Browsing all articles tagged with Baltimore Ravens
Sep
12

NFL 2009 Season Predicitons – Playoffs and Super Bowl (Mark)

Alright. Matt and I have both given our regular season picks.  Now, time to look even further into the future and predict the playoffs!

NFC

Wild Card-Round (Seeds in parentheses winner bolded)

Packers (6) at Cardinals (3)

Playing warm weather will allow Arizona’s offense to keep rolling.

Redskins (5) at Saints (4)

The ‘Skins great D will be able to slow Drew Brees and the Saints down enough for a win.

Divisional Round

Redskins at Cowboys (1)

This will be an upset, but it should not be surprising. The ‘Boys just never get it done in the playoffs.

Cardinals at Vikings (2)

Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson will be able to put up some big numbers at home against a weak D. Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald will try to keep the Cards in the game, but it won’t be enough.

Championship Game

Redskins at Vikings

Right now the Vikings look like a more complete team than the Redskins. And Favre is going to want win. Badly. He’ll make it happen.

AFC

Wild-Card Round

Ravens (6) at Titans (3)

The Ravens have a great team but the Titans team is a beast and has the talent to go all the way. The Ravens are not quite at that level yet.

Colts (5) at Broncos (4)

The Broncos will be the weakest division winner this year. Peyton Manning will get it done on the road against a defense that is still rebuilding.

Divisional Round

Colts at Steelers (1)

Without Tony Dungy to coach him anymore I predict that Manning will find Pittsburgh D too much to take.

Titans at Patriots (2)

This  could be the most competitive game of the playoffs. Both teams have a chance of winning, but homefield advantage and a week to rest their players will give the Pats the upper hand.

Championship Game

Patriots at Steelers

This will be a close, close game.  Mike Tomlin is a great coach with a Super Bowl win but Belichick is a great coach with three.  The Pats squeak a win out here.

Super Bowl

Patriots vs. Vikings

Brett Favre will finally get another Super Bowl win and retire for keeps (okay I admit part of this pick is simply me wanting that retire for keep thing to happen).  He has all the pieces he needs with the Vikes D and all day Adrian Peterson.  The Giants proved that Brady and the Pats can be beat in the big game. I think the Vikings are just going to want it more.

Sep
11

2009 NFL Season Predictions – AFC (Mark)

These are my predictions for the AFC standings this year.  I have less to say analysis wise about this conference so I will simply explain the reasoning for my division winners.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots

2. Miami Dolphins

3. New York Jets

4. Buffalo Bills

Last season the Patriots managed an 11-5 record and Tom Brady only played for part of one game. This year Brady is back and the offense instantly goes from great to one of the Top 3 in the league.  The Patriots picked up Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden at cornerback and improved their passing defense.  The Patriots play a tough schedule but with Head Coach Bill Belichick, Brady at QB, and a solid defense the Pats will be competing for home field advantage in the playoffs.

AFC South

1. Tennessee Titans

2. Indianapolis Colts

3. Houston Texans

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Tennessee Titans went 13 and 3 last year.  Most of their starters return this year and they are playing an average schedule.  Their big loss was on defense as star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth left to go to the Redskins.  They still have Javon Kearse and Kyle Van Vanden Bosch to bring the pressure up front. The defense may not be quite as fearsome as it was but it will still be great. Kerry Collins is a veteran quarterback who can easily manage a team with a great defense and a strong running game to wins.

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. Cleveland Browns

4. Cincinnati Bengals

The Super Bowl champion Steelers return nearly all of their starters.  They have one of the best defenses in the NFL.  With Rashard Mendenhall returning from injury the running game gets better and more varied.  Ben Roethlisberger is no Peyton Manning, but he knows how to get the job done.  The Steelers could be even better than they were last year.

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos

2.  San Diego Chargers

3. Kansas City Chiefs

4. Oakland Raiders

This  division is the toughest to predict because none of the teams are really that much better than the others.  I think the Broncos are going to be able to take it however.  New Head Coach Josh McDaniels and new quarterback Kyle Orton will exceed expectations.  Solid defenders Brian Dawkins, Andra Davis, Renaldo Hill, and Andre’ Goodman were brought in to reinvigorate the defense.

Playoff Seeds

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. New England Patriots

3.  Tennessee Titans

4. Denver Broncos

5. Indianapolis Colts

6.  Baltimore Ravens

Aug
16

"It's Just Preseason"

Yes, it’s just preseason.  That’s what I had to continually affirm to myself once the game started and the Skins were down 6-0 to the Ravens starters.  I had to keep telling myself that it was “just preseason” when we ended up losing 23-0 and weren’t in field goal range one freaking time.  As far as those top 5 things went, well, some of them we saw and some we did not.  Let’s do a quick recap…

5. Offensive Line Play- For the most part, the offensive line did pretty well, I guess.  There were no huge holes for the running backs but seeing as everyone this offseason is predicting Campbell’s decapitation by week 3, they didn’t do that bad.  In fact, Campbell said he was pleased with their play (Of course what’s he going to say?  He’s no Clinton Portis).

Campbell actually picked out Rinehart and said he was impressed with his play.

4. Just for kicks. This was probably the most frustrating thing of the whole night. We saw one kickoff, no field goals and clearly no PAT’s.  It’s going to be tough (again, though it shouldn’t be) for coaches to determine a winner of a kicking competition when nobody freaking kicks in the games.  Our offense the whole way through was completely incompetent, not even in field goal range at the end of a drive.  Fred Davis fumbled a way a possible scoring drive or two on his own.

3. Cult of Colt vs. Toddball- Round 1 goes to Todd Collins.  Colt had the majority of time against the Ravens but failed to impress like he did last year.  He actually looked pretty uncomfortable with the backup line play. I know there were a few times he had open receivers and opted to scramble for a 5 or 6 yard scramble instead of making the toss.  Here’s the statistical breakdown:

Todd Collins

8 for 11   70 yards      72.7% Comp.%      O TD  O INT                    Rating 89.2

Colt Brennan

4 for 12   43 yards    33.3 % Comp. %       O TD    1 INT                   Rating 10.1

Colt had 3 rushes for 13 yards as well.

Colt’s pick, I didn’t think was entirely his fault.  The receiver definitely could have caught it though it wasn’t placed perfectly.  Collins definitely seemed more comfortable than a year ago (though still looked skittish in the pocket).  I expect that Collins will get more time against the Steelers this week and we’ll probably see more of Chase Daniel as well.

2. Who’s going to be Z-Man’s Z Receiver? Statistics can do part of the talking here:

Kelly- 3 catches, 25 yards, long of 13

Thomas- 1 catch, 12 yards, long of 12

Honestly, I was just glad they played a whole game and didn’t break, rip, tear or pull anything.  But beyond that, I can see the optimism surrounding these guys.  They have great size and seem like if they start putting things together they can use some of their speed to really infuse some life into this offense.  Kelly had a great grab he plucked from the air on a slant route in the middle of the field.  But then he ran the route a bit short on another play costing the Skins a first down.  Thomas had a good play but also seemed to be out of place on a WR screen from Collins.  Right now?  Edge goes to Kelly.

Fred Davis had some good moments right before he fumbled it…twice

1. Orakpo’s debut- One of the only highlights of the night was seeing Orakpo blow by the Ravens O-line.  Yes, Michael Oher (the guy Baltimore picked in the first round that we could have had) played well.  But in this game he was a waning candle compared to the brightness of Orakpo’s debut.  Did not have a sack but showed good pursuit from end.  His impact at LB (which is probably more significant) was unnoticeable, which makes sense since he’s still learning that position.  Actually, the whole defensive line throughout the night played well consistently breaking through the Ravens line and hurrying throws of Flacco, Smith and Beck.

Other Skins highlights and low-lights

Hagans did little to impress Zorn in this game as a punt returning option.  At one point I think I caught Zorn telling Hagans after another fair catch, “Do you want this job as a punt returner for us??”

Jeremy Jarmon had a batted down pass and broke through the line a few times.  He had a great debut as a Skin and paired with Orakpo, I think Vinny could get a bunch of people off his back for a little while (unless the offensive line explodes like everyone is screaming it will).  Jarmon has great size and speed, looks like a real smart pick.

Our secondary secondary had a really really rough night.  Tryon got burned on every freaking slant route.  Theismann blamed it on size but I don’t think that was really the issue.  If Tryon was bigger and in the same place, the Ravens receivers would still have been burning him.  His position was off every time.  Barnes also had a bad night.  He got burned for a touchdown, not sure if he thought Doughty was there in support but he wasn’t.

Also, Betts was given a Bettis jersey for the night.  I hope this is the only thing in common we have with the Nationals this year.  The Papa Johns segment DURING THE GAME WAS RIDICULOUSLY LONG, too.

What were your thoughts about the game?  What do you expect to see from the Skins against the Steelers this week?

Aug
13

Top Five Things to Watch for in Skins v. Ravens

Thursday night is finally upon us and the Redskins will be matching up against their beltway non-conference, non-annually played, non-rival !  Even though this is just a preseason game.  It’s another step closer to the regular season.  There are many things that will need to happen for the Redskins to be successful this year, among them: Campbell’s growth in the Zorn offense, Haynesworth living up to his monstrous contract (though slightly lesser than T-Suggs contract with Baltimore) and how the offensive line protects Campbell.  Unfortunately, because it is the first preseason game you won’t see any of those things.  Campbell is likely to be in for one series, Haynesworth (along with other some other starters including Portis) aren’t playing, and the offensive line (Randy Thomas) will not be at full strength.  But, don’t you worry avid Redskins fan!  There is still plenty to watch and learn from tonight’s preseason matchup.

Here’s a run of our Top 5 things to watch for:

5. Offensive line play- Last year the Redskins selected Chad Rinehart (Left Tackle from Northern Iowa) with a third round draft pick and expectations were high for him to be a quality reserve for the offensive line.  It didn’t pan out that way, and he struggled to be effective last year when his number was called.  His explanation?  He was intimidated by the players he faced in the NFL and was stuck imitating others instead of playing “his game”. Injuries happen and have already started to swipe at the starting O-line, so Rinehart will most likely be called upon during the regular season.  Hopefully he will start reclaiming that swagger in the preseason to gear up for the rest of the year.

Of course Right Tackle is the biggest question mark on the O-line, so watch tonight how Heyer, Mike Williams and Bridges fare against a very challenging Ravens defense.  Although they won’t see the first team defense for long, the Ravens have consistently had one of the strongest defenses in the league the past decade and you don’t have that type of consistency without depth.  The race at who will start at RT starts tonight.

4. Just for Kicks- Shaun Suisham has a competition this year for his job at kicker (Thank goodness). Dave Rayner and Suisham will battle it out all preseason long, probably by switching up half’s of the game.  I am not sure this is really a competition, but I’d be shocked if Suisham wins it. Apparently he’s been spending time in the offseason working on things, so maybe he’ll come out and not be the league’s worst kicker. That’d be great.

Oh yeah, we also have a punter that (supposedly) is decent.  I’m actually looking forward to seeing our first punt tonight to see if Hunter Smith can help us forget about the whole Frost/Brooks fiasco from last year and the Plackemeir band-aid. Smith apparently has some pretty sweet sneaks too.

3. Cult of Colt vs. ToddBall Who will be the Number Two QB? One thing you can bet you’ll see this preseason is a heated position battle for the number 2 quarterback spot behind Campbell.  Colt Brennan had an incredible preseason last year going 36 for 53 for 411 yards 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions (also leading all rookies with a QB rating of 109.9 in preseason games).  Todd Collins will most likely put up a good fight, with him also having the advantage of being in Zorn’s system for a second year.  Last year Collins seemed to be out of place while trying to adapt after being in Al Saunders style of offense for nearly a century.

2. Who’s going to be Z-Man’s Z Receiver? This is it, Devin Thomas vs. Malcolm Kelly. Can these second year receiver’s stay on the field and actually contribute this year? Thomas is starting tonight with the first team offense at the flanker position, opposite of Santana Moss.  But both Thomas and Kelly will receive major time tonight and will be challenged by the Ravens secondary.  Their success this pivotal to the success of Campbell.  Look for Campbell and Thomas to get comfortable with each other.  Some early chemistry building could go a long way if Thomas can stay healthy.

1. Orakpo’s debut.  Brian Orakpo was selected 13th in the first round by the Redskins this year and is going to be playing a mix of the SAM LB position (where Marcus Washington played) and Defensive End (where he wreaked havoc in college while playing for Texas). Orakpo’s been exceeding expectations throughout camp, impressing Samuels and Blache with both his natural talent and his quick learning of the defensive system. I don’t want to jinx anything but I think Orakpo could be a dominant force when paired with Haynesworth and Andre Carter.  Tonight we’ll be able to see Orakpo w/o Haynesworth’s help (hopefully not the case very often during the regular season).

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Also watch for these tonight: The competition for punt returner, Kevin Barnes’ debut, Marcus Mason’s last shot and Chase Daniel’s first time against NFL players.