Based solely on the Ravens’ Jeckyl and Hyde performances all season long, I’m of the opinion that no one should be perceived as overconfident today as the purple warriors awaken in Seattle with a chance to end the day as the unquestioned leader of the pack in the AFC home-field advantage race.
Oh sure, there are plenty of reasons to feel confidence brimming now the Ravens have swept the dreaded Pittsburgh Steelers and are in control of their own destiny as the Bengals will next try to vanquish the black and gold demons in the early game today as Baltimore awaits the Seahawks at 4 p.m.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t smell a difficult task in Seattle, where the legendary “12th Man” will be appearing soon after kickoff to welcome Joe Flacco and Cam Cameron’s crew to the Pacific Northwest.
Afterall, I was in attendance in Nashville and Jacksonville where the locals all but guaranteed us a happy trip into the deep South and almost-home-cooking that resulted in two of the most dreadful and disappointing outcomes in recent years – especially considering the desperate talent on both sides of the ball. The Titans and Jaguars are headed toward nowheresville in January but for one afternoon they defended their home turf and thwarted every effort of Flacco and the Ravens’ offense.
The Seahawks appear to be short on the offensive side of the ball — is there any way they can really lose to Tarvaris Jackson? — and many have asked how they’re going to score points today at Century Link Field against a stout Baltimore defense but I will remain at best “cautiously enthusiastic” about the Ravens’ offense until I some semblance of consistency.
That begins today at 4 p.m.
Can Joe Flacco find open receivers downfield? Will the running game with Ray Rice and Ricky Williams be established early to quiet the mounting green and blue cacophony of sounds? Will the offensive line be off cadence all day and create bad down and distances?
Will the defense keep Marshawn Lynch at bay in the running game and can the defense force its usual array of turnovers and pressures on a young, inexperience Seahawks’ offense?
All good questions.
We’ll have answers at 4 p.m.