Ravens Review and Preview – Part 2 of 5
Ravens went 2-2 in the first quarter of the season. To get to 10 wins, you’ll probably need two “quarters” of the season at 3-1. Unfortunately, the second quarter of the 2017 season will not bring a 3-1 record to the organization. They will settle for another 2-2 record and the game against CHI in week 6 reveals much about the Ravens as a team and their possible playoff chances.
Game 5 – BAL 30 vs OAK 17. The first six drives for both teams combined ended in scores . The Ravens are out quickly to a 14-0 lead with TDs by the offense and defense. Flacco hits Wallace for 52 yards on the first play from scrimmage to start the day and they score four plays later. Marshawn Lynch fumbled on the Raider’s first possession and Jimmy Smith picked it up and returned it for a TD. About 5 minutes in to the game and the Ravens are up 14-0. Playing without QB David Carr, the Raiders get to within a 7 points of the Ravens with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The GameMap shows the Ravens respond to the 24-17 game with a drive resulting in a FG to put the lead at 10 points. Ravens add a late field goal. The Ravens get a good win on the road in Oakland and they sit at 3-2. A home game against the Bears awaits…
Game 6 – BAL 24 vs CHI 27. A Loss vs CHI in OT at home is a big disappointment. The Bears will go on to be 5-11 on the year. This was a very revealing loss for the Ravens. At home against a rookie QB making his first career start on the road, Trubisky directed a conservative game plan that leaned heavily on the run. The first-round draft pick completed just 8 passes for 113 yards. The Bears expose the Ravens run defense as Bear’s RB Howard had 36 carries and the Bears total 231 yards on the ground.
Baltimore was in position for the go-ahead score late in the 4th quarter when Adrian Amos tallied his first career interception on a pass that bounced off the chest of receiver Chris Moore, who was covered tightly by Kyle Fuller. Amos returned it 90 yards for a Chicago TD instead. The Ravens battled back to score the last 10 points of the game to force overtime. After a few punts in overtime, the Bears go 71 yards in 8 plays to kick a 40 yard FG for the win. This is a bad game for the Ravens offense.
The Ravens were coming off a 30-17 win in Oakland in which they did not commit a turnover, didn’t allow a sack and were penalized only once. The 24 points for Baltimore is deceiving when looking only at the score of the game. The offense did not get into the end zone for the Ravens and they also gave up a TD on an interception return. This is a very bad showing for the Ravens offense. Also, the first TD by the Bears came from great starting field position for the Bears. They started that drive on the Raven’s 20 yard line. The field-Q and the Drive-Q markers are seen just behind the orange TD marker. Holding the Bears to a FG in this situation would have been a huge win for the Ravens defense but instead the Bears cash in on a great opportunity and never trail the rest of the game. The Ravens now sit at 3-3.
Game 7 – BAL 16 vs MIN 24. Loss at MIN – nothing shameful in losing to a team that will eventually be in the NFC Championship game. The nine combined field goals tied an NFL record for most made field goals in a game. A 9-6 game at the half becomes 18-6 by the middle of the 3rd quarter.
The Ravens offense hurts the operation and field position is sacrificed. The Ravens have a drive for negative 9 yards back to their own 15 yard line. Never good to have your punter on the field near your own end zone and it results in great field position for the Vikings. They go 45 yards in 3 plays for a TD by the Vikings.
Game 8 – BAL 40 vs MIA 0. A nice home win for the Ravens. Two defensive TDs and 3 TDs by the offense as BAL gets a dominating win.
The Ravens again go 2-2 as they did in the first “quarter” of the season. Game 6 versus CHI is indeed a huge missed opportunity.
What will the first half of the 2018 season possibly look like?
Last year, Flacco injured his back before training camp… is he healthy from the start this year? With Flacco healthy, they have a QB and this is a QB driven league.
Great article by Mike Randall about the newly drafted tight ends. To me, those TWO picks clearly says something about the offensive philosophy of the team and where the Ravens intent to throw passes on the field. Can those new additions push the Ravens forward on offense? Randall and Gabe Ferguson discussed their expectations for the Raven’s offense on a round table a few weeks back – take a look.
The WR group interests me, not only because I coached that position at the college level, but because the Ravens revamped the whole group. Did the Ravens find those answers on the outside at WR in free agency? Different does not mean better and the only thing that will inject excitement are guys who can consistently win match-ups. Will that group be good enough to remove extra defenders from the box? I would speculate that defenses will attempt to force the Ravens to beat them by throwing passes to the WRs. The Ravens ranked No. 29 in the league in passing last season. I feel strongly that the Ravens must be successful throwing the ball to WRs to ultimately be successful on offense.
First 8 games from 2018….
First 4: Feels like they will need a good/great start for a playoff season. They need to start the season 3-1. Assuming that one loss will be the Steelers on the road, they must make the Steelers work for that win. That means that they must start 3-0. Can they get the road win in CIN. Will CIN be ready to host the Ravens at home this year and avenge the opening week loss of 2017. The Bills did make the playoffs last year but the Ravens have BUF at home. You can see their first three opponents not making the playoffs. You can’t lose many games to teams that will not be making the playoffs.
Games 5 thru 8: They will need to beat CLE on the road and then a tough three game stretch awaits…. Titans made the divisional round last year and the Saints and Panthers both finished 11-5. Can they win 2 of those 3 with two of those games on the road?
If this is a playoff team – they need to be 5-3 or 6-2 at this point. What do you think? What will the eight GameMaps reveal at the end of October for the Ravens?
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