The Ravens have won some tight games this year, including Sunday’s 31-29 win over Dallas, and have lost just one game so far. However, they’ve been doing it largely with offense and have shown an un-Raven-like weakness in stopping the run. I had mentioned in the preseason that the offense looked to take the final leap to a high-powered one AKA Green Bay or New England but with more balance since they’ve got one of the ultimate weapons in the league on the ground in Ray Rice.
Torrey Smith is in the process of breaking out into a premier deep threat as he flashed that ability last year. WR Anquan Bolden is still fearless going over the middle, and TE Dennis Pitta has made some timely plays. They have weapons.
The defense is starting to become an issue for real now. They started the season without reigning league Defensive Player of the Year, OLB Lee Suggs, and won’t see him return until somewhere in the last third of the season, if he’s effective at all. That was a given to start the year.
Massive 350 lb. DE Haloti Ngata injured his knee Sunday as we await MRI results. The preliminary diagnosis is an ACL sprain, which means he could return to full strength after a week or two – good news, if the MRI doesn’t show worse damage. He may continue to play through it but won’t be himself if he does.
Ray Lewis was injured as well and it’s feared he’s got a torn triceps muscle and lost for the season. To add injury to insult to injury, CB Ladarius Webb tore his left ACL and is lost for the season.
It used to be that the Ravens were a defense you couldn’t run on no matter what. The Steelers were the same way. No longer.
Baltimore has allowed 352 yards rushing between the tackles alone in the last 2 games. The Cowboys’ offense was ranked near the bottom in rushing, and had not one but two RBs (Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray) run for over 90 yards each on Sunday. Losing Ray Lewis in the middle only further softens the belly of this beast.
The Ravens hook up to battle the Houston Texans next week, who are stinging from an embarrassing loss at home against Green Bay Sunday night. They won’t be amused, and should be as up for this contest as any. Something tells me the Ravens’ defense won’t be able to contain Arian Foster and/or Ben Tate like the Packers did last night, and the Texans’ entire offense revolves around the zone-blocking running game.
It looks like the Ravens are going to have their work cut out for them. It’s a good thing they’re 2 games up on the rest of the NFC North and I can’t wait for the game after – they play the Texans, then have their bye week, and then travel to Cleveland to possibly face a healthy Trent Richardson.
Now THAT’S a game I don’t want to miss!
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