Ravens Roost

June 21, 2010 6:50 PM

Assessing the Ravens first half schedule

Looking at the Ravens schedule I can see them making the playoffs for a third straightuntitled.bmp year. I would have to say that this years Ravens team is markedly better then either the 2008 or 2009 squads were, if for no other reason then the offensive line is coming into their prime and the team added numerous offensive weapons for Joe Flacco to target. Flacco should also make another huge stride this season if he continues to progress as he has thus far in his young career.

So, these are my picks on the Ravens first half of their schedule. If you happen to disagree please feel free to chime in.

Game 1 will feature the Ravens going up against their former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and his Jets  at the new football facility in New Jersey. I find it curious that the teams that play for New York couldn't find a suitable pace in their own state. Ryan has done a remarkable job in a short period of time with the Jets as they found their way into the playoffs last season. Ryan has instilled a new focus in this team and plans to build on what he accomplished last season. However, the Ravens know his tendencies and should be able to game plan for them. This game is going to kick off the Monday Night Football season and it should be a real barn burner.
The Jets will try to run the ball, which was their bread and butter last year but the Ravens defense, as good as it was against the run, is going to be even better this year with the addition of Terrence Cody, the 350 lb. monster in the middle. Look for the Jets to try and run the ball early and when they find they can't go to second year quarterback  Mark Sanchez, who will be overwhelmed by the Ravens pass rush. This should be a close game but I see the Ravens coming out on top 28-24.

Game 2 once again finds the Ravens on the road this time against division rival Cincinnati. The Bengals had the Ravens number last season beating them both times they faced them. To be honest you could say the Ravens beat themselves in both of those contests. The Bengals depend upon Carson Palmer having time to choose his targets. If he gets rushed thing tend to break down, as you saw when the team fizzled against the Jets in last years first round of the playoffs. The Bengals are a good team, but I don't think they can match up with the Ravens if the boys from Baltimore are on their game. I'll call this one a squeaker with the Ravens coming out on top 31-  28.

Game 3 will be the Ravens home opener against another division rival the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are now being guided by new team president Mike Holmgren, who should be able to turn this team around. However it won't be turned around for at least 3 more years. Look for the Ravens to have their way with the Browns and totally dominate them in every phase of the game. This one will be a cake walk, Ravens 34-Browns 17.

Game 4 will once again find the Ravens on the road, and this time it will be to Heinz Field home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens- Steelers rivalry has become perhaps the most intense in the NFL. These two teams have a mutual dislike for each other and when they take the field you can hear the hits in your living  room. The Steelers will be without their troubled quarterback Ben Roethilisberger due to his penchant for forcing himself on young women. Even his team mates are growing tired of his antics.

As I stated in an earlier column I believe the Ravens have surpassed the Steelers in pure talent, and this game will prove my point. I see the Ravens man handling the Yellow and Black to the tune of  31-17.

Game 5 will have the Ravens back at their nest to face the Denver Broncos. The Broncos are a team that seems to constantly be in a rebuilding mode. I really don't think they will give the Ravens too much of a problem as the Ravens fans will drown out their suspect quarterback Kyle Orton's signals leaving him unable to audible. The Broncos won't have any success running the ball either and once they become one dimensional it's all over for them. Notch up another Ravens victory. 28-10.

Week 6 will find the purple and black back in Foxborough to face the Patriots, a team they embarrassed in the playoffs last year. Patriots coach Bill Belichick will want revenge for that loss and will come up with a game plan the Ravens won't be expecting. Sadly this may be the first loss of the season for the Ravens as Tom Brady and company will do everything in their power not to be embarrassed again. Final score, Patriots 28, Ravens 21.

Week 7 will pit the Buffalo Bills against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Once again the Ravens faithful will drown out the Bills offense and the Ravens defense will pounce on them like wolves on a fresh carcass. The Bills have issues and somebody in their organization needs to address them. This one should be another easy victory for the Ravens as the Bills will be disheartened by the second quarter.
Final score, Ravens 38, Bills 13.

So there you have it, my take on the Ravens first half of the 2010 season. I have them coming on strong with a 6-1 record as they head into their bye week. I think this team knows that they are capable of winning it all, and I pity the other teams that try to stand in their way. This may well be another Super Bowl season for the purple birds of Baltimore. If so remember, you heard it here first. 


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