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Ravens Learn Important Lesson in Win Over Chiefs

Posted on 13 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

In their 38-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, the Ravens survived a pesky opponent and got off to a 1-0 start thanks to an offensive display the likes of which we’ve never seen.

And in doing so, the Ravens may well have learned a lesson that can stick with them throughout the 2009 season:

That every play-in every game-against every team-matters.

It would be very easy to say that the Ravens were 3-4 plays away from beating the Chiefs in a laugher. In fact, there are for plays that stick out:

-Jon McGraw’s blocked punt-recovered in endzone for a TD
-Steve Hauschka’s missed 41 yard field goal
-Derrick Johnson’s INT and 70 yard return
-Brodie Croyle’s 50 yard pass to Mark Bradley over Fabian Washington

Those 4 plays either directly (or indirectly) created a 20 point swing in the game. If the Ravens get the 3 that Hauschka left out there, and the Chiefs don’t get the 17 that those three plays created; the Ravens would have cruised to a 41-7 victory.

But those plays DIDN’T go that way.

Instead, those 4 plays turned a potential laugher into a game the Ravens had to sweat out in the final minutes; in a game that Todd Heap admitted afterward “everybody was expecting to go” safely in favor of the Ravens.

The Ravens REALLY played a very good game today. Joe Flacco threw for a career-high 307 yards and 3 TD’s. Ray Rice rushed 19 times for 108 yards as part of an attack that (along with RB’s Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee) combined for 237 yards of total offense. 7 different Ravens caught passes, with 5 different receivers tallying 30 or more yards. The defense allowed just 9 Kansas City first downs (two more came from penalties), and only 188 total yards. The Ravens won the time of possession battle by an almost 2-1 margin.

It was a particularly impressive performance, at least numbers wise; but it didn’t translate into the final score.

Because of those 4 plays that went the wrong way, the Ravens were forced to dig deep, rally from a 2nd half deficit, and hold off a Chiefs team that suddenly felt like it belonged.

Which was a clear example that every play in every game against every team truly matters.

4 plays causing a 20 point swing can be reversed against a team like the Chiefs. The Ravens recovered from every mistake and marched back down field to forge ahead every time the Chiefs got them in trouble. But they will not be able to do the same against every team on the schedule-starting next week against the Chargers.

In the words of John Harbaugh: “Any one play makes a difference in a game like that.”

And on Sunday, it almost made an insurmountable difference. In the future, it might.

Hopefully a closer than expected win over the Kansas City Chiefs will be enough to remind the Ravens that any single missed assignment, any single bad read, any single wrong route, any single bad strike of the football, and any single play taken off can completely change the outcome of a football game.

I imagine we’ll find out in San Diego.

-G

4:19-And there it is. Ravens win AND cover in a nailbiter. 38-24 Ravens. Be back with more after Harbaugh and the locker room. Tune into AM1570 for Eric Aaronson’s post-game show, and don’t forget about our “Purple Haze” tonight.

4:17-Andy Studebaker fielded Hauschka’s squib kick, which is nothing more than an excuse for me to say the name “Studebaker.”

4:13-Ravens take a timeout with 36 ticks remaining in this one. Don’t see Steve Hasuchka scampering out to the field, I imagine the play here is nothing more than a Flacco sneak.

I was wrong, it was a McGahee plunge. And just like that, the Ravens are going to cover. That’s pretty funny.

Hauschka’s extra point makes it 38-24. 4 plays, 9 yards, 1:03 on the “drive.”

4:11-If they scored there, or score here……you mean to tell me they can still cover?

You definitely go for it if this play isn’t overturned.

4:09-Le’Ron McClain was ruled to have been stopped inside the 1. They’ll take a look, but I don’t think they’ll overturn it. Don’t have a good angle to look at this.

4:07-Croyle is sacked by Trevor Pryce, who forces a fumble that is recovered by KC. Doesn’t matter, as the Ravens take over. KC has 2 timeouts, so Baltimore will have to score here to finish this off.

4:06-Two incomplete passes later, the Chiefs face a 4th and 18 from their own 13. Here’s the ballgame.

4:04-Call was apparently overturned (here’s the official word that Croyle’s FOREARM was down), and KC will get the ball back with 1:54 to play-2nd and 18 from its own 13.

3:59-This one’s just about over now. Jarret Johnson sacks Brodie Croyle, Croyle fumbles, and Terrell Suggs recovers at the 12 yard line. KC has two timeouts, and the refs will look at it again to make sure it was a fumble. It looked like it was. With 1:54 left the Ravens couldn’t run out the clock, but a first down or a score would end it. First 2 sack game of Jarret Johnson’s career.

3:56-The 43 pass attempts, 307 yards, and 3 TD passes are all career highs for Joe Flacco. The 492 yards of total offense is a team record for the Ravens.

3:54-Ravens try to take a shot at the endzone, but Derrick Mason couldn’t bring in the ball. Leggett on the coverage. 3rd and 8 from the 31.

One play later, the Ravens went RIGHT BACK to the endzone, and Mark Clayton made it count this time. A 31 yard TD toss to Clayton, and Hauschka’s XP makes it 31-24 with 2:06 to play in the game.

8 plays, 74 yards, 3:15 on the TD drive.

3:51-Ray Rice keeps jawing with Brandon Carr even after picking up 9 yards to the KC 35. Rice moved over the century mark with that run, and Le’Ron McClain gives the Ravens another first down one play later. 2:30 to play.

3:49-Mark Clayton runs for 9 yards, and the Ravens get a first down pickup from Le’Ron McClain. They’re in KC territory with 3:30 to play in regulation. Steve Hauschka may well get a chance to make a crucial kick.

3:47-Jameel McClain was on the coverage on the Ryan TD. Not bad coverage, but couldn’t make the play. Ravens right back to work as Flacco finds McGahee out of the backfield, and he scrambles upfield for 14 yards. Ravens at their own 40.

3:45-Croyle to Sean Ryan for the 10 yard TD. Wow. Didn’t look like he got in, but no challenge from the Ravens. Succop’s XP is good, and we’re tied at 24 with 5:21 to play in regulation. Who saw this coming?

6 plays, 80 yards, 2:49 for the Chiefs on the drive.

3:43-If you give a bad team a chance to feel like they belong, they’ll suddenly start to believe they are. Chiefs have the ball in the red zone, and the Ravens need to come with a stop. This game is 4 plays away from being an absolute laugher, but it is instead an absolute nailbiter. Ravens have been late with their rush, including Trevor Pryce on the last play, putting the Chiefs at the Baltimore 10.

3:34-Boy is Ray Rice good in space. He takes the Ravens down to the 1 yard line with a 22 yard scamper off the Flacco pitch. One play later, Le’Ron McClain is in the endzone, and the Ravens are back on top with 8:10 to play in the 4th. Thank God.

Hauschka’s XP makes it 24-17. 9 plays 76 yards 3:47.

3:32-Facing pressure, Flacco goes underneath to Mason for what appears to be a first down at the KC 29 yard line.

3:30-What a game for Todd Heap today. Might be trying to earn #1 on my “Tuesday Top 7″ list. He gives the Ravens a 1st down at the KC 39 yard line.

3:29-Elsewhere, Donovan McNabb left the Eagles-Panthers game with a rib injury, meaning the Michael Vick saga may be even MORE interesting.

Back here, Tavares Gooden has returned to the Ravens sideline, and they have a 1st down at the 37 after a pass to Willis McGahee.

3:25-Succop is GOOD from 53. He was GOING to be the kicker the Ravens went after. Not to rub it in or anything…..

17-17 now. 7 plays, 55 yards, 2:51 for KC.

3:24-One play after a big Ed Reed stop in the backfield, Brodie Croyle throws away a ball that was apparently “intended” for TE Sean Ryan. If they say so. Croyle is incomplete going for Mark Bradley on 3rd down; and Ryan Succop will attempt a FG from 53.

3:22-Two runs later, and the Chiefs face a 3rd and 4 from the 16. They took the shot I thought they would, and Mark Bradley beat Fabian Washington (who had decent coverage) for 50 yards. Chiefs have it at the Baltimore 34.

3:19-Sam Koch puts the Chiefs back at their own 10 yard line to start this drive. Ravens need to stay steady defensively, just not make any particular mistakes. Wouldn’t stun me if Todd Haley tried to put a ball up top. They’ve had no success physically against the Ravens, but they might be able to find something downfield.

3:15-Flacco and the Ravens will face a 3rd and 10 from the KC 41 to open the 4th quarter. Joe Flacco’s day will not be one to marvel over tonight on SportsCenter.

3:13-Brendon Ayanbadejo receiving medical attention on sidelines. No word on what they’re working on with him.

3:12-Just 28 yards on Colquitt’s punt after another defensive stop. Las Vegas could be making money on this one today, as I bet the Ravens try to keep it on the ground the rest of the way. They’ll start at their own 48.

3:07-71,099 here at “The Bank” today. As if we expected something else…..

3:03-Flacco with the soft toss to Heap, who dives into the endzone for the TD. Everybody breathe again. That looked like a Ravens drive.

Hauschka’s XP is good. 11 plays, 64 yards, 4:55. 9 yards from Flacco to Heap and the Ravens are back on top 17-14.

3:01-Tavares Gooden has been taken back to the locker room. Appears to be a knee issue.

2:58-I think the Ravens made a mistake at the beginning of this game by not establishing the run and then opening up the passing attack. By going to the passing attack early, they appeared to get themselves out of rhythm. During that time, a couple big plays the other way have put them behind the 8 ball.

They’re driving now though. A first down toss to Todd Heap was followed by a 16 yard scramble by Willis McGahee. 1st down from the KC 24.

2:55-Did Ian Eagle give my pal Drew Forrester a shout-out on CBS today? Please, details someone.

Dwan Edwards takes the kick and rumbles upfield to the 36. Tavares Gooden is down on the field and had to be helped off.

2:51-An illegal hands to the face penalty on Tavares Gooden gives KC a 1st and goal from the 2. Wow.

One play later, Croyle finds Dwayne Bowe for a TD strike, and the Chiefs now have a 2nd half LEAD. I never thought I’d type those words today.

Succop’s XP makes it 14-10 KC with 8:52 to play in the 3rd quarter. We all must remember that the other team still tries.

2 plays, 6 yards, 5o seconds on the TD “drive.”

2:48-What a disaster. Flacco intercepted by Derrick Johnson, who returns it all the way to the Baltimore 6 yard line (70 yard return), where the Chiefs will take over. This crowd is STUNNED, but trying to rally behind their defense. What a mess this has been.

2:46-According to a few friends (via Facebook), John Harbaugh was not pleased in his halftime interview with Stan White on 98 Rock. He shouldn’t be.

Chris Chester called for a hold on first down, and a Joe Flacco run for 2 yards gives the Ravens 2nd and 18 from the KC 42 yard line.

2:44-Flacco to Washington again for a 1st down. That’s Washington’s 3rd first down catch of the game.

On 2nd and 1, Flacco handed off to McClain to convert the first down. Ravens have it at KC’s 34.

2:42-Every time I see Ryan Succop kick the ball, I am reminded that he was the kicker the Ravens had targeted to sign after the NFL Draft. He became “Mr. Irrelevant”, but Eric DeCosta told us the Ravens were hoping to sign him after the Draft. Would he be better than Steve Hauschka? I don’t know. But that was a hell of a kickoff.

Flacco is NEARLY intercepted by Page on the Ravens’ first drive of the 2nd half. 3rd and 6 from the Ravens’ own 46.

2:26-Instead, they dump it underneath to Jamaal Charles, who is wrapped up after about a 12 yard gain. Strange decision.

Ravens 10, Chiefs 7 at the half. Doubt much of anyone is happy with it. I’ll be back shortly.

2:25-Nothing else cooking for the Chiefs on this drive, but they’ll take a timeout with 1 second left to try to throw a Hail Mary. They’re at the Ravens’ 49 yard line.

2:23-And I’m wrong. Spot stands, and Kansas City will have it at the 41 yard line; where a Jamaal Charles run will provide another first down into Baltimore territory.

No timeouts remain for the Ravens.

2:21-The Ravens decided to challenge the spot of the first down catch; which seems a BIT strange to me. However, it looks like Engram MAY have been a bit short.

2:18-At the 2 minute warning, we finally have the initial first down of the game for the KC offense, thanks to an 11 yard pass to Bobby Engram; who I can honestly say I didn’t realize was with the Chiefs until earlier this week.

As a note, being in a 3 point game with a team who just got their initial first down late in the 2nd half is COMPLETELY unacceptable.

2:10-3rd and 4 from the 23, and Flacco’s pass is deflected again. Hauschka will be out to attempt another FG. As I said, the Ravens should NOT be happy with field goals in the 1st half. Hauschka is wide left on his try; and the name Matt Stover just got WAY more popular in town. That was a 41 yard attempt. 10-7 with 3:49 to play in the half.

2:09-Great through from Flacco to Clayton for 16 and a first down at the KC 29. That was a great play on both sides, really.

2:07-Flacco finds Clayton for a first down at the Chiefs’ 41. Near disaster a play later, as Tamba Hali sacked Flacco (beat Jared Gaither) and forced a fumble. Flacco recovered his own fumble, but lost 4 yards on the play. He’s been in trouble a number of times in the first half. Ray Rice is overthrown on 2nd down; the Ravens face 3rd and 14.

2:04- 3rd and 5 after Flacco gained just one on a scramble. He took a hard hit on his way out from veteran LB Mike Vrabel, but it wasn’t illegal. A delay of game will make it 3rd and 10. The Ravens offense has lost the rhythm they had going early.

There it is again. Flacco to Heap for 17 yards and a first down at the Baltimore 46.

2:02-Chris Carr fields the kickoff return about 6 yards deep in the endzone; stumbles, and still tries to bring it out. BAD decisions on special teams thus far. He takes it to the 19, where the Ravens take over. Flacco finds Rice on a screen, he takes it 10 yards for a first down. He’s much better in space.

2:00-First blocked punt returned for a TD given up by the Ravens since 1998 against the Jaguars. What a brutal special teams effort there.

1:57-The only thing I’ve noticed the Ravens have struggled with so far is getting Ray Rice the ball in space. No bubble or screen routes to their speedy back just yet; just straight handoffs, most of which have been right up the middle. 3rd and 5 after a Rice run and a Mason drop. They tried to throw to Rice, but the Chiefs stayed underneath and allowed him to get just 2 yards. 4th and 3, and the Ravens will have to punt again. Stagnant offense when pinned down deep.

Disaster strikes just a play later. Jon McGraw blocks Sam Koch’s punt and recovers it in the endzone for a TD. And a game that the Ravens have been absolutely DOMINATING is now a 3 point game. Jerry Rosburg will be FUMING.

Ryan Succop’s point after makes it 10-7 Ravens with 9:55 to play in the 2nd quarter.

1:55-First half total yards:

Ravens 106
Chiefs 5

1:54-Tyler Thigpen in at QB for the Chiefs, and he leads them to a 3 and out. Which means he’s about as good as the other guy.

Carr with the fair catch at the 9. You think maybe the Ravens might try to do something on the ground already?

1:50-Flacco’s screen to Clayton is short of a first down; and Sam Koch’s 54 yard bomb is dropped by Maurice Leggett with Matt Lawrence bearing down on him. Leggett recovered his own fumble, and the Chiefs take over at their own 29.

By the way, had Flacco just TAKEN the safety on that previous play instead of the intentional grounding causing the safety; the Ravens would have had a first down there due to the illegal contact. He had no way of knowing that, but it’s an interesting point nonetheless.

1:46-The 2nd quarter opens with Flacco airing out a bomb to Mark Clayton; who fell behind Maurice Leggett and didn’t have the burst to recover.

Joe Flacco’s 1st down run on 3rd down will be negated due to holding, ad the Ravens will face 3rd and 17. Tamba Hali on the pressure. I forgot Tamba Hali existed. Such is Chiefs football.

1:42-Luke Jones also points out that the Ravens had their “safe” team on for that punt, in case of a fake.

Dustin Colquitt has a HELL of a foot. 61 yards on that punt. A penalty will force the Ravens to start from their own 8.

1:38-Brendon Ayanbadejo’s celebration after his tackle of Chiefs KR Quinten Lawrence was MUCH more appropriate than Antwan Barnes’ celebration.

Luke Jones notes that Chris Carr was in at the nickel back spot. This was assumed to be Frank Walker’s spot, but Greg Mattison said this week that the team would be flexible at the position. Expect to see Lardarius Webb there too.

Croyle’s 3rd down pass to Mark Bradley appeared to be good for a first down, but was measured just short. Still no first downs for the Chiefs just yet. Ed Reed back to return the punt.

1:37-Tough start to the Jim Schwartz era in Detroit; as the Saints went up 14-0 in the 1st quarter against the Lions. I made a late Fantasy Football roster change to add Mike Bell, hopefully he puts up big numbers.

1:34-Joe Flacco gets schoolyard on 3rd and goal; and finds Willis McGahee for a 3 yard TD. That was absolutely unfair.

13 plays, 70 yards, 6:44, Hauschka’s extra point makes it 10-0. Rich Dubroff (of the Carroll County Times) reminds me that 7 different Ravens had touches on that drive. Very impressive stuff.

Haloti Ngata was in offensively on 3rd and goal. McGahee’s 40th career TD-only his 2nd receiving TD. Thanks to Press Box PA announcer Gary Stein for the note.

1:30-Flacco goes to the ground for a 1st down at the Chiefs’ 25. 109 yards for the Ravens thus far, -4 for the Chiefs. Nice job by the production staff at CBS.

Flacco tries to find McGahee on 2nd and 8; but the pass was almost picked on a deflection by Jarrod Page.

On 3rd and 8; Flacco fires up the crowd by finding Todd Heap to the 9 yard line. The red zone is a HUGE area for Todd Heap to re-establish himself as a weapon.

1:28-Another first down toss to Kelley Washington, who is proving to be quite the reliable target for Joe Flacco. I know some blogger/reporter/morning show sidekick/producer/dreamboat who was saying that a few weeks ago……

1:27-Rice with his 2nd carry of the game; this time for 4 yards. Ravens show an unbalanced line for the first time today, with Michael Oher moving to the left side. The unbalanced line will ALWAYS be a part of Cam Cameron’s offense, but the Ravens need to show different plays WITH the unbalanced line to make it effective. 3rd and 2.

1:25-A screen to Le’Ron McClain comes back due to a Derrick Mason holding call. The Ravens will now face ANOTHER 1st and 10 from the 30. And Derrick Mason CONTINUES to find space. 13 yard gain, first down at the 43.

1:23-No electricity from Chris Carr just yet in the punt return game. A 57 yard punt from Colquitt is returned just 7 yards, and Joe Flacco takes over at his own 30 yard line. I expect a more balanced drive here.

1:21-VERY hot crowd at M&T Bank Stadium, forcing Brodie Croyle to take Kansas City’s 1st timeout. I’m surprised the Chiefs even tried to find Mark Bradley on 3rd and 15. That play had bad news written all over it. A draw probably would have been a smarter decision.

1:19-Ravens take their second timeout of the first quarter; with 9:06 to play. That’s not good.

1:16-Antwan Barnes with an INSANE celebration after being involved on the tackle of Jamaal Charles at the 25. What the hell was that all about?

Croyle to Charles for a gain of 1 on first down. Getting a first down could be as good as getting a score for KC today. Jarret Johnson with a PUNISHING sack of Croyle on 2nd down-which could have been MUCH more violent. 3rd & 15.

1:13-KC brought heat, and Flacco’s pass to Rice was incomplete. A 44 yard attempt by Steve Hauschka travels through the goal posts, meaning every fan who mumbled “better have Stover’s number ready” before the kick attempt is probably now saying “still should probably have Stover’s number ready.”

9 plays, 54 yards, 3:16 on the drive. Ravens go up 3-0 with 10:19 to play in the 1st quarter.

1:10-Kelley Washington gave the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium his first down dance after his nice leaping catch. Washington is a pretty reserved guy, which makes his antics all the more enjoyable.

Flacco to Mark Clayton on 2nd down for 11 yards to the 24. 5 offensive plays, all designed passes (one ended up being a Flacco run). Make that 6, but this one is ruled out of bounds. Surprised by the aerial attack; but this might just be Cam Cameron trying to catch Clancy Pendergast’s defense off guard. It’s working. Ray Rice finally gets his first carry and is stopped in the backfield, bringing up a 3rd and 12.

1:09-John Harbaugh takes his first timeout; you wonder if he’s thinking about a challenge. I don’t think he could get the call overturned though.

1:07-Kelley Washington with a GREAT catch for 22 yards, as the Ravens have run 3 pass plays on their first 3 plays from scrimmage. Mason APPEARED to have hauled in a TD pass on the next play in the back of the endzone, but it was ruled incomplete. The replay in the box appeared inconclusive.

1:06-Great protection from the O-Line on first down gives Joe Flacco all day to throw. The Ravens are throwing again on 2nd down, with Flacco hitting Derrick Mason for 19 yards to the Ravens’ 43.

1:04-Kansas City trying to make it work on the ground early (which is their only hope, really), and Ray Lewis with a stop in the backfield on Larry Johnson’s 2nd down rush. Terrell Suggs deflects Croyle’s 3rd and 9 pass; and the Chiefs will have to punt. They tried to go to a no huddle on the first drive, but it didn’t appear to help.

Dustin Colquitt’s with a decent punt, and combined with a Domonique Foxworth hold; the Ravens will start from their own 20.

1:02-Jamaal Charles returns Steve Hauschka’s opening ick to the 26 yard line; and football is now OFFICIALLY back in Baltimore.

1:01-Today’s game is on CBS (WJZ 13 locally) with Ian Eagle and former Raiders QB Rich Gannon on the call.

1:00-A flyover during today’s Star Spangled Banner excited the crowd. Ravens win coin flip, elect to defer to 2nd half; putting the defense out on the field first to go after Brodie Croyle.

12:54-Some hand gestures from Tavares Gooden as he dances out onto the field for the first time as a starter in a regular season game here at “The Bank.”

As a reminder, I picked the Ravens over KC 24-7 today. Anybody else already go out on a limb?

12:38-Does Michael Phelps still count as a celebrity sighting? He’s here, rocking his Ed Reed jersey on the sideline. Winning 14 gold medals really helps you get where you want to go.

12:09-Tyler Thigpen is backing up Brodie Croyle today; Matt Gutierrez is the emergency 3rd QB. Matt Cassel will not play no matter what.

This kinda makes me think that Todd Haley is treating today’s game as a bit of a “lost cause”, as Cassel looked okay in warmups; or that Scott Pioli said something along the lines of “we didn’t pay this guy a boatload of money to put him in serious danger.”

The Ravens will wear their white tops and black pants today.

12:04-This means the Ravens are dressing just 7 Offensive Linemen; with Marshal Yanda and David Hale the only reserves. Should Jared Gaither get hurt, Michael Oher would have to slide to the left side, and Marshal Yanda would have to move to the Right Tackle position. Remember, Marshal Yanda is battling a knee injury that will put Chris Chester in the starting lineup today.

Paul Kruger is also a bit of a surprise scratch. This could be nothing more than a numbers issue; as there has been no reason to think Kruger has been battling any injury issues.

12:01-Chiefs inactives:

QB Matt Cassel
QB Matt Gutierrez
CB Brandon Flowers
RB Dantrell Savage
OL Andy Alleman
TE Jake O’Connell
LB Turk McBride
LB Pierre Walters

11:59-Ravens inactives:

QB John Beck
RB Jalen Parmele
LB Dannell Ellerbe
OT Oniel Cousins
OL Tony Moll
TE LJ Smith
DT Brandon McKinney
LB/DE Paul Kruger

11:43-Adam Schefter (of ESPN) via Twitter…..”Ummm…..Brodie Croyle is 0-8 as an NFL starting QB.”

HILARIOUS.

You can follow Luke Jones on Twitter during today’s Ravens-Chiefs game. Just follow @WNST.

11:40-We can confirm that Matt Cassel is inactive today. More inactives coming shortly. Brodie Croyle expected to start.

11:34-There is a rumor floating around that Matt Cassel will be inactive today. From a Chiefs PR staffer: “I can neither confirm nor deny.”

11:15-The Ravens are 1-3 all-time against the Chiefs, but won the most recent match-up in 2006; 20-10 at Arrowhead Stadium en route to an AFC North division crown. The Chiefs’ 3 wins in the series ALL came here at M&T Bank Stadium, by scores of 35-8 (1999), 17-10 (2003) and 27-24 (2004). The 2003 game was the game where Dante Hall returned a kick 97 yards for the game winning TD. This was especially frustrating because Adalius Thomas had been called offsides on the first kickoff try, giving “The X Factor” a 2nd chance. Thanks to the Ravens Media Relations department for jogging my memory of that.

The Ravens are 5-8 all-time in season openers (including some infuriating losses to the likes of the Rams, Bengals, and Panthers); 3-3 all-time when their Week 1 game has been here in Charm City.

11:03-The Ravens enter the first game of the regular season coming off a preseason in which they finished 4-0 and looked particularly strong when their first team was on the field. The Chiefs? Things weren’t quite as good for them. They finished 0-4 in the preseason and scored 13 points or fewer in all 4 games.

The Chiefs are playing the first game of Todd Haley’s head coaching tenure, after he lead the Arizona Cardinals offense to the Super Bowl a season ago. Today is also the LIKELY first game for Matt Cassel as QB of the Chiefs after he lead the Patriots to 10 wins following Tom Brady’s Week 1 injury a season ago. Cassel is questionable for today’s game with a left knee injury, but did practice this week.

The Ravens open their season following a 2008 campaign that took them all the way to the AFC Championship Game. John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco know a thing or two about how Haley and Cassel may be feeling right now; as they were in a first year coach/first year QB situation going into Week 1 last season. Harbaugh and Flacco didn’t need long to get things going, as they beat Cincinnati 17-10 in their first game together.

10:57-Greetings from the press box at M&T Bank Stadium here in beautiful downtown Baltimore, where the Ravens open their 2009 campaign against the Kansas City Chiefs.

A news note before I get into a game preview: The Ravens will honor the late Steve McNair before today’s game with a moment of silence, scheduled for 12:57. Kickoff is set for 1:02.

-G

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A Ravens Championship likely means beating Super Bowl experienced QB’s

Posted on 05 January 2009 by Jason Jubb

I know, one game at a time. The Ravens still have a way to go in order to bring home a Super Bowl victory, but if they do they will most likely have to go through some Super Bowl experienced QB’s.

 

How much does Super Bowl experience help as you travel through the NFL playoffs? It’s hard to quantify what each player’s experience means but as the pressure mounts it can only be to their advantage to have been through it before.

 

Currently with 8 teams left in the hunt, 6 of these teams have QB’s that have been on the NFL’s biggest stage. These names include Kurt Warner (twice), Kerry Collins, Jake Delhomme, Donovan McNabb, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning.

 

The two players yet to go are Philip Rivers and Joe Flacco. Rivers saw action in last years AFC championship game where he lost to the Patriots while nursing an injured leg (19/37 211 yds 0 TD – 2 Int).

 

Flacco on the other hand is still new to the playoffs, but since when has he seemed phased by anything? Will he be bothered by the media attention or the perceived pressure as he moves through each game? If this season is any indication we may have the exception to the rule, but the Ravens will have their hands full with whoever they play.

 

Below are the SB performances of the QB’s still alive in this years playoffs:

 

SB #                Player                           comp-att          yards  td-int   W/L    other

XXXIV            Kurt Warner                     24/45           414      2-0       W      MVP   

XXV                Kerry Collins                    15/39           112      0-4        L       lost to Ravens

XXXVI            Kurt Warner                     28/44           365      1-2        L       

XXXVIII         Jake Delhomme                16/33           323      3-0        L

XXXVIX         Donovan McNabb          30/51           357      3-3         L

XL                    Ben Roethlisberger           9/21           123      0-2        W

XLII                 Eli Manning                      19/34           255      2-1        W      MVP

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14 Points To Ponder…

Posted on 08 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

Now why would I pick “14 points” as the title of today’s return of the wildly popular “Points to Ponder” blog?

14 points?  Hmmm…why 14 points?

Could it be the FOURTEEN POINT MARGIN OF VICTORY the Ravens put on the Redskins last night?  lol

Yes, I think it is.

Read away, comment if you like…

1. I really think this new Orioles off-season philosophy might be a stroke-of-genius.  Let’s not call ANY free agents and act as if we don’t want anyone at all.  Maybe that will make the players (and their agents) say, “Hey, I thought Baltimore had a lot of money this off-season…why haven’t they made contact with us? Let’s call THEM and see what they’re up to.”  Could just be the kind of outside-the-box thinking that takes the O’s right to the top.

2. Oklahoma 38 – Florida 30.  And yes, the best two teams are playing in the BCS title game.

3. Is this guy any relation?  I just saw on the wire that the Knicks signed shooting guard Plaxico Burress to a a minimum three-year and a half year sentence contract.

4. Harrison Frazar shot 59 in the 4th round of Q-School on the PGA Tour on Saturday.  On a real course…and playing for his 2009 livelihood.  The last guy to post 59 at that place (La Quinta) was David Duval.  Remember him?  He was a player way back when.

5. The AFC playoff race is pretty wild.  In for sure:  Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Denver and the Ravens.  Wild card: New England and Indianapolis.  Miami has a very favorable schedule.  They could win out too.  I think there’s a decent chance that an 11-5 team is going to MISS the post-season.  Holy cow.

6. I wrote this a month ago in a “bets I’d make” blog and I’ll say it again:  Tennessee and the NY Giants will NOT meet in the Super Bowl.  I’d bet on it right now.  I’d bet you $500, in fact…if I had a betting addiction, which I’ll bet you a grand that I don’t.

7. I also said this recently and will continue to make this my “early-bird 2009 prediction”.  Rex Ryan will be the head coach in San Diego next season.

8. Pretty smart move from Andy Reid a few weeks back when he benched Donovan McNabb for the second half in Baltimore, huh?  What a dummy.  If they miss the playoffs by a game, Reid will be raked over the coals for sitting his Hall-Of-Very-Good quarterback in a 10-7 game for a scrub who is still looking for his first big win in the NFL.  I’d take McNabb on my team any day.

9. Here’s an O’s update for you:  ________________________________.  

10. Right now, here are my top 3 Ravens’ MVP candidates at the 13-game mark.  3. Derrick Mason    2. Ray Lewis    1. Joe Flacco  -  But Le’Ron McClain and Ed Reed are both working their way up the charts.

11. Local college hoops power rankings:  5. Coppin St.    4. Loyola     3. Morgan St.     2. UMBC      1. Towson

12. Speaking of college basketball, contrary to what you might have read in yesterday’s edition of The Sun, the final score of the Towson-Hofstra game on Saturday night was 90-79 in favor of the Pride…not 90-70. That’s what you get, I guess, when you don’t send a reporter to the facility to actually COVER the game the way it deserves to be covered.

13. Chris Cosh leaving MD football saved Ralph a “tough talk”.  Let’s hope Debbie Yow isn’t preparing for one of those with “The Fridge” sometime in the next couple of years.

14. I’m guessing that Rob Ambrose (currently at UConn) gets the Towson University football coach job.

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 14 QBs

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Again, there wasn’t much shake up in the quarterback rankings this week. On the bright side, close to half of the top 20 weren’t very highly regarded at draft time, so there could still be a few good options on the waiver wire. The playoffs are here for a lot of us, so make sure to take a look at all of the rankings, as every decision is magnified at this time of the season.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 14. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 14 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 14 lineup decisions.

 

Week 14 Fantasy Quarterback Power Rankings

 

 

 

QB Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 1011 - 12 - 13

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Drew Brees (1) – NO – 3870 yds 24 TD 14 int & 1 TD rush

 

2. Tony Romo (3) – DAL – 2559 yds 21 TD 8 int

 

3. Aaron Rodgers (4) – GB – 2897 yds 20 TD 10 int & 4 TD rush

 

4. Kurt Warner (2) – AZ – 3741 yds 24 TD 11 int

 

5. Jay Cutler (5) – DEN – 3393 yds 21 TD 13 int

 

6. Phillip Rivers (6) – SD – 2955 yds 23 TD 10 int

 

7. Donavan McNabb (13) – PHI – 3030 yds 18 TD 10 int & 1 TD rush

 

8. Peyton Manning (7) – IND – 2948 yds 19 TD 12 int & 1 TD rush

 

9. Matt Cassel (10) – NE – 2784 yds 13 TD 10 int & 2 TD rush

 

10. Tyler Thigpen (12) – KC – 1739 yds 13 TD 8 int & 1 TD rush & 1 TD rec

 

11. Shaun Hill (11) – SF – 1067 yds 8 TD 3 int & 1 TD rush

 

12. Eli Manning (9) – NYG – 2624 yds 19 TD 8 int & 1 TD rush

 

13. Brett Favre (8) – GB – 2708 yds 20 TD 14 int

 

14. Chad Pennington (14) – MIA – 2881 yds 11 TD 6 int & 1 TD rush

 

15. Joe Flacco (16) – BAL – 2276 yds 12 TD 9 int & 2 TD rush

 

16. David Garrard (15) – JAX – 2748 yds 10 TD 9 int & 1 TD rush

 

17. Matt Ryan (18) – ATL – 2625 yds 13 TD 6 int

 

18. Kyle Orton (20) – CHI – 2195 yds 13 TD 7 int & 1 TD rush

 

19. Jason Campbell (19) – WAS – 2560 yds 10 TD 4 int

 

20. Jeff Garcia (NR) – TB – 1902 yds 8 TD 3 int

 

Dropped From Rankings: Trent Edwards – BUF

 

QBs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 14: Matt Cassel @ SEA; Shaun Hill vs. NYJ; Matt Ryan @ NO; Kurt Warner vs. ST.L; Peyton Manning vs. CIN; Aaron Rodgers vs. HOU

 

QBs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 14 Match Ups: JaMarcus Russell @ SD; Marc Bulger @ AZ; Gus Frerotte @ DET; Matt Hasselbeck vs. NE

 

QBs With Tough Week 14 Match Ups: Tony Romo @ PIT; Jake Delhomme vs. TB; Donavan McNabb @ NYG; Eli Manning vs. PHI; Jeff Garcia @ CAR; Phillip Rivers vs. OAK; Sage Rosenfels @ GB

 

QBs You Might Want To Avoid In Week 14: Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jordan Palmer @ IND; Jason Campbell @ BAL; Ken Dorsey @ TEN

 

And here are the week 14 Fantasy QB start rankings; it’s all 32 projected starting QBs in the order that you should consider them this week. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for Thursday’s game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Drew Brees (15)

2. Kurt Warner (15)

3. Aaron Rodgers (16)

4. Shaun Hill (23)

5. Jay Cutler (24)

6. Peyton Manning (24)

7. Matt Cassel (24)

8. Tyler Thigpen (31)

9. Tony Romo (35)

10. Phillip Rivers (36)

11. Brett Favre (38)

12. Matt Ryan (40)

13. Donavan McNabb (41)

14. Chad Pennington (46)

15. Eli Manning (49)

16. Gus Frerotte (50)

17. Joe Flacco (51)

18. David Garrard (52)

19. Kyle Orton (52)

20. Trent Edwards (57)

21. JaMarcus Russell (59)

22. Ben Roethlisberger (61)

23. Matt Hasselbeck (65)

24. Marc Bulger (65)

25. Jeff Garcia (66)

26. Jason Campbell (68)

27. Sage Rosenfels (73) *I’d move him between McNabb & Pennington if it’s Schaub

28. Kerry Collins (73)

29. Jake Delhomme (76)

30. Daunte Culpepper (82)

31. Ryan Fitzpatrick (84) *no difference for Jordan Palmer

32. Ken Dorsey (93)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 14 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 WR Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

 

 

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NFL Power Rankings – Week 14

Posted on 02 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The top eleven teams in last week’s power rankings all remained in the top 11 this week, as all still seem to be pretty clearly in control of their own playoff destinies. The 12th spot, for now, goes to the Vikings who are on an impressive run, and now find themselves in the driver’s seat for the NFC North.

 

There may be a few noteworthy suspensions handed down in the next week or so, which could have a dramatic impact on the playoff races as the final quarter of the season unfolds. Also, because of the relative assuredness of the playoff picture at this early stage in the season, how teams are able to manage staying focused and staying healthy in the teams’ final meaningless games should have a lot of impact of the playoff picture, even after the pairings are locked in early.

 

Admittedly, Atlanta should probably be at 12 in this week’s rankings instead of 10, with both Denver and Minnesota holding on to stronger playoff hopes at this time. For Atlanta, it seems that the division is out of the question, and it’s wildcard or bust, with the Cowboys still very much on their heels. I just didn’t have the heart to drop Atlanta 2 spots after an impressive road win on the left coast. They’ve definitely been the toughest team to grade out over the course of the season so far. They deserve their respect, there’s no questioning that, but their playoff hopes are still very fragile at this point.

 

NFL Power Rankings Archive3- 4567 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13

 

Week 14 NFL Power Rankings (last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. New York Giants (1) – 11-1 – The Giants have easily been the most impressive team in the league so far, and appear to be without weakness. Even with the uncertain future of Plaxico Burress in New York, experts seem reluctant to concede that this will even be an issue for the Giants. Their schedule is full of tough teams from here out, but the Giants already enjoy a 2 game lead for the #1 seed in the NFC, a 3 game lead in their division, and a four game lead over Minnesota and Arizona for a first round bye. Next Week: vs. PHI

 

2. Tennessee Titans (2) – 11-1 – A Thanksgiving Day chance to feast on the Lions was probably the perfect remedy for Tennessee team that had lost it’s first game of the season the week before, and who had struggled to run for the last 3 weeks. The Browns and Texans in the next 2 games will probably either wrap up home field for the Titans, or make their week 16 match up with Pittsburgh for potential home field advantage. Also depending on what the rest of the AFC does in the meantime, Tennessee could have a chance to ruin Indy’s playoff hopes before they get started in week 17. Next Week: vs. CLE

 

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3) – 9-3 – At 9-3, the Steelers have been a tough draw for everyone that they’ve played. You may not be able to say that about any other team in the league this season. The Steelers have positioned themselves for a chance at a bye in the playoffs, and with a game remaining against the Titans, they’re still in striking distance for the #1 seed, if the Titans should stumble, or let up down the stretch. Next Week: vs. DAL

 

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5) – 9-3 – They’ve had a revolving door at quarterback and running back, and they’re playing a first place schedule, in the toughest division in the NFC, possibly the toughest in the NFL. The Bucs though, still find themselves in the driver’s seat for not only the NFC South title, but also a first round bye. They may not enjoy the cushion in the standings that they probably should at 9-3, and still have 2 tough divisional games on the road. But for now at least, the road to the NFC South title goes through Tampa. Next Week: @ CAR

 

5. Carolina Panthers (7) – 9-3 – If the Buccaneers are feeling salty about their relatively unsecured playoff hopes, despite their 9-3 record, than the Panthers have to feel outright frustrated with their standing in the playoff hunt, despite their strong performance thus far. A chance to beat Tampa head to head this week still leaves the Panthers somewhat in control of their own playoff destiny, but they’ll likely have to win out to have a chance at staying home for a playoff game. Next Week: vs. TB

 

6. Arizona Cardinals (6) – 8-4 – I’ve been feeling the need to justify ranking these Cards so highly all season, but even as the losers of 2 straight, the Cardinals are not a team that you want to sleep on. They’re still just an eyelash away from clinching the NFC West and at least one home playoff game. They’re also just one game behind Tampa and Carolina for a first round bye. In the playoffs, the Cards at home could be dangerous, especially if an east coast team has to travel to Arizona. Keep in mind that 3 of the Cards’ 4 losses came on trips to the east coast, the other was at home to the Giants. They’re front 7 is grossly underrated by most, and their running game still has a chance to get in gear. They’re unlikely to go across the country and beat anyone, but traveling to Arizona for a playoff game could be a lot tougher than it sounds. Next Week: vs. ST.L

 

7. New York Jets (4) – 8-4 – Success appeared to get to the Jets’ heads a bit last week, and they looked about as bad as they possibly could, just a week after dismantling the undefeated Titans. Brett Favre has been a rousing success for the Jets this season; clearly their playoff hopes would have been slim without him. But once the playoffs get here, I think that the Jets will have trouble finding their identity, a game manager would probably fit their formula a little better than a game breaker. Still, when the playoffs come around, there are few who can bring more experience to the table than Favre. The AFC East is still a dogfight, and with 2 west coast trips remaining, the Jets still have their work cut out for them in just getting to the playoffs. Next Week: @ SF

 

8. Indianapolis Colts (8) – 8-4 – If you took a poll among the AFC contenders and asked which team they’d most like to eliminate before the playoffs begin, my guess is that the Colts would be the team that’d be out. With that said, it appears that the rest of the AFC has missed their chance to bury these Colts when they were on the ropes early on. It’s still tough to imagine the Colts making a long run in this year’s playoffs, primarily because of their inability to stop the run. They can however, stop the run with their offense, in a manner of speaking, by jumping on opponents early in games and forcing them to play catch-up. The schedule looks like it could be pretty easy for the Colts from here, but don’t overlook their week 17 match up against Tennessee just yet. If Tennessee slips up and Pittsburgh keeps rolling, the Titans may need that one for the top seed. And if the Colts slip, just a bit in the meantime, the Titans may have a chance to send them home before the playoffs begin. I’m not so sure the Titans take that one off like everyone seems to think. Next Week: vs. CIN

 

9. Baltimore Ravens (9) – 8-4 – They’ve certainly been a great story so far, and the Ravens are starting to look more and more dangerous with each passing week. Their defense has adjusted to a lack of star power in the secondary, and despite the dominance of the run defense, the Ravens aren’t letting much go through the air either. Losses to Indianapolis and the Giants have shown that this team isn’t built for playing catch up, but with new wrinkles and guys stepping up every week, this team still appears to be growing into their prowess. The playoffs are by no means assured just yet, but they’re in sight. And the AFC North title could still be in the fold too. Next Week: vs. WAS

 

10. Atlanta Falcons (10) – 8-4 – The Falcons have taken the NFL by storm, but when it comes to their own division, not so much. There’s no shortage of storylines surrounding the Falcons this season. From moving forward without their jailed franchise quarterback, to finding a diamond in the rough in Matt Ryan; from being stepped out on by Bobby Petrino, to the meteoric rise of rookie head coach Mike Smith; this team is full of great stories. If they aren’t able to hold serve in their final four games however, the story will be about this miraculous rebound falling short of the post season. Someone with 10 or even 11 wins is likely to be left home in the NFC this season; Falcons fans are hoping that it’s not them. Next Week: @ NO

 

11. Denver Broncos (11) – 7-5 – The Broncos went a long way to locking up a playoff berth in week 13, and are quietly building a little head of steam too. If things keep going the way that they are, the Broncos could be looking at a first round match up with Indianapolis. They’ve had a couple of embarrassing post season blowouts at the hands of the Colts in recent years, but may be better equipped to go up and down the field with them this time around. Unless they can figure out how to play consistent defense, the Broncos will likely be short for the playoffs, but as long as their offense remains explosive, they should make it exciting while they’re in there. Next Week: vs. KC

 

12. Minnesota Vikings (16) – 7-5 – In yet another division where no one seems to be able to step up and grab hold of a playoff spot, the Vikings may be peaking at just the right time. Their two-headed backfield and stout defense could prove to be a formula for success once the post season rolls around too. The Vikings still have a very deep interest in pending suspensions of a number of key players, but are in good position for the playoffs despite a number of early season mishaps. Next Week: @ DET

 

13. New England Patriots (14) – 7-5 – The Patriots playoff hopes took a major shot on Sunday with their loss to the Steelers. They’re still very much in the hunt, and because of their experience and coaching have to be considered dangerous, but the Patriots have their work cut out for them too. Next up for the Pats are 2 straight games on the west coast, which has confounded a number of teams. The Jets did them a favor though by not taking advantage of a chance to bury them a little further in the AFC East last week too. Next Week: @ SEA

 

14. Dallas Cowboys (15) – 8-4 – The Cowboys look like they’re back in stride, the question now is, whether they’ll have enough time to make themselves a factor in the race for the playoffs. Their midseason stumble allowed a number of teams to pick up positions on them, but they’re not out of it quite yet. Games against playoff contenders in 3 of their remaining 4 will make the road bumpy, and the fact that two of them are from the AFC means that winning them doesn’t necessarily guarantee the reward of moving up in the standings. Next Week: @ PIT

 

15. Miami Dolphins (17) – 7-5 – I’m still not sure that people have started taking the Dolphins seriously just yet, and with the difficulty that they had in dealing with St. Louis on Sunday, I can understand why. One thing’s for sure though, opponents who’ve gone against Miami and given less than their best have paid the price this season. The Dolphins are more than flash and gimmick, they’re a pretty good football team, and they’re getting better too. They’ll need some help to get into the playoff hunt, but they still look like a factor at this point. Next Week: @ BUF *in Toronto

 

16. Washington Redskins (12) – 7-5 – It looks like the Redskins may have taken a couple of teams by surprise, especially with their improved offense early in the season. In recent weeks however, teams look less apt to let down for Washington, and they also appear to have adjusted to the Redskins new look on offense. Losing 3 of their last 4 has given a serious blow to the Redskins playoff hopes, and the schedule won’t make it any easier finishing up. They’re still in the hunt it seems, but fading fast. Next Week: @ BAL

 

17. Chicago Bears (13) – 6-6 – On one hand, you could say that the Bears let a golden opportunity pass them by against the Vikings in week 13. On the other hand however, you could say that the Bears never really looked like they belonged in the game in the first place. After playing everyone tough through the first 9 weeks of the season, the Bears have been blown out twice by divisional foes in recent weeks. Matt Forte has probably been too much of the offense this season, and looks to be hitting the rookie wall. Next Week: vs. JAX

 

18. New Orleans Saints (20) – 6-6 – Given the number of injuries that the Saints have been forced to deal with, and the tough games that they allowed to get away in weeks 2 and 3, they could consider themselves lucky to be at .500 with 4 games to go. When you look at the rest of the division staring squarely down at them in the rankings however, these Saints look like they’ll be playing for Dan Marino’s passing record, and something positive to carry into next season. The playoffs are pretty much out of the question for this bunch, but they could still affect the race. Next Week: vs. ATL

 

19. San Diego Chargers (19) – 4-8 – The Chargers playoff hopes are alive by the slimmest of margins, and fading quickly. It seems that week after week we look at the Chargers as a team with the potential of getting on a roll. The luxury of playing in the AFC West has kept them in the hunt for much longer than they probably deserve, and technically they could still get in. But the Broncos appear to be on somewhat of a roll lately, and the Chargers still haven’t been able to get things going. Next Week: vs. OAK

 

20. Buffalo Bills (18) – 6-6 – This season for the Bills will be one for the history books for sure. In addition to breaking new ground with a regular season game in Toronto, the Bills have gone from cruising to control of the AFC East early on, to a tail spinning mess of a team that has fallen into last place in the division that they controlled just a few weeks ago. It’ll take a miracle to rescue the Bills season, and  their playoff hopes with just 4 games remaining. Based on the way that they’ve played lately, simply holding up their own end of the bargain and winning out would be a minor miracle. Next Week: vs. MIA *in Toronto

 

21. Philadelphia Eagles (22) – 6-5-1 – Donavan McNabb responded to his benching in a big way with a Thanksgiving Day rally last week. Or maybe he just responded to a chance to play against a pretty bad Cardinals pass defense, traveling across the country in a short week. The Eagles are doing what they can to salvage a respectable record this season, but aside from a one-week infusion of confidence from beating the Steelers, the Eagles have never really presented themselves as a team that could be a factor in the playoff race. Next Week: @ NYG

 

22. Green Bay Packers (21) – 5-7 – Much like the Dow-Jones, the Packers have been either alarmingly good, or alarmingly bad from game to game, without any real warning. You truly never know which Packers team is going to show up from game to game, or as they proved last week, from quarter to quarter or even drive to drive. If the Jets make a sustained run into the playoffs, while the Packers are sitting home this post season, Ted Thompson may need to hire private security. (That is if he hasn’t already.) Next Week: vs. HOU

 

23. Houston Texans (23) – 5-7 – Media and PR types will try to come up with lots of reasons to make you believe that a lot of teams have the potential to be good really soon. When it comes to the Texans, they might be right. They’ve dealt with a considerable amount of adversity this season off of the field, and have had to struggle with injuries and a difficult schedule on the field too. Still, this week showcased a number of teams who look like they’ve already mailed in their seasons, and the Texans aren’t one of them. In fact they exposed one on Monday night against the Jags. Next Week: @ GB

 

24. San Francisco 49ers (27) – 4-8 – Mike Singletary has certainly made his impression on the Niners’ locker room, they’ve won 2 of their last 4, and showed well in a Monday night loss to Arizona. Clearly this team needs a pretty drastic overhaul in order to be competitive, but they’ve got some of the pieces in place already, Singletary looks like he may be one of them. Let’s not forget that they’re in the NFC West too, they could be closer than it seems to making a run at that division. Next Week: vs. NYJ

 

25. Cleveland Browns (26) – 4-8 – The Browns’ season may have been over before it began. Braylon Edwards was never able to establish a rhythm in the offense, Kellen Winslow Jr. has struggled to stay in the lineup, and Donte Stallworth was probably never really a good fit for this team, especially without Joe Jureviscius. The monumental letdown that the Browns have been overall, will probably steal some attention from the fact that their defense is vastly improved over last season. Their season is over now, but don’t sleep on these Browns for next year, they look like they have something that they can build on. Next Week: @ TEN

 

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (24) – 4-8 – The Jags are easily the most disappointing story of the season so far. There have been other teams that have failed to live up to high expectations, but few seem to have been as relatively healthy as Jacksonville. It looks like a slow start to the season derailed the Jags playoff hopes, and their hearts as well. They’re much too talented to be playing the way that they are, this team and its coaches should be outright embarrassed, on Monday night, they were. Next Week: @ CHI

 

27. Kansas City Chiefs (30) – 2-10 – Despite their 2-10 record, it’s not like these Chiefs are wasting a ton of young talent. To their credit, they have proven to be a handful for most opponents, but are simply overmatched on most Sundays. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they don’t appear to have a lot of pieces in place to build around at this point either. At least they continue to play determined football. That at least, is a testament to Herm Edwards and the veterans on this team. Next Week: @ DEN

 

28. Oakland Raiders (25) – 3-9 – Fresh off of a stunning victory against Denver in week 12, the Raiders appeared to be set up for a mini win streak with the Chiefs on tap last week. Things didn’t work out that way however, and despite the flashes of talent that the Raiders youngsters have shown, they can’t seem to keep it together consistently at this point. Given the coaching carousel in Oakland in recent years, it’s no wonder consistency is an issue. Next Week: @ SD

 

29. Seattle Seahawks (28) – 2-10 – It seems that Mike Holmgren’s decision to take a year away from football may have inspired the Seahawks in an unexpected way. The team it seems has decided to take this season off, and Jim Mora may be wondering just what it is that he signed on for. Next week: vs. NE

 

30. St. Louis Rams (31) – 2-10 – Without their once vaunted offensive attack, the Rams leave a lot to be desired all the way around. They have some offensive talent, but can’t seem to keep them healthy, or to find a rhythm when they are healthy. It appears that the head coach wasn’t all that was wrong with the Rams this season, but it is the NFC West; so next year is still bright. Next Week: @ AZ

 

31. Cincinnati Bengals (29) – 1-9-1 – They found a pulse momentarily this season, but the Bengals look like another team that simply cashed it in when the odds stacked up against them early on. The Bengals, at this point appear to be in need of a major overhaul, both on and off of the field. Whether they’ll finally figure that out or not is another question altogether though. Unfortunately for the fans in Cincinnati, much like those in Oakland, you can’t fire the owner. Next Week: @ IND

 

32. Detroit Lions (32) – 0-12 – Even if they wind up winless, the Lions may be better off for the future than a lot of teams in the bottom third of this list. They have Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith to build around on offense. Their defense is actually much better than it’s been in recent years, which still leaves lots of room to grow, but is progress none the less. They’re poised to walk away with the number one pick in the draft, and could trade that back for more picks if they’d like. The boatload of picks that they got from the Cowboys, plus whatever they do with their own picks could make the rebuilding effort a lot quicker than you’d expect. And these are no longer Matt Millen’s Lions. Next Week: vs. MIN

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

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Weekend 15-7-0

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Weekend 15-7-0

Posted on 01 December 2008 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works…..15 deserve props, 7 got lucky, and 1 is a total zero. The Ravens don’t factor into the equation until Tuesday’s Top 7. And the weekend started in America on Wednesday night this past week, so we start with everything that happened on Wednesday night.

Please allow me to prop you….

1-DeAngelo Williams and those of us who kept him in our starting lineups

I didn’t make ALL good decisions in fantasy football this weekend; but I briefly considered moving DeAngelo Williams out of my lineup in favor of Jamal Lewis. If I had; all I would have missed out on would have been a guy who ran for 72 yards and FOUR touchdowns as his Carolina Panthers improved to 9-3 in a 35-31 win over the Packers at Lambeau Field. I’m a good decision maker.

2-Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough, and Josh Heytvelt

Griffin had 32 points and 15 boards in Oklahoma’s semifinal win over UAB; then added 18 points and 21 boards to help the Sooners beat Purdue to finish off the NIT season tip-off title at Madison Square Garden. North Carolina wrapped up the Maui Invitational title Wednesday night with 34 points from Hansbrough in a 102-87 win over Notre Dame. And Heytvelt scored 45 points in Orlando this weekend as Gonzaga knocked off Oklahoma State, Maryland, and Tennessee en route to the Old Spice Classic title. Did anyone else find it uncomfortable watching Bobby Maze give the Volunteers a lift off the bench this weekend?

3-Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida Gators

They both could have looked past rivalry games this weekend knowing that a SEC Championship Game and BCS National Championship playoff loomed one week later. But not only did both teams win, they both won convincingly. Nick Saban’s Tide snapped a 5 game losing streak in the Iron Bowl, beating Auburn 36-0 and keeping the Tigers from reaching bowl eligibility. Urban Meyer’s Gators ran all over Florida State in Tallahassee, beating Bobby Bowden’s bunch 45-15. If only Oklahoma was playing Texas again next week; we’d have a real college football playoff system.

4-Terence Garvin and Pat Balderson

Gavin looked like a man amongst boys Thursday in the annual Turkey Bowl at M&T Bank Stadium. He ran for 183 yards and a TD as the Loyola Dons pasted the Calvert Hall Cardinals in front of 12,000 fans. But as good as Garvin was; Linganore’s Balderson was even better. He rushed for FIVE TD’s as Lancers blasted Arundel 59-34 to advance to play for the 4A state title next week.

5-Jay Cutler

Does this clinch the AFC West for the Broncos? Just when everyone was penciling the Jets as potential Super Bowl contenders and the Broncos the worst of the AFC playoff teams; Cutler unleashed a 27/43 for 357 yards and 2 TD performance to give Denver a 34-17 pasting of the Jets at the Meadowlands. Maybe the Broncos are for real?

6-Chris Johnson and LenDale White

It was so bad for the Lions on Thanksgiving that Jeff Fisher actually tried calling off the dogs and his RB’s were STILL running for big gains. The duo combined for 231 yards and 4 TD’s as the Titans blew out the Lions 47-10. At one point I actually thought Kerry Collins might start taking knees in the 3rd quarter.

7-The Freaking Steelers Defense

Remember the week we all figured the Ravens would move into a tie for first place because the Steelers had to play AT the Redskins? That didn’t work out so well. But this week we had a much greater reason to think the Ravens would end up in a first place tie; as the Steelers had to visit a resurgent Matt Cassel and the New England Patriots in Foxborough. Once again, it didn’t work out so well. The Steelers forced FIVE turnovers, including interceptions for Lawrence Timmons and Troy Polamalu in a 33-10 win. They added 5 sacks for those scoring at home.

8-The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Clemson Tigers, and Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Florida State might not have given the ACC a win over the SEC; but everyone else who played a SEC team did. After being maligned as a league throughout the season; three teams all stepped up to the challenge Saturday. Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets ran for 409 yards in beat their rival Georgia in Athens. Dabo Swinney likely clinched the head coaching gig at Clemson when his Tigers blew out Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks 31-14. And Wake Forest made a case to not be passed over by ACC bowl tie-ins with their 23-10 win over Vanderbilt.

9-LeSean McCoy

A lot of people thought Pitt got a “fluke” win over West Virginia in last year’s “Backyard Brawl” in Morgantown; but LeSean McCoy is certainly the real deal. McCoy ran for 183 yards and two HUGE 4th quarter TD’s as the Panthers beat the Mountaineers and likely sowed up a trip to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl in the process.

10-Mark Herzlich and the Boston College defense

For the last 3 weeks, the Eagles have been just one loss away from elimination in the ACC Atlantic Race. But after winning at Florida State and Wake Forest in the preceding weeks; Herzlich’s defense rose to the occasion again; intercepting Chris Turner twice in handing Maryland its first loss against a ranked team in the last 7 tries. The Eagles can avoid being passed over by Bowl games again by beating Virginia Tech next week in Tampa for the ACC Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl.

11-Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

I don’t think we can be surprised by them anymore. No Courtney Lee, no problem for the Hilltoppers. They pulled a “Patsos” and double teamed stud Louisville freshman Samardo Samuels every time he touched the ball; frustrating Rick Pitino’s team en route to a 68-54 win over the #3 Cardinals. Many think the Cardinals will be a Final Four team this year, but maybe the Hilltoppers could again be a Sweet 16 team themselves.

12-Omar Gonzalez

After losing in the Sweet 16 each of the last two years; the Maryland Terrapins soccer team got revenge in two ways Saturday. Not only did they reach their first Elite 8 since their national title run in 2005; but they also avenged a 1-0 loss to Cal earlier in the season with a 2-1 victory. Gonzalez headed home a set piece from Graham Zusi to put the Terps ahead early, it was his first goal since Oct. 14; and the Terps would never look back. They’ll play Creighton next weekend for the right to advance to the College Cup.

13-Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Donovan McNabb

Manning was 21/34 for 305 yards and a TD as the Giants improved to 11-1 with a 23-7 win over the Redskins at FedEx Field. The NFC East’s other QB’s might not be fighting for a division title anymore; but they still did everything they could to keep their teams rolling towards the playoffs this week. Romo was 22/34 for 331 yards and 3 TD’s as the Cowboys beat up the Seahawks on Thanksgiving; and McNabb rallied from a benching in Baltimore to lift the Eagles over the Cardinals Thanksgiving night using 4 TD passes.

14-Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Look, I don’t play a lot of video games. In fact, while watching my cousins play “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” during our Thanksgiving celebration; I made a crack that my video game life consists of Tiger Woods Golf and Wii Tennis; EA College Football on the old Playstation2, and my frequent visits to FreeTetris.org. But when I saw a trailer for this game during my football watching this weekend; I almost stood up and cheered. It has been a LONG time since I’ve played a Mortal Kombat or Streetfighter-type game; but it I can have Baraka battle Batman; that might well be worth me making a purchase. However, someone else is going to have to buy me an Xbox 360. Haven’t seen the trailer? Take a look.

15-Turkey Sandwiches with Barbeque Sauce

If you have ANY leftover turkey, do this immediately. Grab some; stick it on your preferred type of bread. Now, grab your favorite bottle of barbeque sauce out of the fridge, and dump some on the turkey. It is important that you include leftover mashed potatoes in this meal as well; as the barbeque sauce you put on the sandwich should overflow and mix in with the potatoes. Enjoy; and thank me later.

You got lucky…..

1-Indianapolis Flippin’ Colts

You mean to tell me Peyton Manning threw 2 interceptions; the Colts’ offense didn’t find the endzone ONCE, and the Browns still found a way to lose??? The Ravens could have moved ahead of the Colts in the AFC Wild Card pecking order; but Romeo Crennel’s bunch fumbled away a 4th quarter lead and the Colts hung on for a 10-6 win. Bogus!

2-Michael Phelps

I brought a 2 liter of Diet Pepsi, a bottle of cheap wine, and a six pack of holiday beer to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Michael Phelps brought this……

Caroline Pal

That’s a point for you, Michael Phelps.

3-Oklahoma Sooners

They looked good in their win over Oklahoma State; I get that. But stay with me. Texas Tech lost to Oklahoma ON THE ROAD. Texas lost to Texas Tech ON THE ROAD on the FINAL PLAY OF THE GAME. Oklahoma lost to Texas by DOUBLE DIGITS on a NEUTRAL FIELD. And yet somehow Oklahoma gets to play for the Big 12 Championship and a trip to Miami to play for the BCS National Championship? Yeah, that makes sense. Say everything you want Bob Stoops; but this one is pretty stinky.

4-The Rose Bowl Committee and the Ohio State Buckeyes

It was probably pretty awkward for Rose Bowl officials to have to book their trip to Corvallis this weekend knowing they would likely have to extend an invitation to the Beavers to play Penn State January 1. It has probably equally as awkward to hear the same officials cheering every time Oregon broke off another TD run in their 65-38 thrashing of Oregon State. It will be even more awkward is those Rose Bowl officials watch UCLA beat USC next week and are forced to invite the Beavers anyway. Jim Tressel must be smiling however, knowing that despite their blowout loss to the Trojans and a home loss to Penn State; he’s just a USC win away from heading back to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.

5-John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines

When DeShawn Sims hit a bucket from the corner as the final buzzer sounded in overtime; all of Ann Arbor raised a collective sigh of relief. The Wolverines trailed 39-19 to the Savannah State Tigers at halftime; and to put together a furious rally just to get to overtime. Hopefully the same Wolverines will show up Wednesday night at Comcast Center against the Terps.

6-Kansas Jayhawks and Nebraska Cornhuskers

Kansas had a double digit lead, blew it, and then needed THIS 4th down heave and a prayer to beat rival Missouri in the annual “Border War” at Arrowhead Stadium. Nebraska had a fake field goal intercepted and returned for a TD; but somehow got their kicker to nail THIS kick…..from 57 yards out…..to beat rival Colorado. Unreal.

7-Sam Angell

My old pal Sam has been working as a media relations assistant at the University of Maryland for a few years now. Just this past year he started working on the PR staff with the Baltimore Ravens as well, you might have read his work at BaltimoreRavens.com. But when media relations superstar Natalia Ciccone took a new job this year; Sam stepped in as the point person for both the field hockey team and the women’s basketball team in College Park. All he’s done in the last 8 days is celebrate a national championship with the field hockey team in Louisville; then spent Thanksgiving in Cancun watching the Terps women sweep three games in a Holiday tournament. Must be a nice life pal.

You’re an absolute zero……

Nutjobs who go shopping at 5am on Black Friday

Look, I get it. There are $349 laptops; half price Ravens jerseys, and $400 flatscreen TV’s. There are plenty of deals to be had; and you want to get them. That’s all well and good, but I’ve been around you people. You’re insane. When I used to work at Best Buy, I had to break up fights between you guys while you were standing in line. It was EXTREMELY frustrating. And then there’s the story that some Black Friday nuts actually stampeded and killed a Wal-Mart employee in New York this year. There is NOTHING worth this type of insanity. Not ever FREE laptops.

Talk to you in the morning.

-G

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You Play The Coach – Which Raven Gets Your Game Ball?

Posted on 26 November 2008 by Alex Thomas

That wasn’t just another Ravens win, that was a statement to the rest of the NFL that the Ravens are true playoff contenders. I was down at Washington College (my alma mater) for the game. Considering I didn’t have to work, I stuck around and watched the game with the numerous Eagles fans who I have described in previous blogs. We usually don’t hang out on Sundays, but considering the entire cast of the men’s swimming ’08 alumni were there, I decided to give it a shot. Of course, I was in the comfort of other Ravens fans to ease the pain in case the Raven’s lost.

But they didn’t. In fact, they mopped the floor with the Eagles, and in the process have made themselves an integral part of Philadelphia sports lore: The Day the Donovan McNabb Era Ended.

The first half of this game was actually rather boring. Aside from a great play by Jarret Johnson and an Ed Reed pick that set up a great TD catch by Daniel Wilcox, both offenses were searching for a way, ANY way, to move the football down the field without bringing out the punter. But the second half, especially the fourth quarter, was filled with reasons for Ravens fans to cheer and Eagles fans to have another one.

I don’t understand how there’s any reasonable way you can substitute a potential Hall of Fame quarterback (after it’s all said and done…at this point, he’s in the Hall of Very Good) for a back-up with limited experience…on the road in one of the most intimidating atmospheres in the NFL in M&T Bank Stadium…against a ferocious defense that has already forced three turnovers.

Andy Reid made a bad call, and he’s trying to rectify it by starting McNabb on Thanksgiving night…sorry buddy, this isn’t going to save your job, or McNabb’s for that matter. The Eagles are a team ready to implode, which is kind of strange to think about considering how dominating they’ve been in the NFC in recent years.

Some thoughts on the game:

-Jared Gaither surprised all of us by playing against Philly, and he played a pretty good game considering he’s playing with one arm.

-Joe Flacco keeps getting better every week. Considering all of the pressure he was under, it’s amazing that he didn’t throw a pick. He’ll see similar pressure against Pittsburgh in a few weeks, so it’s good to see that he’s learning to protect the football.

-What happened to Brian Dawkins? Did he even play on Sunday? He is the heart and soul of the Eagles defense, and had literally no impact on the game. No wonder the Ravens put up 36 points.

-If I could give out an Unsung Hero award, it would undoubtedly go to Jarret Johnson.

-Matt Stover is still struggling to get elevation on his kicks.

-For the second time this season, the Ravens special teams cost the team a shutout. That has to be frustrating for Ray Lewis and Co.

-My game ball goes to Ed Reed. For several reasons, including the record-breaking 108 interception return for a touchdown that sealed the game. As Gerry Sandusky said: “You better believe the hay’s in the barn now.” I think it’s a no-brainer.

Who gets your game ball this week?

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Ravens Fans: Pick Your Poision – This Is Truly A First

Posted on 26 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The Ravens haven’t even quite reached the final quarter of this season yet, but already it’s been a memorable one, full of excitement and surprises. No matter how purple your glasses may be, or how much of the Kool Aid you were drinking this off-season, there are likely few among us who could credibly stand up and say that this season is playing out the way that we expected.

 

With a rookie head coach, and a rookie QB, both of whom have performed above and beyond all reasonable expectations to this point, the Ravens find themselves in a position that most of us could have only dreamed of prior to the start of this season. Additionally, the seeming shift of power in the league in general has left the door wide open for an upstart, as only the Giants seem to be performing up to expectations among what had been considered the NFL’s elite.

 

It’s certainly too early to begin making your reservations for Tampa just yet. But much like to 2002 team, this surprising bunch appears likely to be playing meaningful games into the final weeks of the season at the very least. So now as the season draws near to a close, we as fans begin the neurotic practice of running through scenarios in our heads, of how things could or should fall in our favor over the season’s remaining weeks.

 

In baseball they call it scoreboard watching, but baseball is different. With games happening every night, it’s often impossible to fully start to fathom potential scenarios until the final days of the season. Or because of the number of games, some races are decided with seemingly months remaining in the season. In football though, with just one game per week, and a seemingly more predictable results from game to game, we can’t help but run through the scenarios endlessly in our heads during the days leading up to each winter Sunday.

 

As Ravens fans, I think most if us expected the schedule to be a difficult one, but that was just from the traditional sense of who the Ravens would have to face from week to week. As the season plays out, and the Ravens continue to remain in the thick of the playoff hunt, we as fans suddenly have a lot more of a rooting interest in games that impact the Ravens, but don’t specifically involve them.

 

As fans, we tend to believe, against all conventional logic, that somehow our prayers, karma, rituals or mojo can actually influence the outcome of the games we watch. And therefore it’s important to know whom it is that you want to win a particular game, so that you can send out the proper vibes to help your team.

 

Already in this young season, I have been forced to sit in front of the TV and passionately encourage the efforts of such hated teams as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Washington and Indianapolis as they went against the Steelers. At one point having to stoop so low as to cheer for both the Colts and Redskins within a span of 6 days.

 

So now, with playoff hopes clearly on the line for the Ravens, this week’s match up between the Patriots and Steelers has added importance in the Ravens hopes for reaching the playoffs themselves. Therefore it’s important before the game begins, for me to figure out just who I’d like to see win this one.

 

Both teams are easy enough to hate on. After all, in order to inspire hate, you usually have to achieve some degree of success; both teams certainly fit that bill. On the surface, it’d be easy to say I’d rather see Pittsburgh lose, they are our divisional rival, and winning the division guarantees a playoff berth, so I’d rather see them lose and fall into an effective tie with the Ravens if Baltimore beats the Bengals on Sunday too. And the Steelers have certainly given us plenty of reasons to hate them over the years.

 

The Patriots however, have taken success to another whole level. Their recent success is unparalleled in the salary cap era, and most of us still have a little bit of a sting leftover from the heartbreaking loss that they put on the Ravens last year. If you need more reasons to hate them consider that they fleeced Ozzie Newsome in the Boller trade, getting Vince Wilfork and Asante Samuel with the Ravens draft picks. And they’re the team that signed Adalius Thomas away from the Ravens too, although the last laugh may be the Ravens’ in that one.

 

It’s probably best to try and take all of the emotion out of it, and look at it rationally, mathematically. Looking at the Ravens remaining schedule, winning out seems unlikely, making the specific scenarios tough to predict, but we’ll try.

 

If the Patriots were to get the win on Sunday, it’d put the Steelers at 8-4, and in a likely tie with Baltimore. Since the first tiebreaker is head to head, the Ravens would need to beat Pittsburgh in Baltimore to have a shot at the division. Doing that would give the Ravens a 1 game lead, thereby facilitating their margin for error and negating the first tiebreaker. Even with that, the Ravens would have to either win out, or hope for the Steelers to drop yet another game in order to win the North.

 

That’s because, assuming a tie, with the first tie breaker (head-to-head) thrown out, the second tiebreaker (divisional record) would likely be thrown out too with both teams likely 5-1. The third tiebreaker is common opponents. Since the Ravens and Steelers only have 2 uncommon opponents, the Steelers would win this tiebreaker too. If they finish tied, the Ravens will have beaten both uncommon opponents (Miami and Oakland), while Pittsburgh will have one (New England). Therefore Pittsburgh would still have a game advantage in common opponents if they finish tied.

 

If the Steelers were to win, on the other hand, the Ravens would have a full game lead on everyone for the second wildcard spot (presuming they beat the Bengals), and leaving them at least 1 game ahead of every other AFC wildcard hopeful in conference wins (the first tie breaker).  Furthermore, given the chance to take either the Patriots or Steelers out of the playoff picture in the AFC, I’ll strike New England. This isn’t the high-powered air show that they had last season, but these Patriots are looking more and more like the 2001 team with each passing week. In the playoffs, I’d guess that they’d rather see Pittsburgh, it’s their comfort zone, no surprises, just line it up and do what they do, twice a year, every year.

 

The machismo Ravens fan in me wants to get up on Sunday pulling for the Ravens at 1 and the Patriots at 4. But the realist in me says that it’s probably better for the Ravens if Pittsburgh wins this game. The Ravens would still have a chance to pull even in 2 weeks (although still behind by virtue of common opponents), and then let the chips fall where they may. I’m sure that the bounce of the ball, or more appropriately this season, the blown or missed call will provide us with a few curveballs before the end of the season anyway. It usually works out that way.

 

But for now, and for this week only, I’m pullin’ for yins. It’s the measles or the mumps, and this week I’m riding with the measles. It’ll be a miserable time from 4-7 on Sunday in my house, and there’s no way that my wife is ever going to understand. But as fans we must do what we must do, and this week, I’m taking one for the team. We as fans have a responsibility to throw our mojo around correctly after all.

 

I’d root for a tie, but I think that McNabb blew the cover on that one. We probably won’t be seeing another one this season. But that probably would be the best-case scenario; nobody wins, except for Ravens fans.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 13 QBs

Posted on 26 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

There’s not a lot of shake up in this week’s QB rankings, There are however plenty of quarterbacks among the top twenty who were overlooked on draft day and through much of the season. In fact, there’s a decent chance that you’ll still be able to find one of these top 20 still on your league’s waiver wire. There are 3 games on tap for Thursday this week, so we’ll have all of the rankings out in time to set your lineups well before the first kickoff on Thanksgiving Day.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 13. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 13 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 13 lineup decisions.

 

Week 13 Fantasy Quarterback Power Rankings

 

QB Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 1011 - 12

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Drew Brees (2) – NO – 3574 yds 22 TD 11 int & 1 TD rush

 

2. Kurt Warner (1) – AZ – 3506 yds 21 TD 8 int

 

3. Tony Romo (6) – DAL – 2228 yds 18 TD 7 int & 1 TD rush

 

4. Aaron Rodgers (5) – GB – 2599 yds 17 TD 9 int & 4 TD rush

 

5. Jay Cutler (3) – DEN – 3036 yds 19 TD 12 int

 

6. Phillip Rivers (4) – SD – 2806 yds 23 TD 10 int

 

7. Peyton Manning (7) – IND – 2823 yds 19 TD 10 int & 1 TD rush

 

8. Brett Favre (9) – NYJ – 2461 yds 20 TD 13 int

 

9. Eli Manning (11) – NYG – 2319 yds 18 TD 7 int & 1 TD rush

 

10. Matt Cassel (10) – NE – 2615 yds 13 TD 8 int & 2 TD rush

 

11. Shaun Hill (15) – SF – 906 yds 7 TD 3 int & 1 TD rush

 

12. Tyler Thigpen (16) – KC – 1577 yds 13 TD 7 int & 1 TD rush, 1 TD rec

 

13. Donavan McNabb (8) – PHI – 2770 yds 14 TD 10 int & 1 TD rush

 

14. Chad Pennington (19) – MIA – 2715 yds 11 TD 6 int & 1 TD rush

 

15. David Garrard (13) – JAX – 2461 yds 9 TD 8 int & 1 TD rush

 

16. Joe Flacco (18) – BAL – 1996 yds 10 TD 9 int & 2 TD rush

 

17. Trent Edwards (NR) – BUF – 2266 yds 10 TD 10 int & 3 TD rush

 

18. Matt Ryan (14) – ATL – 2418 yds 11 TD 6 int

 

19. Jason Campbell (20) – WAS – 2328 yds 10 TD 3 int

 

20. Kyle Orton (12) – CHI – 2049 yds 11 TD 4 int & 1 TD rush

 

Dropped From Rankings: Gus Frerotte – MIN

 

QBs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 13: Tony Romo vs. SEA; Kyle Orton @ MIN; Jay Cutler @ NYJ; Brett Favre vs. DEN; Donavan McNabb vs. AZ; Matt Ryan @ SD; Chad Pennington @ ST.L

 

QBs Who Could Be Sleepers Based on Week 13 Match Ups: Kerry Collins @ DET; Jeff Garcia vs. NO; Trent Edwards vs. SF

 

QBs With Tough Week 13 Match Ups: Matt Cassel vs. PIT; Aaron Rodgers vs. CAR; Drew Brees @ TB; Kurt Warner @ PHI; Jason Campbell vs. NYG; Eli Manning @ WAS

 

QBs You Might Want To Avoid In Week 13: Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson vs. IND; Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. BAL; Daunte Culpepper or Drew Stanton vs. TEN; Jake Delhomme @ GB

 

And here are the week 13 Fantasy QB start rankings; it’s all 32 projected starters in the order that you should consider them this week. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for Thursday’s games, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Tony Romo (9)

2. Jay Cutler (17)

3. Phillip Rivers (24)

4. Drew Brees (30)

5. Kurt Warner (30)

6. Donavan McNabb (31)

7. Brett Favre (32)

8. Shaun Hill (33)

9. Chad Pennington (33)

10. Peyton Manning (34)

11. Aaron Rodgers (35)

12. Matt Ryan (37)

13. David Garrard (41)

14. Tyler Thigpen (42)

15. Trent Edwards (44)

16. Jeff Garcia (46)

17. Matt Cassel (47)

18. Joe Flacco (47)

19. Eli Manning (49)

20. Kerry Collins (56)

21. Ben Roethlisberger (57)

22. Kyle Orton (60)

23. Jason Campbell (63)

24. Sage Rosenfels (64)

25. Jake Delhomme (70)

26. Marc Bulger (70)

27. Gus Frerotte (71)

28. JaMarcus Russell (72)

29. Matt Hasselbeck (77)

30. Ryan Fitzpatrick (83)

31. Brady Quinn / Derek Anderson (88)

32. Daunte Culpepper / Drew Stanton (92)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so keep checking back. You can use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 13 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 WR Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

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When do we paint the city purple and make some noise?

Posted on 25 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

It occurred to me as the National Anthem was playing on Sunday as I began my three-hour freeze in the upper deck of M&T Bank Stadium that the late-arriving crowd might’ve been looking forward to the cold as much as I was. Which is to say, “not so much.”

Sunday was the strangest of Ravens games from my perspective. Strange pacing. Strange crowd (I can honestly say that I didn’t see one problem with Eagles fans, although I heard a few horror stories. Of course, I sit in Sect. 513 and I only saw one person in green anywhere near my section.). Before the game I saw swaths of green and heard chants of “E-A-G-L-E-S” coming from inside the stadium as I circled to enter.

The Eagles fans – as well as the team on the field – seemed to leave their “game” at the tailgate lot.

But the purple crowd was even more bizarre and “dead.” Entering the game at 6-4, playing at home for the first time a few weeks and with a lot on the line, I thought our fans were kinda lame on Sunday. It was strangely silent. And the strong home field advantage we usually enjoy from the noise of the crowd on defense was strangely QUIET…

You can laugh, but I’m convinced it has to do with gloves. I remember being at the Panthers-Packers NFC Championship Game back in 1996 in Green Bay when the temperature was 8 degrees and thinking “it’s awfully quiet” at Lambeau Field. I looked around and realized that people were trying to survive more than be a home-field advantage, 11th-man crowd.

The only “roar” of the crowd comes with voices when 70,000 are wearing gloves. Or huddling under blankets.

Did anybody hear – or not hear – what I did on Sunday?

Sure, it was cold as hell. (Here’s where the macho will say: “Aw, it wasn’t that cold!” Yes…it was!) But it was also empty-ish upon kickoff. The crowds rarely rose to their feet when Donovan McNabb was on the field early in the game. I don’t know if was the weather or the Eagles or the pacing of the game, but it was hardly the rocking stadium we’ve seen and heard in the past. Hard to get loud when people are shivering, I suppose.

But, hey, a 36-7 win isn’t summed up with me bitching about the crowd. It was a great game, a great day to be a Ravens fan. But if you have been a PSL holder over the years, you must admit that the stadium was awkwardly library-ish on Sunday.

But today I’m wondering aloud when the city will get all oiled up and lathered about a 7-4 football team with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback that should have the city salivating.

Maybe it’s because no one really thinks this team can with the Super Bowl this year?

Maybe it’s because the economy sucks and everyone is generally kinda miserable with their business, holiday, cash-flow situation, etc.?

Maybe it’s just not that exciting when the team isn’t playing knockout games just yet, even if seeing the little sea of green in the parking lot from Filthy didn’t get people worked up?

But I hope it changes and changes soon. The Ravens sent all of us at WNST a “reminder” about Purple Fridays, which is a good start. We had the 13-3 season two years ago and the city was purple and at a fever pitch by Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to see the city swathed in a sea of purple in a few weeks and harbor the thoughts of playing some January football – here or on the road. If you can’t get excited about 7-4 with a pending trip to Cincinnati to go to a potential 8-4, then why be a fan?

THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES! It doesn’t get much better than sitting around watching football on Turkey Day with the Ravens being a factor in the mix. Two out of the last three years, the team has been dreadful and miserable to watch by Thanksgiving. This year our turkey talk combines nicely with our football when our families reconvene in 48 hours.

Honestly, won’t the Ravens and their season be a MAJOR topic of conversation around any event you attend on Thursday? That’s the fun part about football — the whole family gets in on the conversation and excitement.

December shapes up nicely if the Ravens can get through this “trap” game in Cincinnati.

The Redskins game has been moved into primetime.

The Steelers come here the following weekend and that game stands to be larger than life if the Ravens can win the next two and enter that game at 9-4.

We’ll then play in Dallas before Christmas on national television again. Tony Romo. Jerry Jones. Jessica Simpson. It’s a “made for primetime” event on a Saturday night.

And we’ll finish the season here against the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars, a game that will no doubt be aided by the flasks and anything else that warms the soul on a cold winter day.

So, just when does the party start?

When do we start turning the city on its purple side?

(BTW: The WNST Miller Lite Purple Palace contest is still in gear through the middle of December. We already have a handful of entries and we’d love to collect as many as we can. We’ll begin to show you the videos and pictures we’ve collected later this week. If you have a friend or neighbor or relative who has a “purple palace,” tell them to enter the contest here. Winner goes to Green Bay next year to see Lambeau Field and gets a visit from the WNST crew with a bunch of Miller Lite and food.)

I’m ready to bust out the purple rope lights around WNST.

I’m ready for the fun to begin.

I’m ready for Festivus!

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