Sunday is setting up for a classic case of “I told you so”, for the Ravens. It is a chance for them to prove to everyone that they can put points up on the board offensively, and win a game with backup players on their defense. It is a chance to show that what happened Monday night in Pittsburgh was not really what the Ravens are all about.
I mean think about it, Steve McNair was pretty animated (at least by his standards), on Wednesday about people questioning whether he should be starting or not for this football team. What would be the better proved you wrong scenario than if he went out Sunday and lead the offense on some nice drives and put points on the board? Steve and his offense have been backed into a corner, and I fully expect them to come out fighting on Sunday.
While #52 is still bragging and pounding his chest about how they shut down Willie Parker on Monday night, the rest of the defense is not happy and feel responsible for letting Pittsburgh put up five touchdowns on them. They know the task will not be any easier with Carson Palmer (who is a better QB than Big Ben in my opinion), and his group of wide outs. TJ, Chad, and Chris, will be a tall task for Derrick Martin, and Corey Ivy (yes I am assuming that McAlister does not play Sunday). Then you factor in maybe not having Ed Reed, and a backup like David Pittman, it will be a huge uphill climb for the defense. However, it could be just the challenge they are looking for to prove they are not as bad as Pittsburgh made them out to be.
One of the biggest factors for the Ravens, and maybe this one is more relevant than the others, is that they know if they were to lose on Sunday that could diminish any chance of post season play. I am not a huge fan of the term “must win”, but in this case I think it applies. A loss would put them at 0-4 in the division and having been swept by the Bengals with the Bengals having a much easier schedule compared to the Ravens down the stretch. The Bengals would love nothing more than to end the chance of the Ravens making the playoffs since for the most part the Bengals are already in that no chance of making playoffs scenario.
Sunday will be a game of two teams desperate for a win and out to prove something. I am sure the boo birds will be circling the stadium just waiting for the first three and out on offense, or having to settle for a field goal in the red zone. I mean who doesn’t love being booed when you’re heading off the field to the locker room at halftime?
With that being said, I think when the final seconds tick off of the clock on Sunday, we will hear someone talking about how they shut down Rudi Johnson and held him to less than 100 yds. The problem will be the two touchdowns that the Bengals will score throwing the ball that lead them to a 20-13 victory over the Ravens. If Ed Reed does not play on Sunday then it’s 27-13 Bengals.