Welcome to Overreaction Of The Week, my over the top, uninhibited, Baltimore sports-fan takes on this week’s Ravens activity.
The Baltimore Ravens absolutely dismantled the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 and will look to build on that success Thursday night at the Cincinnati Bengals. Nearly everything went the Ravens way, which a few exceptions which I’ll blame on the weather conditions. What will they have to do to move to 2-0?
There is a lot to cover from this game, so I’m going to go NASCAR style through my thoughts:
- The Ravens offense looked really clean, surprisingly so, except for about 3 snaps on Sunday. The offense fired on all cylinders from the first snap, and the drive resulted in a nice touchdown run by Alex Collins. He had a lot of help from Ronnie Stanley.
- The Tight Ends were more effective that I thought they would be. Nick Boyle and Mark Andrews (from now on, he’ll be known as Mandrews) were active and involved in the passing game early on, serving as more than just a safety valve like I thought they would. It is nice to see Mandrews stack back to back quality games, dating back to the preseason. The group should be even better with Hayden Hurst added back to the mix.
- The three veterans at wide receiver had three things in common on Sunday: none wore gloves, they all caught a touchdown pass from Joe Flacco, and none of them topped 50 yards on the game. I think the last piece is a testament to how the Ravens were able to spread the ball around and hurt you with a lot of different people.
- Lamar Jackson does add a wrinkle to the offense while Flacco is out there, but there wasn’t much production on those gimmick plays. As the team, especially the offensive line, gets more experience in those packages, look for those plays to be much more dynamic.
- The one disappointment on the offensive side was Alex Collins. While he did rush for a touchdown, he fumbled while he was fighting for extra yards. Yes the conditions were bad and yes a lot of fumbles occur when the runner is fighting for more yards, but it could be concerning for a player who began his career with severe fumbling problems.
- The three snaps I referred to were 3 fumbles, though the Ravens only lost 1. Both Flacco and Jackson fumbled and got the ball back, but Collins lost his. Blame it on the conditions, but the Ravens will be bound to lose more fumbles if the trend continues.
- The Ravens defense was even better than the offense. Every level of the defense was successful in many facets of the game. LeSean McCoy never got much space to run, Za’Darius Smith was all over the field, Kenny Young shed his knee injury and showed exactly why the Ravens drafted him, Tavon Young proved he can be effective in a couple different ways, and Tony Jefferson had a solid game overall. He added a thunderous hit to his interception, it’s great to see him do both for this defense.
- I did get a prediction right, Tim Williams notched his first career sack. I also predicted that Marlon Humphrey and Eric Weddle would record interceptions, but it was their counterparts, Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson, that did so. I’ll give myself partial credit on that one.
- Sam Koch is a beast. Justin Tucker was automatic. Janarion Grant had a bad, bad fumble but showed why he’s on the roster with his big time return. That being said, he’ll need to secure the ball to secure his job.
- The one disappointment on defense may be Matthew Judon. Everyone had very high expectations for him and I don’t think he lived up to them even when he had the opportunity against a vulnerable Bills offensive line.
The Ravens will have a much bigger challenge with AJ Green, Joe Mixon, John Ross, and Tyler Eifert looming. Shaky as Andy Dalton may be, he poses a much greater threat than either Nathan Peterman or Josh Allen (at least for now on him). The Bengals front 7 is pretty darn good, so establishing the run will be difficult but very important. Rather than a rain-ugly game, it’ll be a classic AFC North-ugly game. I expect a slight let down, it’s hard to back up a 44 point win. Joe Flacco doesn’t play well in Cincinnati, so I’m expecting a couple interceptions, but for him to make just enough plays to win. The Bengals will have the ball late, with an opportunity to hit AJ Green for a long ball for a win, but the secondary will finally be able to knock it down. The Ravens will move to 2-0 and atop the AFC North. Ravens 20, Bengals 16.
Shameless Plug Alert: BSR is launching a new podcast, Crab Takes and Football, to give even more coverage of the Ravens. The podcast will be hosted by yours truly and another BSR contributor, Andrew Holly. We’ll be giving a fan’s view on the Ravens previous game and looking ahead to their next matchup. We’ll have some exciting segments and guests in each episode, so be sure to check us out every Tuesday/Wednesday. We’ll be available on iTunes and would love for you to check us out, join us for the 2018 season, and hear your feedback. Be sure to Subscribe and follow @BalSportsReport and @itssocontejus for updates along the way.