Tag Archive | "Indianapolis Colts"

MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 24: Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the  FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with car owner Joe Gibbs (L), in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2010 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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Sunday Money – 6-Pack

Posted on 19 November 2010 by Rex Snider

For weeks, I’ve been boasting about my preseason predictions for the Baltimore Ravens. On September 8th, I previewed each game on the schedule, on-air, and gave my opinion on how things would turn out.

I kept that schedule and it’s hanging on the wall of my home office. To date, I’ve been correct on 8 of the 9 games. The lone blemish is the contest against the Miami Dolphins. Yep, I had that game in the loss column.

Hey, the good news is I forecasted the loss against the Atlanta Falcons as the final defeat of the 2010 season. That’s correct, I picked the Ravens to run the table throughout the remainder of the regular slate of games.

And, I’ll stick by it …..

Since I’ve been so accurate with my predictions over the past couple months, I’ve decided to share my weekly prognostications with YOU, the listener and reader. It’s my early Christmas gift to anyone who reads my blogs.

I have no doubt that when my peers read this, they’ll have some provoking thoughts …..

Drew Forrester : “I like Rex, but I’m not following his advice – he freakin’ texted me from Vegas and asked which baseball games to bet. By the way, he won a few hundred bucks ….. and I’m still waiting for my Chinese lunch.”

Glenn Clark : “I don’t really like Rex, and I absolutely NEVER, EVER agree with him. I’m certain his predictions will be LAUGHABLE ….. if not, INSANE. So, before I even look at his picks, I’ll get this outta the way ….. DUDE, YOU’RE JUST WRONG.”

Thyrl Nelson : “His fantasy football team, Rexual HerAssMent, is 3-7 …. that’s all I need to know.”

Regardless of what others might say, you can rest assured that my LOCKS for the weekend will come to fruition. You’ll make money, guaranteed. Count on this 6-pack of predictions …..

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FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens stripes the ball from Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Losing to good teams on the road ensures your postseason plight …..

Posted on 15 November 2010 by Rex Snider

If you’re a casual listener of my show, you probably know about my opinion regarding the intersection of LOSSES and EXCUSES.

I’m blunt about it whenever the discussion comes up.

It’s a belief that was drilled into my head when I was very young.  It’s a belief that I’ve taught my one and only child.  And, it’s a belief I’ll take to my grave …..

EXCUSES ARE FOR LOSERS

Offering a dismissive, half-hearted reason for losing is nothing less than acknowledging that failure is acceptable.  It also guarantees you’ll get more of it – unless you change something.

To be very honest, it insults an intelligent mind when winnable contests in New England and Atlanta are summed up with the customary “the Ravens lost to a very good team on the road” defense.

Call that line exactly what it is ….. an EXCUSE.

I didn’t buy it after the loss against New England and I’m certainly not buying it after last Thursday’s loss, in Atlanta.

Do you wanna guess how many 4th quarter comebacks Tom Brady has engineered this season?  The answer is ONE.  And, we know all about that game, huh?

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens stripes the ball from Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I get the aura of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  I know their careers very well, and I pay attention to that team.  But, I also know many football fans assume Brady pulls out last minute heroics every week, and that’s just not true.

In fact, Tom Brady has thrown only ONE game-impacting, 4th quarter touchdown, this season.  Once again, we know all about that game, right?

As for last Thursday’s loss in Atlanta, the Ravens defense orchestrated Matt Ryan’s elevation from budding star to full blown ROCK STAR, in just 80 seconds.

I’m pretty sure Ryan is being bestowed with the Congressional Medal of Honor on the front steps of the United States Capital, later this week.

But, here’s another meaningless stat for the excuse makers and believers …..

Do you know how many two-minute drives have been capped off with a winning touchdown in Matt Ryan’s season?  You are correct …. ONE FREAKIN’ GAME.

Of course, I think Tom Brady is approaching a legendary career.  And, I think Matt Ryan is one of the bright, young stars in the NFL.  But, I also think many fans and observers believe these quarterbacks are leading their teams to dramatic, come from behind wins, on a consistent basis – and, that’s simply not true.

But, they’ve made hay against the Ravens defense, recently.

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Indy kicks Baltimore in the jewels…again…with throwback uniforms today

Posted on 07 November 2010 by Drew Forrester

It’s one thing to wear the 1955 throwbacks in pre-season.

No one cares about those games.

But when the Indianapolis Colts wear those today in Philadelphia, they might as well just drive 75 miles down the road and kick the Baltimore football fans in the nuts and get it all over with in one fell swoop.

Figures it would happen in Philadelphia, the site of many a dastardly deed over the years.

For some reason today, the Indianapolis Colts will pretend like they’re the Baltimore Colts by donning THIS HELMET and portraying themselves as a team that has consistent history rather than what they are — transplants.

The league should be ashamed.

Jim Irsay…I was starting to come around on you a little bit over the years, but for this, today, you deserve to have a horseshoe thrown directly into your family jewels.

What a disgrace.

The 1955 Colts wore those uniforms in BALTIMORE.

Those uniforms ceased to exist in 1984 when that team left town.

Shameful.

The NFL has no balls, and they never have on this subject of Baltimore to Indy and the history and lore that is seamlessly attached.

Jim Irsay…you’re now on watch.

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Ravens appear to be ready for the NFL's elite teams .....

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Ravens appear to be ready for the NFL’s elite teams …..

Posted on 11 October 2010 by Rex Snider

For the past few years, we’ve been accustomed to witnessing some dismal, yet predictable outcomes whenever the Ravens play the National Football League’s best competition. Such shortcomings are undoubtedly tied to a few mitigating reasons, but most importantly, the opponents have simply been better teams.

Of course, for the purpose of this conversation, “best competition” = INDIANAPOLIS COLTS and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.

Dating back to 2002, the Ravens have amassed a collective record of 1-11 against the Colts and Patriots. You got that? ONE WIN and ELEVEN LOSSES.

If we’re searching for answers, a few likely conclusions come to mind …..

The Colts and Patriots have outcoached the Ravens.

The Colts and Patriots have outperformed the Ravens.

The Colts and Patriots have outgutted the Ravnes.

And, as we all know, the Colts and Patriots have these guys …..
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While Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have merited the significant hand in matchups against a young Joe Flacco, Kyle Boller, Steve McNair, Anthony Wright, Jeff Blake and Chris Redman, an even greater reality exists in justifying such one-sided dominance.

The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots have simply been been better teams. Heck, they’ve been the BEST teams of the last decade.

The Ravens have mounted some very spirited efforts against Indy and New England …..

Rewind the clock to December of 2007. On a blustery, snow flurried night, the Ravens nearly upset the undefeated Patriots, at M&T Bank Stadium. But, in the final seconds, the better team prevailed.

How about the trip to Indianapolis, in October of 2002? The Ravens lost a heartbreaker, thanks in part to an Oscar winning performance by former Raven, Qadry Ismail, on a disputable last minute pass interference call. But, once again, the better team prevailed.

The real reason the Ravens own ONE WIN against ELEVEN LOSSES in most recent matchups with the Colts and Patriots really boils down to the more talented team making things happen when it matters most. Indeed, this is a quality winners possess.

It also appears to be a quality the 2010 edition of the Baltimore Ravens are developing.

Yesterday’s win against the Denver Broncos didn’t really showcase any last minute heroics from Flacco & Company, but it did feature a well balanced offensive attack and this season’s first glimpse of a proposed powerful Ravens running game.

While Joe Flacco did not bring loud applause from his respective fantasy football owners, he did manage the game appropriately. He picked on a vulnerable secondary fill-in, when needed. And, he led an offensive effort that clearly wanted to win more than the Broncos defenders on the other side of the ball.

With exception to the hiccup in Cincinnati, the Ravens have improved their overall effort each and every week. And, the wins are coming with contributions from many facets of the team’s makeup. Yesterday, Ray Rice dominated. Last week, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Flacco stepped up at the biggest moment. Two weeks ago, Anquan Boldin burned the Browns.
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This is exactly how the Colts and Patriots have exploited the last decade. While Manning and Brady figure into every game’s outcome, they’ve reliably spread the ball, opportunities and credit among teammates.

Past games against the Colts or Patriots did not feature such an exercised strategy and performance from the Ravens. Years ago, Jamal Lewis was the lone offensive weapon, and more recently, Ray Rice and Derrick Mason have been the only real threats. Of course, the team’s defense has been heavily depended upon in each and every game.

But, it appears things are changing …..

Next Sunday, the Ravens will march into Foxboro with a more lethal offense than Bill Belichick has ever witnessed. Such a reality provides an optimistic feeling on this side of the fence. The Ravens pounded a “Welker-less” Patriots team, back in January. And, last October’s game …. well, lets just say that’s the game that slipped or “bounced” (off the chest of Mark Clayton) away.

There is legitimate reason to believe the Ravens are every bit as good as the Patriots. For the record, I think the Ravens are a better, balanced team.

That said, the Patriots are coming off their bye-week. And, history suggests Tom Brady is a very hard guy to beat when his team has two weeks to concentrate on an opponent. Regardless of the loss of Randy Moss, the Patriots will not lay down like the Broncos, nor will they be as unimaginative as the Steelers and Browns.

Next Sunday serves as a true test of the Baltimore Ravens legitimacy as an ELITE team in the National Football League.

It’s been nearly 9 years since the Ravens defeated the Colts or Patriots in a regular season contest. In the near-decade of matchups, Ravens losses have occurred in nearly every imaginable way. From last minute disappointments, to lackluster performances, to total blowouts, the Ravens have walked away from losses against the Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in nearly every possible scenario.

But, as I’ve suggested, that can really change next week. We could indeed witness the emergence of a couple of the NFL’s next BIG STARS …..
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And, to be quite honest, that’s the way it has to happen. Ray Rice is already on the brink and with yesterday’s showing, he’s primed to renew his 2009 outburst. With Joe Flacco, he needs the stage of serving notice on one of the guys who has done it many times. Beating Tom Brady, on successive efforts would be huge.

Most of all, the Ravens need to beat the Patriots, because that’s what winners do; they beat the good and bad teams.

Beating one of the two teams that has dominated the NFL for so long would establish a new dominance for the Ravens, and I think it would serve as a psychological step in the belief they can beat any team.

The Ravens are better than the Patriots, and in 6 days they’ll have an opportunity to prove it …..

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Ravens catching a break in New England ???

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Ravens catching a break in New England ???

Posted on 06 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Yes, I’m quite aware of the Baltimore Ravens schedule of regular season matchups, and this week features a visit from the Denver Broncos. It’s the second home game of the year and John Harbaugh’s squad is reasonably favored by 7 solid points.

I don’t look ahead ….. and I’m certainly not looking beyond Josh McDaniels’ very capable passing attack.

Heck, I would take Denver and the touchdown, if I gambled on football. That said, I still think the Ravens will win the game.

But, beyond this week, a very interesting matchup looms. Just one week from today, the Ravens and every individual who covers, follows and supports the team will be focusing on the New England Patriots.

While I know many observers are relying on last season’s playoff beatdown of Tom Brady as a means for justification in counting on a WIN in the upcoming trip to Foxboro, a proportionate number of us are little more cautious.

Regardless of what happened just 9 short months ago, things can and will change …..

Tom Brady is one of those ELITE quarterbacks we like discussing, when proposing the future aspirations of Joe Flacco. Brady possesses a methodical technique to spreading the ball around, while picking upon vulnerabilities of a defense.

Back in January, Brady’s options were far less numbered than usual. His new tight end options, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, were still in college. Newly acquired running back, Danny Woodhead, was part of Rex Ryan’s depth chart, in New York. And, Randy Moss was hobbled by injury – as the game against the Ravens clearly demonstrated.

Oh yeah, and this guy was done for the season.
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I’m not suggesting Wes Welker would’ve turned the table in that loss to the Ravens. John Harbaugh had his team prepared to play and they simply beat New England in every facet of the game.

However, in just 11 short days, the scene could appear differently ….. MUCH DIFFERENTLY.

And, it could end up benefiting the Ravens.

Last night, rumors regarding Randy Moss started circulating. Specifically, the information indicated Moss might be returning to the Minnesota Vikings, via trade.

This morning, the rumors are becoming more concrete and several sources (including the WORLD WIDE LEADER) are confirming a trade will be completed today. Of course, it hinges on Moss getting a contract extension – and more money.

Such a deal makes sense on many levels.

The Vikings desperately need to find a capable set of hands for the landing end of Brett Favre’s passes. And, a deep threat would be icing on the cake. Oh yeah, and Moss obviously knows the Vikings organization.

Perhaps, some mitigating reasons are at play, as well …..

I think many of us can envision a scenario where Favre packs up his Minny-circus for good, especially if the team is languishing below the .500 mark when November rolls around. And, given the underachieving play of the highly touted Green Bay Packers, the Vikings brass might sense an opportunity opening up.

Indeed, I can reasonably foresee a trade of Moss being beneficial for both organizations, especially if the Patriots yield some young defensive depth in return. Although, it would be a textbook Patriots move in simply collecting high draft picks in return.

Of all the reasons contemplated for predicting a trade of Randy Moss to the Vikings, the most daunting is undoubtedly tied to this mad scientist …..
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The entire football world knows Randy Moss is unhappy with his contract situation. It’s the same unprofessional load of crap that resulted in his ugly divorce from the Vikings, following the 2004 season.

Moss became a distraction for the Vikings. He undermined the mission of the team and his coach, Mike Tice.

The same situation appears to be blossoming, in New England. He’s getting louder and louder about his contractual bitterness. He didn’t catch a single pass in Monday’s victory against Miami, and he reportedly had “words” with Bill Belichick, yesterday.

That’s a bad move ….. unless, of course, the intent was to expedite a deal.

Regardless of how anyone feels about the New England Patriots, I think everyone with a CLUE realizes who really runs, controls and commands that organization. Bill Belichick is without a shadow of doubt, the H.M.F.I.C. of that team.

Nobody challenges his authority. And, if someone commits such an act, they’ll receive a departure ticket out of Logan Airport pretty quickly. Just ask Deion Branch or Adalius Thomas.

As I write this blog, many syndicated voices are flushing the collective 2010 competitive chances of the Patriots directly down the toilet …..

I’m not buying that bill of goods.

I’ve watched, too many times, as ELITE quarterbacks have introduced talented wideouts as overnight rockstars. Do you really think Austin Collie would be a top performer in Tennessee, Cleveland or Seattle? Would Marques Colston be a premier threat in Arizona, Carolina or Buffalo?

The key to the New England Patriots remains the same as it has for the last decade …..
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Tom Brady has ushered a far lesser talented receiving corps into a Super Bowl and won it. Just look at the 2004 edition of that team. (RIGHT HERE)

Without Randy Moss, it’s fair to say the New England Patriots cache’ of receivers is every bit as talented as the Indianapolis Colts’ crew. Is anyone counting them out?

This situation is simply reflective of what happens when a guy disrupts the environment of Bill Belichick’s team. Nothing more, nothing less …..

While I still respect the Patriots as a contender for the AFC crown, I’m pretty upbeat about the Ravens chances in next week’s trip to New England. And, if Randy Moss is no longer there, I’m even more optimistic about the Ravens chances.

While the Ravens are only 4 games into the regular season schedule, they’ve luckily avoided any ELITE quarterback/deep threat combinations. Indeed, the trip to New England serves as a formidable test for Greg Mattison’s secondary unit. With the reported, impending departure of Randy Moss, the gameplan will undoubtedly be a little simpler, right?

I’m certain the Moss situation is a distant consideration for John Harbaugh’s staff. That’s right, they’re squarely focused on Kyle Orton and the Denver Broncos. The Ravens will not be looking beyond this Sunday’s game.

But, when next Monday arrives, they might be really happy to see Randy Moss playing on Monday Night Football ….. for the Vikings.

And, wouldn’t you know it, that game is against the Patriots’ divisional rival; Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. Indeed, that’s CLASSIC Belichick.

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Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

Week 4 is the first week that byes take place in the NFL, so this is a great time to take short stock of each of the clubs through three weeks. And by short, I mean one line on each team — some stats, some observations and some conjecture.

First up, the AFC teams by division. Records are through Week 3:

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

AFC East

New York Jets (2-1): Despite crippled Revis Island on defense, brash Jets are only team in AFC East with perfect division record (2-0).

New England Patriots (2-1): QB Tom Brady (8 TD, 109.1 passer rating) is back to form as Patriots have AFC’s highest point total (90) and highest TD total (12) so far.

Miami Dolphins (2-1): Even with deep threat WR Brandon Marshall and RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins have same amount of TDs (5) as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills (0-3): Another lost year for Bills, which have scored fourth-least points (47) in AFC and have given up most points (87) on defense in the conference.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): The question for head coach Mike Tomlin is if the Steelers are 4-0 after a win over Baltimore in Week 4, why change QBs to Ben Roethlisberger?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Bengals, despite record, have struggled on offense as QB Carson Palmer (12th rated AFC passer at 71.3) hasn’t found rhythm with T.O.cho Show.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis, continues to carry a team expected to score much more in 2010 (44 points; 2nd-lowest in AFC), despite breakout game by WR Anquan Boldin (3 TDs) last week.

Cleveland Browns (0-3): Browns are led by Peyton … not Manning, but RB Hillis (220 yards, 3 TDs) as Browns gave popular AFC Super Bowl pick Ravens much trouble in Week 3.

AFC South

Houston Texans (2-1): Texans got over the hump of beating the Colts, but Houston is not the best team in state of Texas after bad loss to Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans (2-1): Titans defense has allowed fourth-fewest points in the AFC (42), and the Tennessee offense has RB Chris Johnson (4 TDs), but continuing issues at quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Despite loss to Houston, Colts still have potent passing attack with QB Peyton Manning and are arguably still best club in the AFC.

Jacksonville Jagaurs (1-2): Jaguars have worst scoring differential in AFC (-43), and Jack Del Rio could be the AFC’s first fired coach.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): Most surprising number for unbeaten Chiefs is that defense has allowed least points in the AFC (38), and in weak AFC West, KC might have enough to win the division.

San Diego Chargers (1-2): Special teams burned for two scores at Seattle, and Chargers QB Philip Rivers (AFC-high 4 INTs) is missing a suddenly resurgent RB LaDainian Tomlinson, now with the Jets.

Denver Broncos (1-2): Broncos getting decent offensive production from QB Kyle Orton, but overall have a minus point differential (-4; 61 PF, 65 PA).

Oakland Raiders (1-2): High-priced K Sebastian Janikowski could have made Raiders a 2-1 team with made kicks at Arizona, but Raiders need more than 3s (4 TDs, tied for lowest in AFC with JAX) to be competitive in up-for-grabs division.

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): The Eagles have gone from a transitional season with QB Kevin Kolb to division title hopes with QB Michael Vick, who might be a legit NFL MVP candidate down the road.

Washington Redskins (1-2): Opening victory over Dallas doesn’t look as good after defense was shredded in last two weeks and Cowboys’ struggles.

New York Giants (1-2): A minus-30 scoring differential (55 PF, 85 PA) is third-worst in NFC, and head coach Tom Coughlin is starting to feel the heat.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Cowboys avoided 0-3 start in Week 3 with big win over Houston, and Dallas has the personnel to rebound in a wide-open NFC East race.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (3-0): Most unlikely last remaining 3-0 team in NFC gives head coach Lovie Smith some breathing room as O-line tries to keep QB Jay Cutler upright in Mike Martz offensive system.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): Despite mental miscues in Week 3 loss at Chicago, popular Super Bowl XLV NFC pick has plenty of offensive weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers, but need run game to be re-established after Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2): QB Brett Favre looks very old right now, and Vikings best chance to win is to get away from pass-first mindset to get the ball into Adrian Peterson’s hopefully sure hands more often.

Detroit Lions (0-3): Injury to QB Matthew Stafford put dent into head coach Jim Schwartz’s immediate rebuilding plans, and Lions don’t get a break in Week 4 against Packers.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Falcons posted most-impressive win of Week 3 as they marched out of New Orleans with a OT win, and Atlanta has NFC best-tying +31 point differential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): AFter 2-0 start, Bucs ran into Steelers’ buzzsaw in Week 3, and Tampa Bay is staring at possible 2-3 record with games vs. Cincinnati and New Orleans after bye week.

New Orleans Saints (2-1): Saints run defense was exposed in loss to Falcons, and defending Super Bowl champs need fast starts in order to avoid same fate against strong run teams going forward.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Winless Panthers have least TDs in NFC (3), and head coach John Fox may be running out of rope with owner Jerry Richardson.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Head coach Pete Carroll sidestepped Southern California mess and he has put Seattle in early position to make headway in weak NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1): Despite record, Cards have minus-29 point differential (48 PF, 77 PA) and would be 1-2 if Oakland made a field goal or two in Week 3.

St. Louis Rams (1-2): Rookie QB Sam Bradford will have to grow up in a hurry, but the shame is that the Rams can’t play Washington every week.

San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Head coach Mike Singletary used the next-to-last bullet in his gun after firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, and the last one might be used by 49ers ownership at end of the season if disappointments continue.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Give 'Em Credit .... Bengals & Colts Have The Book On Flacco

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Give ‘Em Credit …. Bengals & Colts Have The Book On Flacco

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, it’s the morning after the first inexcusable loss of the Ravens season and as I peered out over the rooftops to the east, early today, I saw the sun start starting to rise.

Yep, my old friend, Harry Lentz, has been proven right, again.

Regardless of how bad any Baltimore football fan feels, we can all count on the sobering reality of another Monday greeting us with the accustomed reminder that it’s time to go back to work.

Hmmm …. do you think that might be the resounding message at 1 Winning Drive, as well? No doubt, you can count on this reality, as strongly as Harry Lentz’s daily prediction on sunrises.

With yesterday’s ugly loss squarely in the rear view, it’s time for all of us who watch the games to complain about that stinker on the Ohio River. But, the Ravens braintrust is already working on improving their quarterback’s vulnerabilities, as well as preparing for the Cleveland Browns.

Speaking of work, Joe Flacco is going to draw as much attention as any one person in this entire world throughout Baltimore’s respective employment communities today. That’s right, MONDAY MORNINGS breed QUARTERBACKS and every slapdick with an opinion on football is going to breakdown Joe’s problems.

“He holds the ball too long”

“He doesn’t look comfortable”

“He stares at his receivers”

“He looks like Kyle Boller.”

Indeed, each of these phases and hundreds of others will be uttered as Ravens fans try to comprehend losing for the first time in 247 days.

That’s right, the last time the Ravens walked off a field as losers of a game that mattered was on January 16th, in Indianapolis. You remember that night, right?
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When Flacco digested last season’s playoff loss to the Colts, his passing statistics (20 for 35, 0 TD, 2 INT) must have weighed on his mind. Ironically, yesterday was statistically in the neighborhood (17 for 39, 1 TD, 4 INT) of that Colts loss.

Is there a reason for the similar results? Well, the true diagnostic answer to such a question really lays at the feet of Cam Cameron and his staff. However, a pattern of certain likened end-results is occuring.

Joe Flacco absolutely, positively struggles against the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals.

There, I said it.

And, there must be an articulable reason, right?

Blame it on the COVER 2 DEFENSE. The Colts and Bengals comprise their own respective versions of tormenting Joe Flacco. But, these teams absolutely obstruct the middle of the field and routinely drop a couple defenders deep on the Ravens.

And, so long as they can apply significant pressure by routinely rushing their front four, such successes will continue.

In his brief NFL career, Joe Flacco has faced the Colts and Bengals EIGHT times. The Ravens have won TWO of those games. And, both wins came against an injury-riddled Bengals team that went 4-11, in 2008.

In these same 8 games, Flacco has thrown 4 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, while completing 162 of 268 passes.

Have things worsened?

It certainly looks like it. Perhaps, the Colts and Bengals have found a way to further complicate this book they’ve developed on Flacco and the Ravens. That’s what they’re expected to do.

In his last 16 quarters against the Colts and Bengals, Joe Flacco has thrown just ONE touchdown, while slinging NINE interceptions. He can’t beat Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer with such performances.

The Colts and Bengals have found Flacco’s glaring weakness …..
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He has problems making a play and fitting the ball in a very tiny window. Thus, the safeties are splitting the field, while linebackers fall back and the cornerbacks stay underneath and do everything possible to hinder any routes to the middle.

The Colts and Bengals are not employing any ORGANIZED CHAOS schemes. They’re simply doing what works …..

Is yesterday’s loss lying squarely on the doorstep of Joe Flacco? Hell, no …..

There is plenty of blame to go around, especially in regard to the offensive line, as well as some harrowing special teams breakdowns. And, yes, officiating blunders breathed life into a rather lackluster Bengals offense.

But, Flacco will take the heat today. It comes with the territory and he knows it. The Monday Morning Quarterbacks will make their voices heard late into the afternoon.

That said, it’s just the second week of the NFL season. A week from today, we’ll sit around and celebrate a beatdown of the Cleveland Browns in the home opener and everything will be fine, again.

It’s a “week to week” process, I suppose. This Ravens team can improve in many facets, and yesterday serves as proof of it.

But, be certain of one thing …..

Joe Flacco is still the key component to the future of the Baltimore Ravens. End of discussion …..

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3 Keys To Beating The Jets .....

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3 Keys To Beating The Jets …..

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, we’ve been awaiting the arrival of this day for nearly five months. Through the celebration of Memorial Day, July 4th, family vacations and a return to another school year, this ONE DAY has occupied a place in the forefront of our minds. As I look back to mid-April, we’ve eagerly yearned for two things to happen ….

The Orioles SECOND win of the season

The release of the 2010 NFL schedules

And, when the Ravens slate of games was announced, we wasted no time in circling the first game of the season. Admittedly, it hasn’t always been so significant to get antsy about the season’s first opponent, right? More often than not, it’s just one of 16 contests.

Do you remember these season openers?

2001 – a lackluster win against the Bears to commemorate the Super Bowl championship

2005 – an absolute beatdown by the Colts; a game featuring embarrassing hometown cheers when Kyle Boller was injured

2007 – losing a Monday night opener to the Bengals, while being hyped as a pre-season Super Bowl favorite

2008 – needing late defensive help and luck to beat a less than powerful Chiefs team

Opening games are much easier to recall than most mid-season matchups, right? All teams are undefeated as they head into week #1 on the NFL slate. All teams have hope and optimism. But, 16 of those same teams will find themselves winless as week #2 approaches.

Is tonight’s matchup against the Jets especially significant as it regards the opening of another season? My mind says NO …. each game is important, with only divisional and December/January contests taking on additional significance. Yet, my heart says “HELL YES” it’s more important.

Why? Well, that’s easy …..
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Actually, there are a couple distinct reasons …..

The Baltimore Ravens, as an organization, are not known for rising to the occasion and beating highly touted opponents. And, Monday night matchups on the football world’s big stage haven’t yielded many wins, either.

As we know, the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship game, last year. The Ravens are 6-16 in matchups against teams that appeared in the AFC Championship game, the prior season. They’re not known for beating highly touted opponents.

As for Monday contests, the Ravens are 6-8, as the team enters its 15th year in existence. Not a stellar record, huh?

So, I think tonight’s game against the Jets is quite important. While the game does not represent more than a common victory over the Browns or Bucs in the win column, it can serve as an excellent springboard to start the season. The Ravens have an opportunity to beat a quality touted opponent …. and on the big stage.

If they’re gonna win, I see 3 distinct keys to making it happen …..

1) Force Mark Sanchez To Beat This Defense

I don’t think he can do it. In a pressured situation, I don’t think Sanchez can deliver a victory with his arm. His rookie season proved to be full of both mental and executional errors. And, if his portion on HBO’s Hard Knocks was an indicator for his ability to concentrate and comprehend, I’d suggest the Jets are in trouble.

Sanchez looks beyond confused or lost. In fact, he looks disinterested and easily distracted. While he boasts and walks around Manhattan with a 5th Avenue sense of style, he doesn’t carry the same confidence onto the football field. The guy cannot win a BIG GAME …..
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Force him to try. I will bet the house he’ll fail.

If a game is on the line, I don’t want to face Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Heck, I don’t want to face Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers, either. But, I’ll take my chances facing Mark Sanchez. I would bet against him every time.
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2) Come Out FIRING !!!!

The entire football world knows and expects the product known as RAVENS FOOTBALL. It’s quite predictable; relentlessly pursue on defense and establish a methodical, conservative running game. The Ravens’ storied offensive approach is contrary to the Mannings, Brees’ and Bradys of the world. Heck, it’s contrary to Roethlisberger – if he really needs to make a play.

I want to see the Ravens testing the Jets on the first possession. I’m not saying abandon the run, I’m just hoping the emphasis of the gameplan doesn’t rest on Ray Rice’s shoulders. Test the UNTESTED Jets secondary …..

Antonio Cromartie was kicked out of San Diego – good cornerbacks aren’t shown the door so easily.

Kyle Wilson has NEVER seen a play in the NFL’s regular season.

Darrelle Revis hasn’t played a minute of “fullspeed” football in nearly 8 months.

Jim Leonhard is a prototypical part-time player.

TEST THEM.

Will Joe Flacco throw a couple picks if he’s so aggressive? Probably. That just puts the ball back in the hands of this guy …..
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I will take my chances against Mark Sanchez every single time. He’s NEVER really won an NFL game. I’ve said this a hundred times over the last few months …. “the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship game in spite of Sanchez, rather than because of him.”

He is not beating the Ravens defense.
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3) Ask Yourself, “What Would Bill Belichick Do?”

After the dust and hype from tonight’s contest settles, one team will be undefeated and the other will be winless. That’s the promise of the NFL’s first week. When tomorrow morning arrives, we’ll have a distinct winner and loser.

In fact, when tomorrow morning arrives, John Harbaugh and his staff will have their minds squarely on the Cincinnati Bengals. And, Rex Ryan’s team will be focusing on the New England Patriots. Then again, Rex might be finishing up a fresh helping of humble pie, too.

Make no mistake about it, as I sit here writing this blog, Bill Belichick is probably holed up in some dark room, obsessing over Hard Knocks footage, as well as last year’s AFC Championship game tape. He’ll be watching and rewinding tonight’s game, too.

Is that Belichick’s strategy? No, it’s his preparation. His strategy to pick apart an opponent’s defensive vulnerabilities and eventually clamp down on them by throwing for touchdown after touchdown after touchdown.

While they don’t always achieve such a dominance, the Belichick & Brady combination seek to beat an opponent to a point of certain victory. They’ll stick their foot on the throat of competition and never lift off, until the final whistle blows.

That’s what they did to the Bengals, yesterday. And, it’s exactly what they’ll plan to do against the Jets, next week.

I’m hoping John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Cam Cameron, Ray Lewis, Greg Mattison and every other member of the Ravens has the same relentless desire to crush the opponent in tonight’s game. Come out fast and don’t let off …..

What would Bill Belichick do?

That’s right, he’ll command each and every assault in his arsenal. He’ll pour it on. He’ll test and likely victimize the overhyped Jets defensive secondary.

And, aside from anything else, he knows this kid will never bring his team from behind to beat the Patriots …..
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Hate him or not, do what Bill Belichick would do …..

Beat the Jets beyond submission. While Rex Ryan had a great hand in building the Ravens defense, he’s asserted himself as ENEMY #1 on the football field. Let him feel the pain of humiliation.

Rex’s ego is probably bigger than ever. He has guaranteed the Jets go to the Super Bowl.

Tonight, the Ravens can take a first step in ensuring Rex’s promise – albeit from the seats and watching the game as fans.

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My Super Bowl Pick .....

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My Super Bowl Pick …..

Posted on 10 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Over the past couple days, I’ve predicted the respective finishes in the AFC/NFC divisions. Today, it’s time to paint my picture of Super Bowl 45. Admittedly, it will be tough to pick against the Ravens making a trip to Dallas, in early February. After all, they’re a consensus favorite among MANY notable sports personalities.

What do predictions yield the Ravens? NOTHING …..

Predictions are quite simply as worthless as the time it takes to express them. But, it’s still fun to forecast the prospective future of the upcoming National Football League season.

As I review my AFC picks, I’m considering the division winners, which include the Dolphins, Ravens, Colts and Chargers. My wildcards are the Patriots and Texans. I foresee the Ravens and Dolphins meeting for the AFC crown and I’ll predict a big hometown win at M&T Bank Stadium on a chilly, overcast January day.

When I look back at my NFC selections, I can choose from the Cowboys, Packers, Saints and 49ers, as division champs. The wildcards are the Falcons and Vikings. While it will be an exciting season in the NFC, I’m picking the Saints to represent their conference, once again. I believe they’ll hand the 49ers a pretty sound beating on the same field where the 2010 season began, last night.

So, my prediction for Super Bowl 45 is …..
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And, my pick?

Ravens 27

Saints 20

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My NFL Predictions ....

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My NFL Predictions ….

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, we’ve finally reached that point, right? The National Football League kicks off its season tomorrow night. So, the training camp perspectives can now be translated into your outlook for the AFC, NFC and ultimately, the Super Bowl winner.

It’s easy to sit back and forecast the Ravens to hoist the Lombardi Trophy into the Dallas night, on February 6th. That’s what our hearts say – regardless, of whatever cautionary measures our minds consider. You wanna pick the Ravens, because it feels good to do so …..

Of course, choosing Joe Flacco and company is a logical consideration, as well. This team identified vulnerabilities during the offseason, and they did their best to address current injury-related weaknesses over the past month. Overall, it appears to be a very stellar squad.

This Ravens team is much more lethal on the offensive side of the ball, specifically in the passing game. And, the defense appears to be primed for another strong campaign, even when considering the woes in the secondary. As for special teams play, management chose the leg that boots the ball deeper on kickoffs, and that makes me happy.

Am I picking the Ravens? You’re damned right I’m picking them. I’m rewarding my heart and my mind. And, like I said, it’s a logical proposition. As for my overall views, I’ll spend the next few days dishing on them. Today, I’m providing my picks for the AFC:

AFC EAST
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1) Miami Dolphins (11-5) – I’ve just got a feeling this team finally reaches its potential. Much of the hope will rest upon Ronnie Brown’s health and I’m suspecting he’ll finally stay on his feet for an entire season. Combined with Ricky Williams in the backfield and the addition of Brandon Marshall in the passing game, I think the Dolphins realize that next step.

If you recall, they were that one team NOBODY wanted to play for a substantial stretch of the 2009 season. That said, they started the season poorly and seemed to be climbing uphill through December. This year, it’s a different story. They’ll finish 11-5 and win the AFC East.

2) New England Patriots (10-6)

3) New York Jets (10-6)

4) Buffalo Bills (3-13)
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AFC NORTH
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1) Baltimore Ravens (12-4) – Yeah, I’m drinking the purple kool-aid and it’s for good reason; they’re a solid freakin’ team. When I attended the Ravens ’09 season ending press conference, during the first week of February, I distinctly recall Steve Bisciotti’s words. He said the organization was committed to building around Joe Flacco, and he obviously wasn’t kidding.

Here we stand a mere seven months later and Ozzie Newsome has added receivers Anquan Boldin, Donte’ Stallworth and TJ Houshmandzadeh, as well as rookie tight ends Ed Dickson and Vince Pitta as legitimate options for Flacco’s arm. The defense, while still primarily intact will continue to play at a level Ray Lewis demands of himself. They’ll be fine and this will be a very enjoyable season.

2) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

3) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)

4) Cleveland Browns (5-11)
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AFC SOUTH
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1) Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – I would like nothing more than to predict doom and gloom for the Colts. But, they’ve still got a superior passing game with Peyton Manning continuing to make good receivers look great. This will be the season of a new favorite target for Manning, as Pierre Garcon will supplant Reggie Wayne as his favorite deep target.

I realize everyone is smitten with the Houston Texans passing game, as well. But, Matt Schaub and his stable of receiving targets will not be enough to overtake the Colts.

2) Houston Texans (10-6)

3) Tennessee Titans (10-6)

4) Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10)
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AFC WEST
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1) San Diego Chargers (11-5) – Not a hard decision, huh? The Chargers, minus Vince Jackson and LaDanian Tomlinson are fairly intact as the unit that dominated the AFC WEST, last season. I think rookie Ryan Matthews is an upgrade over LT and the recently acquired Patrick Crayton should provide some support to the receiving corps.

Philip Rivers is really coming into his own as an elite NFL quarterback and in a similar fashion to Peyton Manning, his arm and intellect will make his targets look better than they would in a lesser system.

2) Kansas City Chiefs (8-8)

3) Oakland Raiders (7-9)

4) Denver Broncos (6-10)

Well, this is how I see the AFC shaping up. Tomorrow, I’ll give my predictions for the NFC and on Friday, I’ll post my postseason scenarios for both conferences, as well as pick my Super Bowl winner.

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