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Flacco spells it out following big win over rival Pittsburgh

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Flacco spells it out following big win over rival Pittsburgh

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — Joe Flacco’s comments about Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s controversial involvement during a long Jacoby Jones kick return will garner the attention in the aftermath of the Ravens’ 22-20 win over their AFC North rival.

But it was Flacco explaining why he appeared to be more animated than usual Thursday night that struck a chord as the Ravens not only improved to 6-6 to pull into the lead for the No. 6 spot in the AFC but eclipsed the 20-point mark in a game for the first time since Week 5. He wasn’t satisfied with one of the better offensive outputs of the season.

“I was just frustrated, mostly,” Flacco said. “There were so many opportunities out there for us to score points and just win big and put the game away. We didn’t do it, and we left [the Pittsburgh comeback] to happen. That’s just frustrating. When you’re not converting and scoring touchdowns, you’re hoping that doesn’t happen, but in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, ‘Man, this is going to catch up to us.’”

It almost did catch up with them as the Ravens didn’t sew up the pivotal win until Ben Roethlisberger’s two-point conversion pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders fell incomplete with 1:03 remaining in the game. The 22-point outing was their fourth-highest total of the season, but it could have been much more as the Ravens were only 1-for-4 inside the red zone.

The offense put together five drives of 40 or more yards, which isn’t a feat to take lightly when you enter Week 13 as the league’s 30th-ranked offense and are tied for 24th in averaging 20.6 points per game. The production came with the defense not forcing a single turnover to set up the Ravens offense on a short field, though the offense did benefit from Jones’ 73-yard kickoff return that would have been a touchdown if not for Tomlin’s apparent interference along the sideline.

Their six scoring drives — one touchdown and five Justin Tucker field goals — were the most they’ve had since a win over the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 6.

They were 10-for-17 on third down after going 3-for-13 against the New York Jets a week earlier.

And Sam Koch punted only one time, besting his previous season low of three that was set in the first meeting with Pittsburgh.

It was progress — if even just a little.

“I thought we played pretty well tonight, to be honest with you,” Flacco said. “That’s why I was so frustrated. We did so many things really, really well and put ourselves in so many positions to put points on the board and put a lot on there tonight. Anytime you score 22 points, you basically kicked all field goals and you scored on a lot of drives. You didn’t punt the ball, you didn’t turn the ball over. We did so many things well. We were right there. That’s why I think it’s probably a little more animated and so frustrating, because we were just right there. You could taste it, and we just didn’t convert a lot.”

The predictable warts of the Baltimore offense surfaced over the course of 60 minutes as the running game was once again ineffective and several penalties — including three false starts by right tackle Michael Oher — made life more difficult. Flacco was also let down by a couple key drops as wide receiver Torrey Smith struggled to catch the ball consistently after a dominating opening drive in which he caught the Ravens’ only touchdown of the game.

After making headlines earlier this week about his disdain for the wildcat offense, Flacco turned in one of his best performances of the season, completing 24 of 35 passes for 251 yards and the 7-yard touchdown to Smith that followed a 54-yard strike earlier in the Ravens’ first series of the night. His footwork in and out of the pocket was exceptional as he bought himself time and eluded pressure on numerous occasions.

For the first time ever, Flacco and the Ravens got the best of Roethlisberger in a late-season game with major postseason ramifications.

And the sixth-year quarterback didn’t even have to line up at wide receiver a single time.

After so many weeks of needing to say the right things after abysmal offensive performances, Flacco wasn’t interested in patting his offensive teammates or himself on the back too much.

“We just shot ourselves in the foot,” Flacco said. “A couple of catches that we could have made, false starts. On the one that I remember, I rolled out right and tried to hit Torrey on the right side, but we had a guy wide open on the left sideline. We just didn’t get it picked up the right way — little stuff like that. The penalties, it’s not even stuff that you can fix in practice. We’ve just got to be a little better. I’ve probably got to have a little bit better rhythm with my cadence.”

Even with progress offensively that started last week with the reappearance of the vertical passing game — arguably the most critical offensive development of the season — the Ravens will continue to be impeded by their poor running game and inability to consistently use the middle of the field in the passing attack. The expected return of tight end Dennis Pitta for the Week 14 contest against the Minnesota Vikings should help but won’t suddenly transform the Baltimore offense into a top-10 unit.

The schedule also grows difficult after the Vikings game as the Ravens will play three teams projected to be in the playoffs — two of them on the road — to close out the regular season. Baltimore will desperately need to find a way to improve on its ugly 1-5 record away from M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens don’t have the luxury of resting on their laurels and getting comfortable, but if the last two weeks are any indication, their franchise quarterback is beginning to heat up at the right time after several sub-par performances following their Week 8 bye.

With a good — but not great — defense and a one-dimensional offense, the Ravens still don’t look the part of a serious playoff team despite their current standing as the AFC’s No. 6 seed. They’ll go as far as Flacco will take them, however, which means they can’t be slept on entirely.

Beating the Steelers in a game with their playoff lives on the line was a significant step in the right direction.

“It was kind of like a boxing match out there early on,” Flacco said. “There are definitely high emotions, and a lot that goes into this football game. It’s really because winning it means a lot, in terms of the grand scheme of things. We all understand that.”

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Our Ravens/Steelers “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Steelers “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 22-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Thanksgiving night at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn’s Pats…

5. Bernard Pierce

 

4. James Ihedigbo

 

3. Lardarius Webb

 

2. Torrey Smith

1. Justin Tucker (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2….)

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Flacco: “Tomlin pulled my move!”

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Flacco: “Tomlin pulled my move!”

Posted on 29 November 2013 by WNSTV

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Jets

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Jets

Posted on 26 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 19-3 win over the New York Jets Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Geno Smith pass intended for Bilal Powell incomplete on 3rd and goal (1st quarter)

The Jets’ only real TD chance on the day but could have set things up to go the wrong way.  

4. Torrey Smith 60 yard catch from Joe Flacco (2nd quarter)

A “statement” play on a drive that only finished with a field goal…but didn’t need more. 

3. Justin Tucker 53 yard field goal GOOD (3rd quarter)

If he misses this, the Jets are in great shape in a close game. 

2. Corey Graham intercepts Geno Smith pass intended for David Nelson (3rd quarter)

The above GIF is of his second pick, his first set up the play that is Number 1.

1. Jacoby Jones 66 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco (3rd quarter)

The Jets would have never come back anyway, but this was certainly the “ender”.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens must continue to come up “big” in push for playoffs

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Ravens must continue to come up “big” in push for playoffs

Posted on 24 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — The third quarter of Sunday’s 19-3 win over the New York Jets was following a predictable pattern for a Ravens offense that hasn’t put together a 60-minute performance all season.

After moving the ball with some success in the first half with three drives of 50 or more yards — all resulting in field goals — and 212 yards, the Ravens had gained just 15 yards on 11 plays after halftime as the third quarter was winding down. Faced with a first-and-5 from their own 34, quarterback Joe Flacco ran a play-action fake to running back Ray Rice before heaving a bomb to wide receiver Jacoby Jones with a stiff wind at the quarteback’s back.

Sprinting behind 35-year-old Jets free safety Ed Reed, Jones reined in the pass for a 66-yard touchdown that not only gave the Ravens a 16-point lead but also represented something they’d been missing this year. Flacco’s strike to Jones was the Ravens’ first touchdown all season on a pass thrown more than 20 yards in the air, a reality that would have seemed absurd a year ago when Baltimore’s vertical passing game was arguably the most dangerous in the NFL.

“It was probably the play of the game for us,” coach John Harbaugh said. “The ball got up there and got caught in the wind. If you saw it, it was being pushed that way. I thought once it got up in the air and the wind got it, I didn’t think Jacoby [Jones] was going to be able to get it. He shifted into another gear and he went and got that ball — just an amazing play. And then for him to reach out and catch it and keep his balance, just a tremendous, athletic play.”

Sunday’s offensive performance was far from exceptional as the Ravens failed to score more than 20 points in a game for the sixth straight time, and the offense provided what we’ve come to expect over the first 11 games of the 2013 season. The Ravens had little success on the ground in averaging just 2.2 yards per carry against the Jets’ top-ranked rush defense, but the 66-yard touchdown strike to Jones followed an earlier 60-yard bomb to Torrey Smith and offered a glimpse of how the Ravens must operate in order to stack enough wins down the stretch to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

Just as the defense forced three turnovers and Jones provided 146 return yards in the special-teams department, the Ravens need more big plays in all three phases of the game and finally received a couple from their passing attack in disposing of the Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

Flacco dismissed the idea of feeling a sense of relief in connecting on a deep-ball score, but more offensive explosions will give the Ravens a better chance against quality opponents remaining on the schedule.

“I don’t think it was that kind of feeling,” Flacco said. “It was just like, ‘Yes, we got a touchdown. We have 19 points now.’ It wasn’t anything like, ‘Oh, I’ve been looking for that,’ or ‘We haven’t done that in a while.’ That wasn’t why; that didn’t creep in at all. It was really just excitement because it was a tight game, we hadn’t put the ball in the end zone yet, and we were able to do it right there.”

The Ravens have played tight games all season, with all but two prior to Sunday’s win being decided by eight or fewer points. And the absence of big plays in the passing game is a factor in explaining why an offense that struggles to consistently sustain drives hasn’t been able to put the Ravens over the top this season.

Injuries to Jones and Deonte Thompson zapped the Ravens of speed to put on the opposite side of the formation to Smith early in the season, enabling defenses to bracket coverage and shade a deep safety to one side of the field. The absence of a consistent running game and receiving threats over the intermediate middle portion of the field — specifically due to the trade of slot receiver Anquan Boldin and the injury to tight end Dennis Pitta — have allowed safeties to remain deep in coverage. Other times, offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell and Flacco haven’t even appeared committed to trying to throw deep.

But the vertical passing game reemerged Sunday as the deep strikes to Smith and Jones led directly to 10 points and a win to move the Ravens closer to the .500 mark with Pittsburgh coming to town Thanksgiving night for a contest with major playoff implications. Another deep strike or two would go a long way in loosening up the league’s eighth-ranked passing game on Thursday night.

“That was huge for our offense,” said Smith, whose reception early in the second quarter set up the Ravens’ second field goal of the game and gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. “It’s not that we’re depending on it, but it always helps to get chunks of yardage like that. When we get those kinds of days going, it’s usually good for our offense.”

The Ravens were dependent on the deep ball last season as Flacco completed 28 of 82 passes traveling 20 or more yards in the air for nine touchdowns and no interceptions. The sixth-year quarterback entered Sunday having gone just 10-for-50 in that department for no touchdowns and five interceptions in the first 10 games of the season.

As Flacco has mentioned several times this season when asked what has happened to the vertical passing game, low-percentage throws aren’t easy to complete and perhaps the lack of success this season has been as much about a market correction from last year’s success than anything else. But the Ravens offense isn’t equipped to drive up and down the field with the better offenses in the league.

Sunday provided a reasonable blueprint for the Ravens in their bid to advance to the postseason in a muddled AFC wild-card race. A turnover-making defense, strong special teams, and an offense able to strike on a couple big plays led to an easy win over the Jets, the team that entered Week 12 as the No. 6 seed in the division.

The Ravens offense hasn’t lived up to its end of the bargain all year for a variety of reasons, but some home-run passes mixed in with their weekly struggles might provide enough to make the final five weeks of the season interesting.

“It’s the rhythm of the game, the timing,” said Jones in describing why the vertical passing game has been absent. “Sometimes, we’ll be in a certain part of the game where what they’re giving is what [we’ll] take. And we try to connect, and it will be off, and the rhythm and timing will be off. But today, we were on point.”

The 5-6 Ravens will have no choice but to be on point for the rest of the season.

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Flacco makes plays in air amidst blustery conditions

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Flacco makes plays in air amidst blustery conditions

Posted on 24 November 2013 by WNSTV

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Our Ravens/Jets “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Jets “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 24 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 19-3 win over the New York Jets Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn’s Pats…

5. Chris Canty

4. Corey Graham

3. Daryl Smith

2. Joe Flacco

1. Jacoby Jones (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Bengals

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Bengals

Posted on 12 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 20-17 (OT) win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Justin Tucker 46 yard field goal good (Overtime)

4. James Ihedigbo 37 yard return of Andy Dalton interception intended for Tyler Eifert, Mohamed Sanu called for 11 yard personal foul (2nd quarter)

3. Reggie Nelson draws 48 yard pass interference on Joe Flacco pass intended for Jacoby Jones (1st down)

2. Terrell Suggs and Corey Graham tackle Andy Dalton for no gain on 4th & 1 (1st down)

1. Giovani Bernard -11 yard catch from Andy Dalton on 4th down, tackled by Corey Graham (Overtime)



(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Steelers

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Steelers

Posted on 22 October 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Bernard Pierce tackled by Lawrence Timmons and Steve McLendon for one yard loss on 3rd & 1 (1st quarter)

You cannot start a 3rd & 1 run five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Oy.

4. Lamar Woodley sacks Joe Flacco for 10 yard loss on 3rd & 8 from Pittsburgh 34 (2nd quarter)

It would have been a long field goal attempt, but I’d rather that than a punt.

3. William Gay breaks up Joe Flacco pass intended for Jacoby Jones on 3rd & 12 (3rd quarter)

Man did that one really bother me watching the film again Monday. Very close to six.

2. Elvis Dumervil called for unnecessary roughness after Jerricho Cotchery 7 yard catch from Ben Roethlisberger (3rd quarter)

From 2nd & 17 to an eight minute drive.

1. Vince Williams recovers Justin Tucker onside kick attempt, Tucker flagged for illegal touching (4th quarter)

The decision was questionable. The execution was putrid.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 19 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Meeting for the 38th time in the last 18 years, the Ravens and Steelers renew one of the greatest rivalries in the NFL at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon.

The buildup of this year’s first meeting between the AFC North rivals lacks its normal buzz as this is the first time since 2002 — not counting season openers — in which the Ravens and Steelers meet with neither team sporting a winning record. However, the game could be even more critical than usual for each team as the Steelers are trying to climb out of the 0-4 hole they dug for themselves in September while the Ravens don’t want to head into their bye week with a losing record.

The cast of characters continues to change in this rivalry as the likes of Ray Lewis, Hines Ward, Ed Reed, and James Harrison are no longer present, but Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger takes on the Ravens for the first time since Nov. 6, 2011 with a now-healthy Terrell Suggs aiming for him on the edge. Meanwhile, the Ravens will attempt to win their fourth straight regular-season game in Pittsburgh, which would be a franchise best after Baltimore also won three straight on the road from 1999 through 2001.

It’s time to go on the record as the Steelers lead the regular-season series by a 19-15 margin while also owning a 3-0 advantage in postseason contests. The Ravens are 7-10 all-time in Pittsburgh but have won three of the last four games overall at Heinz Field. Of the last 10 games played in the regular season between these two rivals, eight have been decided by three points and each team has won five.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens look to put the Steelers in a 1-5 early-season hole while also earning their 14th win in their last 16 AFC North games …

1. Punters Sam Koch and Zoltan Mesko will have a very busy afternoon with a combined 15 punts.
You can feel your eyelids getting heavy just reading that first prediction, but neither team’s offense has inspired confidence this season as the Ravens rank 22nd in total yards while the Steelers are 18th. Both teams rank in the bottom six in rush offense, putting plenty of pressure on their respective quarterbacks. These teams combined for 25 punts in their two meetings last year, and I’d expect a similar story this season with points at a premium. The Ravens’ struggles on first and second down are well-documented as they rank 23rd in third-down conversion percentage while Pittsburgh is 21st in the league in third-down percentage. With strong defenses and a history of close, low-scoring games, field position will be very critical in determining the winner of this one as it often has been over the years.

2. Jacoby Jones won’t cash in with a touchdown like he did last year in Pittsburgh, but a big play from the wide receiver and return specialist will set up a Ravens touchdown. His 63-yard punt return for a score was the difference between a win and a loss at Heinz Field last year, and the Ravens are surely glad to have Jones’ speed back on the field via special teams and the passing game. Jones provides a consistent vertical threat on the opposite side of the field to Torrey Smith that the Ravens hope will take away some of the bracketed coverage Smith has seen this season without much complementary speed on the field. Jones made his presence immediately known last week in catching a touchdown in the second half against Green Bay, and he will set the Ravens up on a short field with a long return on a day when the offenses will struggle for each team.

3. The Steelers have sported the better overall pass defense, but the Ravens’ ferocious pass rush will lead to five sacks against Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh’s secondary has played at a very high level this season in allowing only 196 passing yards per game, but the pass rush has been underwhelming with just seven sacks, ranking 31st in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Ravens rank third in the league with 22 sacks and have consistently gotten pressure on quarterbacks to help out a suspect secondary. It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh offensive line has struggled this season, but the Ravens will once again face a quarterback with the ability to escape pressure to extend plays for receivers to get open down the field. After facing Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in the last two games, the Ravens will be ready to face Roethlisberger, who isn’t as elusive as he was in his younger days. That will lead to a rough day for the Pittsburgh quarterback in the pocket.

4. With the running game a non-factor for both teams, the focus will shift to the passing game with Smith and Antonio Brown shining for their respective teams. The Ravens spoke about making changes this week to energize a rush offense averaging a paltry 2.7 yards per carry and the Steelers surprisingly rank an uncharacteristic 22nd against the run, but Baltimore will need to show it to make me believe they can do anything productive on the ground. The Steelers have been almost as inept at 3.1 yards per rushing attempt as their offense depends on Roethlisberger’s arm and the passing game. Smith was the hero in Pittsburgh two years ago in catching a game-winning touchdown in the final seconds of a comeback victory and will catch a touchdown on Sunday. Brown has been the offensive star for the Steelers with 41 catches and 498 yards, and he will get behind the defense for a score as Roethlisberger scrambles out of trouble and extends a play.

5. Continuing their profile of rarely making it look pretty — or easy — this season, the Ravens squeak out a 14-13 win for their fourth straight regular-season win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh. An early lead would go a long way in providing confidence for quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense, but there’s no reason to think Sunday will bring the breakthrough performance the unit is waiting for. That said, Flacco has come up with just enough big plays to get the job done in Pittsburgh in each of the last three regular-season meetings and he will be opportunistic against a formidable defense. Field position, limiting turnovers, and third-down efficiency are critical factors to win in any football game, but they will be even more important in this one where the offenses figure to be challenged for most of the afternoon. Neither of these teams are at their best right now, but the Ravens are the better group and will do just enough to squeak out a narrow road victory.

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