Ravens 24, Packers 20
I’ve changed my mind. I was blinded by the Packers’ outstanding home record in December in recent years; and I picked the Packers to win.
I was wrong.
And it took me hearing something repeatedly this weekend to be reminded of just why it is that the Ravens will win.
Drew Forrester said it first Friday when he pointed out that the Ravens struggle against “elite” quarterbacks.
I read a few blogs over the weekend, and listened to some other radio stations throughout town and heard both hosts and callers describing Aaron Rodgers similarly-as an “elite” quarterback. One guy on the “Sports Leader” in town even went as far as to say Aaron Rodgers was on par with quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Carson Palmer.
Aaron Rodgers is NOT elite. He’s NOT in the next group right behind elite, either.
Aaron Rodgers is in the top half of NFL quarterbacks, and he’s posted decent numbers this season. But he’s nowhere NEAR elite. (He couldn’t sit at Drew Brees’ lunch table, either.)
The biggest difference between quarterbacks who are good statistically and quarterbacks who are elite is that the elite quarterbacks have put their team on their back and carried them to victory in very important games.
Ben Roethlisberger has done it. Peyton Manning has done it. Brett Favre has done it. Kurt Warner has done it. Tom Brady has done it.
Even Carson Palmer has done it this season against his biggest AFC North rivals.
Aaron Rodgers has not.
In fact, he’s been just about the opposite. In his 2 seasons as a starting quarterback, Rodgers is a whopping 3-9 in games decided by 9 points or less.
Elite quarterbacks WIN those games.
Even more-in his first season as a starter, Rodgers’ only win after Week 11 came over the Detroit Lions (in the game that clinched the first ever 0-16 season in NFL history). His only significant victory of the season was a home win over Indianapolis in Week 7. He got the 2nd significant win of his career 2 weeks ago against the Cowboys.
Joe Flacco had more significant wins (4) in a MONTH last season (@Dallas, vs. Jacksonville, @Miami, @Tennessee) than Aaron Rodgers has had in his career. He’s won more significant road games (3) than Aaron Rodgers (ummm……zero) as well.
The reason I initially picked the Packers was exactly the reason Drew pointed out Friday. The Ravens struggle against elite quarterbacks.
The good news for tonight is that they don’t have to face one.
Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..
Best of Sunday’s WNST Blogs:
Rex Snider grateful for Raiders’ win over Pittsburgh
Nestor Aparicio checks in from WNST trip to Green Bay
And the best from the rest of the world…..
The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Domonique Foxworth, Lardarius Webb have ‘big task’ ahead of them in trying to defend Donald Driver, Greg Jennings
The Official Site’s Ryan Mink remembers Baltimore Colts’ big win over Packers in ‘59
The Official Site’s Sean Patrick Byrne says ‘physical’ aspect of line play has put Grubbs amongst best Guards in NFL
The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens have to get to Aaron Rodgers to win
The Sun’s Jamison Hensley picks Packers 27-17
The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Flacco’s ankle ‘X-factor’ in tonight’s game
The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ravens need win tonight to keep pace with Jaguars in AFC playoff race
The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Derrick Mason, Ravens not afraid of trip to Lambeau Field
The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Cam Cameron thinks offense ‘weather-proof’
Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens’ Wild Card hopes helped by Steelers’ loss to Oakland
Green Bay Press Gazette’s Mike Vandermause says Packers 18-4 in December, January regular-season games at Lambeau Field since 2000
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lori Nickel says Dom Capers transformed Green Bay defense
Wisconsin State Journal’s Tom Ziemer says Packers defense enters Monday Night Football contest red hot
SI’s Peter King says Ravens 13th best team in NFL
ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens’ defensive communication should improve playing on road
The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss
The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Jordan Williams chipped in 19 points, 12 boards in defeat
The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Vasquez played just 27 minutes in loss due to foul trouble
Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Gary Williams thought Cats’ 45-33 rebounding edge ‘unacceptable’ in Maryland loss
The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Wildcats hit 16 threes in win over Terps
The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Vasquez struggled again, finishing with 12 points in loss
Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Eric Hayes finished with 20, but thought Terps ‘just couldn’t get over the hump’
Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says rebounding should improve with Dino Gregory scheduled to return Saturday
Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Corey Fisher 3 ended Maryland run that got them within 3 in 2nd half
Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps not amongst Top 45 teams in country
Washington Examiner’s Craig Stouffer says Herndon native Reynolds played like he ‘owned’ Verizon Center for Wildcats
Philadelphia Daily News’ Dick Jerardi says Jay Wright thought beating Maryland ‘real quality win’
USA Tim Gardner says Taylor King chipped in 13 points for Nova
SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:
-What does Maryland’s loss to Villanova last night mean going forward? Well, it means they CAN’T lose a home game between now and the start of the ACC season. The date with William & Mary on December 30 looks tougher every week-the Tribe has already defeated Wake Forest and VCU this season and gave UConn a hell of a run for their money. Last season, the Terps could afford a home loss to Morgan State because they managed to top Michigan State at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando. They won’t be able to afford a similar loss-even to a decent mid-major.
It also means the Terps will likely have to go 8-8 in ACC play to reach the NCAA Tournament. They should be able to do that-but it certainly isn’t a given. Even a win over North Carolina or Duke wouldn’t be enough to get a 7-9 league team into the dance without a marquee non-conference win. Unless of course Indiana finds eligibility for Jared Jeffries, Keith Smart or Isaiah Thomas and wins the Big Ten. That would be really nice, by the way.
Talk to you tonight in our “Purple Haze.” Go Ravens!