View From Afar: Ravens Battling Minnesota Sunday, Thoughts On Tomlin & Jones

The NFL's leading rusher in 2013

The NFL’s leading rusher in 2013

This week in the Ravens’ 2013 playoff push brings us the somewhat hapless Minnesota Vikings.

The 3-8-1 Vikings are certainly a flawed team, but they will provide some interesting tests for the Ravens both on offense and defense.

Test numero uno, of course, will be whether the Ravens can stop Adrian Peterson. My guess would be no.

As well as the Raven defense can play against the run, there have also been lapses throughout the season, most notably against the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell. Peterson is simply awesome and while he may not have a monster outing, I think you can put 100 yards and at least one score in the books for AP.

Test numero dos is Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen. Allen has been held to only 1.5 sacks over his last five games, but don’t let that fool you. Allen can still be a force and the Raven offensive line, while playing a little bit better recently, still doesn’t provide much confidence. It’s time for Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher to prove their worth and keep Allen looking for sack number seven on the year.

Tom(lin)-Turkey

Courtesy: baltimoresun.com

Courtesy: baltimoresun.com

It’s been a little over a week now, since the Mike Tomlin sideline incident. Intent has been speculated ad nauseam, apologies have been offered, and a fine has been levied.

Did the punishment fit the crime? I guess so. I would have preferred to see a flag on the play and a touchdown awarded, but that not being the case, $100k will have to suffice.

All in all, I actually like Mike Tomlin. As much as I despise the Steelers, it has been hard over the years to not like their coach. For all intents and purposes, he seems like the guy you’d want leading your team. He’s hard-nosed, fiery, and usually has great quotes about being tough, physical, etc.

With that said, I was more than disappointed to see his actions on Thanksgiving. After watching all the different replay angles, I also have a hard time believing there wasn’t intent to disrupt Jacoby Jones’ return. Tomlin was watching the play on the video board and obviously moved himself over closer to the field of play.

How plays like that aren’t reviewable is beyond me, but I have a feeling Ozzie Newsome and company will be lobbying the Rules Committee about some changes in the offseason.

Speaking of Jacoby Jones…

jonesOn May 8, 2012, I’d imagine there weren’t too many Ravens fans that were totally jacked about Jacoby Jones signing a two-year, $7-million deal to play in Baltimore. Sure, Jones was a nice return man and an acceptable number three wide receiver, but a difference maker in his years with the Texans? Not really.

Flash forward two seasons and Jones has become a huge ingredient to the Ravens’ offensive success. Both as a deep threat and sparking the team with long kick returns, the last two wins have been in large part due to Jones making plays.

With the running game still lacking any consistent punch and Torrey Smith becoming a larger focus of opposing defenses, the Raven offense is going to need to see more of the same from Jones the remainder of the season. If Jones can continue to provide a consistent threat and make defenses loosen up coverage on Smith’s side of the field, you would imagine only good things could come of it.

These last four regular season (and any potential Playoff) games will be huge for Jones. He is in a contract year and it will be interesting to see whether he will get a new contract from the Ravens. I’d say he’s been better than expected and was a HUGE part of last year’s Super Bowl Championship.

For Ravens fans the hope has to be that Jones will be in for a big payday during the offseason, since when Jones makes big plays that usually means wins for Baltimore.

Andrew Holly is a Towson University grad and a diehard fan of everything Baltimore, especially the Ravens and Orioles. Now living in Tampa, Andrew hopes to provide BSR readers with the perspective of an out of town fan who doesn’t conform to the narrative of local sports talk.