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Week 8: Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens


Week 8: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday November 1, 2009 1:05 PM

Line: Ravens -3.5

Welcome back… Have a nice vacation?  The Ravens return from a much needed bye week to face off against the Denver Broncos. After a promising 3-0 start to their season, the Ravens find themselves in the middle of an impressive tailspin. Three straight loses to top-flight teams all by six points or less find this team struggling to maintain its identity and get back on track. Each week the Ravens are right on the doorstep, but for some reason or another come up short due to lapses of judgment, sloppy mechanics, or just plain bad luck.

From here on out the road to the playoffs is fought with peril. Nothing will come easy as the Ravens face the elite teams in the NFL. To make it to the Promised Land, the black birds of Baltimore likely have to win eight of the next ten games. That is tantamount to staring down Everest, especially with undefeated Denver, white hot Cincinnati, power house Pittsburgh, and dominating Indianapolis all standing in the way.

However, the win streak must start with the first snap, the first drive, the first tackle. Today is step one.

With that in mind let’s take a look at this week’s match up. Keys to the Game

Return to Form

This Ravens defense is suffering its worst identity crisis in arguably the entire span of the franchise’s existence. For the first time since the days of infancy, the Ravens defense is struggling to hold its own, while the offense continues to soar.

To win, to make the playoffs, the Ravens must return to form and find a way to protect their backside on Defense. I’ve been pretty down on the secondary the last couple of weeks, but I think its time I took a renewed optimistic look. The thing is, the number one tenet of faith every Ravens fan holds is that Ozzie Newsome is God, and we live in his kingdom. Ozzie knows what he’s doing and its time we trust him,

Ozzie brought in Foxworth for his dedication, education, and speed. He brought in Fabian Washington for similar reasons. Frank Walker is an aggressive back with a nonstop motor. They’re all solid cornerbacks who just need to hunker down, dig deep and find the football player in side of themselves, that Ozzie new was there from the beginning.  If the Ravens can do that they will win this game. Additionally, Denver is not a long bomb team. Orton’s accuracy suffers greatly when he passes for 20 yards or more. This is a team that knaws you o death n offense and wears you down with its dominating run. The Ravens are set up on Defense to step teams like this. If we can contain Brandon Marshall, then we will dominate this match up.

Dominate Brandon Marshall

Winning the game starts here. The biggest weaknesses the Ravens are facing right now is they’re propensity to give up the big plays on defense. They have constantly been allowing plays from scrimmage of 30 yards+ when they gave up only three in the entirety of last year’s campaign.

For all of his whining and moaning and posturing, Brandon Marshall is one hell of a wide receiver. He’s finally calmed down and is emerging as a deadly threat for Kyle Orton. Its not that Marshall will beat you badly in a one on one stretch match up, its that he beats you badly on his yards after the carry. The kid has moves like a running back in the open field, and has a knack for turning ten yards into forty.

Contain Brandon Marshall, force Kyle Orton to throw his short passes, and the Ravens linebackers will dominate and put up three and outs like its going out of style.

Possess the Ball

The ravens have been fairing miserably in this department all season. The once proud and mighty franchise no longer has the ability to control the ball and control the tempo of the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch Cam Cameron’s high and mighty pass plays. They’re electric, they’re exciting, they get the fans amped, but ultimately its not always the best strategy. The Ravens used to dominate by controlling the ball. They milked the clock with the best of them. Let’s get this straight; if you win the time of possession battle, eight times out of ten you will win the game. If the other team has the ball, they cannot score, they cannot put up points, simply, they cannot win.

Cam must remember this and get back to basics.

Return to Fundamentals.

Right now the biggest handicap the Ravens face is their inability to remember the fundamentals of the game. Sound tackling, smart defense and proper technique have all been lost to this team. For whatever reason the team has gone from disciplined and mechanically sound, to all around sloppy and downright lazy.

The Ravens must return to their roots and work on the fundamentals of the game, which help them win. Experts and masters at their crafts will all tell you the same thing, just because you are the best, or an elite level talent, does not mean you can forget the foundations of your art which allowed you to reach the top.  Winning starts with doing your job right.

Ravens Gab Predictions

Jonathon Scruggs

The Broncos are undefeated. The Ravens are in a tailspin. Both teams are coming off the bye week looking to get a win and set the tone for the second half of the season.  The odds makers have given the nods to the Ravens ever so slightly. This is another toss up game with the edge given to the home team.

In the end I believe in Ozzie Newsom, I believe in John Harbaugh, I believe in Greg Mattison and I believe in Cam Cameron. I also believe that home cooking will do this team right and the Ravens will return to their winning ways.

Ravens 27 — Broncos 17

Matt Jergensen

There are three reasons why Baltimore wins today.

First, they are playing at home and since they moved into M & T they have a tremendous home record and as anyone who has been to a game there it is one of the more underrated home fields in the NFL. Second, the Ravens need this game more than Denver. The Broncos are of to an unexpected fast start and with San Diego floundering they are up several games in the AFC West. Thirdly, Baltimore will be at it’s healthiest with the return of Jared Gaither. Oher did a credible job moving over but when both of these behemoths are in the game the line is just better.

I’d love to say this will be a blowout but Denver has there defense playing off the charts and in my opinion over it’s head. Look for Joe Flacco to continue to keep the offense humming.

Ravens 26 Broncos 21

Gene Winner

The Ravens go into this game finding themselves fighting to get back into the win column to continue their playoff hopes.  The offense must begin to finish games and it is essential for the defense to start making plays.

There is no doubt that Denver is a real challenge and their defense can bring the heat. The Ravens offense will need to counter Denver’s blitzing schemes with some plays to RB Ray Rice. The defense will step up; the unit looks to get back their confidence and respect after playing sub par for the first part of the season.

This is a must win for the Ravens and playing at home will prove to be the advantage they need

Ravens 27 – Broncos 24

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