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Week 17: Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders


Week 17: Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders

Sunday January 3, 2009 4:15 PM

Line: Ravens -7.5

Welcome back constant reader. For 16 weeks, we here at have been bringing you our opinions on what we feel to be the most important keys to each week’s game. Sometimes we’ve been spot on (see last week’s breakdown of the Steelers game), other times we’ve been about as far off as you could possible imagine (see pretty much every other week). Well this is it, last week of the Ravens’ regular season. Once and for all, the future of this team is on the line.

Last week against the Steelers, the Ravens had their biggest rival on their heels. They dominated every aspect of the game, and finally hadPittsburgh dead to rights, sighted in and ready for the kill. That’s when things got a bit wacky… The Ravens had the Steelers set in their sights, stopped, turned the gun around and shot themselves in the face.  It was perhaps the most bizarre self implosion I have ever seen this team commit (yes it was even weirder than the 2005 Detroit Blowup and the 2007 Patriots Fiasco).

Don’t get me wrong, the Refs did us no favors and made some seriously egregious calls (and no calls) late in the game. But as any player will tell you, never put yourself in a position where the Refs can determine the game’s outcome. But that was last week, and this is a whole new day. The Ravens have got to put it together against Oakland or else the season is over. Win and you’re in.

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

Stop the Penalties

To win this game the Ravens must eliminate the stupid penalties which have been hounding them all season. They can’t shoot themselves in the foot against good bad teams like Pittsburgh Oakland. Sound flawless football is what is needed to win this game and make the playoffs. Lose this game, and the Ravens never deserved to be in playoff contention in the first place

Possess the Ball

Oakland is not a good football team. Win this game by holding the ball and pounding them into submission. Letting them believe they can win is the ultimate bad decision. Eliminate the three and outs, eliminate the turnovers, orchestrate long sustained drives and this will be a cake walk for the Ravens.

Keep it simple and win this game.

Bring Pressure

Whoever Oakland decides to line up under center, the key to beating him (and his team) into the earth is to get as much pressure as possible early and often. The Raiders managed to beat Pittsburgh and Cincinnati by keeping the pressure off their QB. If the Ravens fail to account for a somewhat talented Oakland front, they’ll be in for a rude awakening.

Beat the Raiders here, and the Ravens win this game in a rout.

Win the Game Early

The best thing the Ravens have done all season is summon the ability and the intensity to beat inferior opponents. They have not once lost to a team that they flat out should beat (except Pittsburgh).  The key to the post season is to not let down against a team who they should dominate through and through.

End the contest by halftime. Take Oakland out of this game.

Just Win

This is it folks. For the rest of whatever games the Ravens have left, this is the drumbeat. Just Win. Don’t be focused on anything else but getting the W and moving forward. The talking heads talk about identity, and when you’re losing you have no identity. When a team wins you never hear people talk about identity. The Ravens must simply win to get through to the promised land. Win and your in.

Ravens Gab Predictions

Jonathon Scruggs

No way the Ravens let down against Oakland. Just isn’t going to happen. Ravens win, convincingly and prepare for either New England or Cincinnati.

What’s Our Name?

Ravens 34 — Raiders 10

Matt Jergensen

In the past two seasons under John Harbaugh one thing has been a constant. They beat teams with losing records. This Raider team has upset some good football teams this season and no one should sleep on them but if the Ravens get up quickly this was one will be over and they can start to prepare for the playoffs.

Ravens 27 – Raiders 13

Gene Winner

The Raiders have pulled off many upsets this year and they are dangerous.  The offensive should focus on the running game and take advantage of the Raiders inconsistent run defense. The Raiders have a good secondary and CB Asmugha is a Pro Bowl caliber defender. However, Flacco will be able to take advantage of the underneath routes. Expect TE Todd Heap to get plenty of opportunities. LT Jared Gaither should start which will be great for Flacco and the offense.

The Ravens defense will have to contend with a good Oakland rushing attack and a talented receiving core.  As always, pressure on the quarterback (Charlie Frye) and containing the big passing plays is key.  The secondary may get a boost as Ed Reed could play and that will allow Tom Zbikowski to help out in coverage.

It’s hard to see the Ravens losing this game—unless they have a repeat of the miscues and penalties from last week

Ravens 31 – Raiders 17

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