I hope all of our WNST.net listeners had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Put the leftovers down for a second and let’s talk some Ravens football.
The Ravens are coming off of a big statement game. By crushing the Eagles 36-7, they announced to the entire league that they are for real in the volatile AFC playoff race. The league has recognized this team’s competitiveness by moving the Ravens/Redskins match-up to prime time in two weeks, and have also announced that they will move the Ravens/Steelers game in week 15 to 4:15. Of course, if you’re subscribed to the WNST text service, you already know that.
The NFL wants to give this team some national attention, mainly because of a stout defense and a rookie quarterback who looks more promising than Peyton Manning did back in 1998. I don’t know about you, but this makes me awfully proud to drink the purple kool aid.
Let’s hope the Ravens abide by John Harbaugh’s philosophy: take it one game at a time. If they over-look the Bengals, the Ravens will go from a conference title contender in a wide-open AFC to: “we knew this team wasn’t for real. They’ve only beat bad football teams, and now they can’t take care of business in their own division.”
My prediction: If it weren’t for another special teams debacle, the Ravens would have shut out the Eagles. That New York loss truly woke a sleeping giant. The Bengals can’t rush the passer or stop the run. The Bengals offensive line has left QB Ryan Fitzpatrick vulnerable all season. Even though it’s a division game on the road, I can’t see any way the Ravens lose this match-up. Special teams folds again and gives up a big play that leads to a touchdown, but that’s about all the Bengals can muster in this game. A couple of early Ravens scores makes the 1-9-1 Bengals hang their heads and give up on the game.
Ravens – 32
Bengals – 13
Pivotal match-up: Joe Flacco vs. Bengals Defense. The only way the Ravens lose this game is if the Ravens turn the ball over too much or commit too many penalties. The key to this game is for Joe Flacco to protect the rock.
Where it could all go wrong: The zebras get flag-happy; a desperate Bengals team treats this like a playoff game and surprises the league; the secondary plays soft and allows Houshmandzadeh and Johnson to have a field day. Fellow Calvert Hall Cardinal Bob Haynie said it best: “the only way the Ravens get beat this game is if they beat themselves.”
Surprising statistic: When Flacco doesn’t throw an interception the Ravens are 6-1. When he doesn’t take care of the football, the Ravens are 1-3.
Last Week’s 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?