order to set up their passes. If a team thinks Rice is our only offensive weapon in a tight game and defend mainly against him, Flacco has a very great chance to throw some deep balls to Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, etc. Flacco is one of the best in the league, if not the best, at play action passing. Of course the only way play action passing can work is if the running game has been established well enough to fool the defense.
Thankfully, the Ravens are playing a team they’ve been historically good at running against. Don’t forget, what jump started former running back Jamal Lewis’ 2000 yard campaign was the 2nd week blowout over the Browns! That year, Lewis had 500 yards rushing total against the Browns in just two games. What’s interesting was that that year the Ravens were blown out on the opening day game to the Steelers 34-15 and Jamal Lewis had half the amount of carries than in week 2 (plus this Sunday’s game will be one day after the 10 year anniversary of that classic performance).
Does history always repeat itself? We will see very soon. Ray Rice has been a very productive running back during his time here, but he’s never competed for the top rushing title in a season. Maybe what we’ll see Sunday will be a running performance we haven’t seen since the good ol’ Jamal Lewis days.
For the other games that happened during the week, I personally can’t watch them with the same passion as with the Ravens. However, I did catch the end of the Steelers-Titans game. I bring this up because I want to look like an idiot or genius at the end of the year:
My prediction: the Tennessee Titans will finish this year at 9-7 or 10-6. I actually came up with this halfway through the preseason but I can’t back up that claim so I’m saying so now. When I first came across an article [I apologize for not finding it] that listed 10 teams unlikely going anywhere this season and reasons why, the team the author had least confidence in was the Titans. For whatever reason, they had less chance than the Browns, Bills, Jaguars, Lions, Vikings (my prediction as well that they’ll regress), Cardinals, and others of succeeding this season. Since ESPN and other sports networks tend to pick the wrong team to “hop on the bandwagon” as well as bad predictions in general, I’ve taken the opposite approach (along with gut instincts) in my prediction. So far, they’re 1 game in the right direction.
As for the Ravens, they have a lot of winnable games upcoming so no need to worry. The game is on at 1:00pm on CBS this Sunday. Enjoy the game and go Ravens!
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