Countdown to Kickoff, Ravens vs. Bears
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10: The Chicago Bears have lost 10 straight road games dating back to 2016. They enter this contest with a 1-4 record, with the lone win coming in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the division comes down tiebreakers between the Ravens and Steelers, it could be important to have a win against a common opponent.
9: The Ravens defense has nine interceptions on the season which is good for second in the NFL (Jacksonville, 10). The secondary will be licking their chops with rookie Mitchell Trubisky coming to town.
8: Number of Maryland counties that will not be airing the Ravens vs. Bears. The Redskins will be playing host to the San Francisco 49ers at 1pm as well. Meaning If you are a Ravens fan living in Allegany, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Washington Counties, you’ll want to find someplace else to watch the superior team in the region. (Where else do you find insight like this!?)
7: Chicago Punter Pat O’Donnell punted seven times in their recent Monday night tilt versus Minnesota. So? What? So the Ravens special teams needs to be aware because O’Donnell reached into the bag of tricks and threw a 38-yard TD pass to Benny Cunningham on a fake punt for the Bears first touchdown of the game. When you are 1-4, no play in the book is off limits. Expect some more trickery this week. The most dangerous opponents can be those with nothing to lose.
6: This will be the 6th all-time meeting between the Bears and Ravens, with the Bears leading the series 3-2. The last time they squared off was in 2013 in the windy city. The Bears won 23-20 in overtime. Also for 6, the Bears are currently ranked 6th in total defense. As of now, the Ravens are a six-point favorite. If you think the Ravens can win by a touchdown, put your money on the home team.
5: Ravens DT Michael Pierce has quietly been a force to be reckoned with in the trenches. He has the fifth most run stops of all defensive lineman with 13. In 117 snaps against a run, he hasn’t missed a tackle. On the interior of the Bears O-line, center Cody Whitehair has been dreadful. But a pair of the top guards in the league in Josh Sitton and Kyle Long make this an intriguing matchup.
4: More about wide receivers when we get to number three. But number four is for how many catches Breshad Perriman has on the year. Half of those came last week on the road at the Raiders. Two catches are better than none, which he’s posted twice this year. Hope this is the start of the upward trend. If there is one thing the Ravens and Bears have in common, it’s a bust in first round wide receivers from the 2015 draft. Chicago drafted Kevin White seventh overall and believe it or not, White has been less productive, and more injured than Perriman. The goal is to next week, not be able to assign a single digit number to how many catchers Perriman has on the year.
3: Three wide receivers were the three leading receivers for the Ravens last week in Oakland. Mike Wallace (3/133), Jeremy Maclin (6/43), and Breshad Perriman (2/15). Seems like forever since that has been the case as Joe Flacco heavily leans on tight ends and the check down option. Getting Mike Wallace more involved was a point of emphasis and the Ravens wasted no time setting the tone hitting him with a 52-yard strike on the first play of last weeks game. Love the aggressive call by Mornhinweg to get the ball rolling.
2: Bears rookie Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is making his second career start. He showed a little bit of why the Bears traded up in the draft to select him number two overall in his first start on Monday night football. He’s got a live arm, mobile, puts a nice spiral on the ball. He’s still a raw talent though and made rookie mistakes. The Ravens defense historically feasts on rookie quarterbacks. They had their way with DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan when the Browns visited for week 2. In the Harbaugh era, a rookie quarterback hasn’t won a game in M&T bBank Stadium. Let’s keep the trend going.
1: Pro Football Focus awarded Ryan Jensen with the number one performance grade for a center in Week 5. The offensive line had been a sieve since Marshal Yanda went down. But last week they put up their best game, led by Jensen, allowing no sacks of Joe Flacco. Raiders All-Pro edge rusher, Khalil Mack, was a non-factor all game long. Da Bears defense has just 9.0 sacks in five games and allow just over 100-yards on the ground per game. Looking for the O-line to keep up the good work. But they will need to turn to a third option at right guard as Yanda’s backup, Matt Skura is ruled out for the next 2-4 weeks.