Today is the day. The official start of the 2009 NFL season. Hopefully by tomorrow, when we preview the final 4 weeks of the Ravens’ season, they will already hold a 0.5 game lead over that team with the pee-and-poop uniforms, thanks to the Tennessee Titans getting all stompy on them again tonight. Not to get ahead of ourselves though – today’s preview sees what, at least at this point in time, could be the Ravens toughest 4-game stretch of ’09.
Of course, all of these predictions are based on rosters, teams, etc., as they stand today. Injuries, suspensions, and whatever else could easily drastically change my feeling about any or all of the games. This is for fun more than anything else, so don’t go calling your bookie on my recommendations.
Week 10 – @ Cleveland (MNF)
So Browns players let the cat out of the bag, revealing that Brady Quinn will be the opening day starter at QB, thus foiling Eric Mangini’s plan to…hell, I don’t know what that guy is up to (maybe THAT’S his plan! mu-hoo-hahahaha) Seriously, the Browns are going to be a wreck. The Ravens finish off the Ohio sweep in Week 10 at the Mistake by the Lake.
Chance of victory: 75%
Week 11 – vs. Indianapolis
The last time the Ravens beat the Colts? Brace yourselves…
December 2, 2001.
That’s right, Peyton and Co. have now owned the Ravens for nearly a decade, winning the last 6 meetings between the 2 teams (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 (Playoffs), 2007, 2008). The last 2 meetings haven’t even been close, with the horseshoes trouncing the purple and black by scores of 44-20 and 31-3.
Enough of that bleak stuff though. The law of averages says the Ravens HAVE to win one some time, right? I have the feeling that this is finally the year. Greg Mattison will play a more fundamentally sound defensive scheme against Manning, and not let him feast on our blitzes like he did against Rex Ryan.
At least, that’s what I’ll be telling myself.
Chance of victory: 55%
Week 12 – vs. Pittsburgh
Of course, we all remember (and those towel-waving idiots are quick to remind us) that the Steelers swept the Ravens 3 games to 0 in 2008. What you need to remind yourself and your nearest wannabe-Yinzer, though, is that last year marked the first time Pittsburgh had won at M&T Bank Stadium since 2002, and the first time Baby Ben had ever done so. The fact that it took an improbable goal line reception, and an act of extremely questionable officiating, to bring the victory to fruition should bring us all back from the ledge in realizing that the Steelers, by no means, have the Ravens’ number, at least not here in B’More.
The fact remains, though, that neither John Harbaugh nor Joe Flacco have ever beaten the Steelers. And, until they do so, all bragging rights will reside solely in Western Pennsyltucky.
Chance of victory: 70%
Week 9 – @ Green Bay (MNF)
In another scheduling oddity, the Ravens play their second Monday Night Football game in 4 weeks (of course, both on the road). This time, taking on the Pack on what should by then be at least a slushy, if not quite a frozen, tundra up at Lambeau. Many are taking Green Bay as a dark horse (NICKELBACK!!!) candidate in the NFC this year, and Aaron Rodgers is flying off fantasy football draft boards just below the Bradys and (Peyton) Mannings of the world. Not that fantasy status means anything, I’m just sayin’…their offense is expected to do big things. Even after getting an extra day to heal up after the certain slugfest in Week 12, winning in December in Lambeau will be no small feat.
Chance of victory: 45%
Tomorrow: Weeks 14-17