For the third straight week the Ravens will be featured in a nationally televised game as the schedule-makers have pitted the Ravens against the Cowboys in what will probably be the final game in Texas Stadium.
The Ravens will have to deal with a Cowboys team who have won four of their last five games. The Cowboys have averaged about 26 points per game in those wins. The fact that this offensive explosion coincided with the reappearance of Tony Romo is - well, no coincidence (for lack of a better term). They will also have to prepare for a raucous crowd and the nostalgia that comes with playing the last game in Texas Stadium.
This game is probably going to be decided by three factors:
1. The Ravens ability to rush the football.
2. Both teams abilities to pressure the quarterback. It won’t matter who’s playing corner for Baltimore if Romo is running for his life. Likewise, if DeMarcus Ware inches closer to Michael Strahan’s sack record with a big day, we could see another repeat performance from Joe Flacco.
3. As cliche as it sounds, the turnover battle might decide this game.
One thing the Ravens have going for them is that Tony Romo is very Brett Favre-esque, in that he will win you games just as often as he will lose them for you thanks to his gun-slinging mentality. The Cowboys are also a little banged up, with Marion Barber’s toe injury and several nagging injuries that could slow down their secondary.
My prediction: The Ravens are in trouble this week. The Cowboys just took down the Giants last week, a team that many consider to be the best in the NFL. Remember what happened when the Ravens played the Giants? Yeah, I tried to forget too.
Cowboys - 28
Pivotal match-up: DeMarcus Ware vs. Jared Gaither. Gaither will probably need some help from the fullbacks and tight ends trying to contain this guy. If he has a big day, it will seriously hamper the Ravens playoff chances.
Where it could all go wrong: Flacco wakes up after having a sub-par performance the last two weeks; Romo is hit hard early and often; Ravens defense creates points off of turnovers; Dallas’ injuries allow Raven’s receivers to exploit a banged up secondary.
Surprising statistic: Derrick Mason needs 82 receiving yards on Saturday night to reach the 10,000 yard career milestone. Mason may be one of the most underappreciated athletes in the NFL.
Last Week’s winner: Dennis picked the Steelers over the Ravens, predicting a final score of 12-10. My pick: 17-9 Ravens. Actual score: 13-9 Steelers.
Week 14 winner: white guy 26 is the winner, picking Ravens – 26 Redskins 10. My pick 29-17 Ravens. Actual score: 24-10 Ravens.
Week 13 winner: Ravenator predicted a Ravens blowout, picking a 34-0 route of the Bengals. My pick: 32-13 Ravens. Actual score: 34-3 Ravens.
Week 12 winner: Polostat was one of the few fans out there who predicted an easy Ravens win, predicting a 28-17 Ravens victory. My pick: 23-16 Ravens. Actual score: 36-7 Ravens.
Week 11 winner: would have been Ravenator if he would have picked the Giants to win, but the check mark goes to Johnny Rocket, who predicted a 31-11 Ravens loss. My pick: 23-20 Giants. Actual score: 30-10 Giants.
Week 10 Winner: My man Franchise gets the check mark, predicting a 31-10 Ravens victory. Remember when Ozzie Newsome was getting verbally crucified on the airwaves? I guess all of us should trust the Franchise. My pick: 29-12 Ravens. Actual Score: 41-13 Ravens.
Week 9 Winner: Johnny Rocket picked the closest score, predicting a 22-16 Ravens win. I don’t think anyone could have predicted the Ravens to put up 37 points on the road. My pick: 23-17 Browns. Actual score: 37-27 Ravens.
Week 8 winner: Nestminder is our first back-to-back winner, picking the Ravens to win 24-6. We had a record-low in the number of predictions received, but we can rebound this week. We’ll chalk that one up to the new website. My pick: 27-6 Ravens. Actual score: 29-10 Ravens
Week 7 winner: Nestminder picked a 20-13 Ravens victory and Polostat was a close second. My pick: 24-16 Ravens. Actual score: 27-13 Ravens.
Week 6 winner: Johnny Rocket correctly picked against the Ravens, per usual, predicting a 32-8 Colts victory. My pick: 28-23 Colts. Actual score: 31-3 Colts.
Week 5 winner: Columbia Ken picked the closest score, predicting a 17-13 Titans victory. My pick: 17-9 Ravens. Actual score: 13-10 Titans
Week 4 winner: Jon R. reluctantly picked a 24-20 win for the Steelers. My pick: 13-10 Ravens. Actual score: 23-20 Steelers (OT)
Week 3 winner: EazyE picked a 23-13 win for the Ravens vs. Cleveland. My pick: 23-13 Ravens. Actual score: 24-10 Ravens.
What are your predictions this week?