On Sunday the Ravens host one of the biggest surprise teams of the 2010 season, the 7-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While this young Tampa Bay team has a lot of potential, the Ravens are the superior team and will without a doubt take this one for these five reasons.
- Run Ray Run – The Ravens game plan this week should be simple. Hand the ball to Ray Rice. The Bucs are ranked 29th in run defense, they allow an average of 136.5 yard per game and 4.8 yard per carry.
- Inflated record – While the Ravens 7-3 record has come under scrutiny here, the Bucs have narrowly defeated some of the NFL’s cellar dwellers. They have beaten the Browns, Bengals, Rams and Cardinals by a margin of three points or less. They have yet to step up against top tier team and haven’t defeated a team with a winning record. Their losses have come against the Steelers (without Ben Roethlisberger), the Saints and the Falcons.
- 12th man – The Bucs come north to a stadium full of 77,000 screaming fans in purple, they aren’t even used to having a sell out at home. This young team, led by a 22 year old quarterback, Josh Freeman, aren’t ready for what this crowd is going to bring.
- The power of the turnover – A third of the Buccaneers points have come off turnovers this season according to this post by Jamison Hensley. Fortunately for the Ravens, Joe Flacco hasn’t thrown an interception at home this season.
- Silence the critics – After the weeklong drama fest created by the spat that Joe Flacco and Derrick Mason had in last Sunday’s game versus the Panthers, fantasy owners should be sure to pick up Derrick Mason in a big game to silence the talk. Fans and experts have also been critical of the Ravens lackluster play this season. I would expect a big game from this team, it’s just the way the NFL works.