Opening week for the Ravens couldn’t have gone any better if you’d had booked it like a WWE pay per-view. A 47-3 pummeling of the Buffalo Bills that showcased an explosive offense, an elite Joe Flacco, and a swarming, unforgiving defense that couldn’t help put a smile on the face of even the most guarded Ravens supporter.
Simply put the good times rolled last Sunday in Charm City.
No time to rest though as the turnaround to week two is quick as Thursday Night Football approaches as the Ravens travel to Cincinnati to begin divisional play.
Well, I guess I better get to it.
- Organized Chaos – So much went right for Baltimore last week but perhaps the biggest takeaway from Sunday’s win for me was a return to an aggressive defensive scheme. The Bills registered zero first downs in the first half. The Bills didn’t score in the first half. The Bills mustered a measly 33 yards offense by halftime which was the second lowest all-time by a Ravens defense. Buffalo was simply overmatched as Baltimore sacked the quarterback seemingly at will and forced Nathan Peterman into poor throws. It was a dominant performance. Certainly it’s only one game and these new-look Bills don’t look to be a playoff contender this season even after only a single contest. As T-Sizzle stated after the game,“It’s one game. We’ve got 15 more. You can’t tell anything by the first game. Y’all know, the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. Nobody’s going to the Super Bowl, playoffs, anything after this game. We got one in the can. It’s a good win.” The elder statesman is right of course however, I’m just a fan and I can get as excited about this as I want. I can try to make the connection to glory days when purple clad bodies would fly to the ball and wreak havoc on opposing offenses on a regular basis. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
- TNF – NFL Thursday Night Football is awful. Terrible. Awful and unnecessary. Pick a negative adjective, any one you like and that sums up my feelings. I’m not talking about Turkey Day since football on Thanksgiving has long been an established part of American culture and tradition. I’m talking about the abomination that started last week. Sure everyone’s ready for real football after a pre-season that’s already way too long. But the decision is short sighted and while it earns the league more cash it puts players in jeopardy of injury and the product on the field suffers because of it. Players hate it and with good reason. When you take the time to break down how a week of preparation and recovery unfolds then you can fully understand why players are so against it. It’s really a minor miracle that there aren’t more injuries that are caused because of the short week. I know that this is wasted energy on my part because as long as money is flowing in owners aren’t changing anything. That goes for a shortened pre-season as well. But maybe just maybe if fans continue to hit the owners in their wallets with attendance dips and ratings falling on Thursday nights then perhaps they will rethink their position.
- Players to Watch– Last week (Snead – 6 targets, 4 catches, 49 yards, 1 TD) (Humphrey – 2 tackles, 4 passes defensed) On offense the all-world lineman Marshal Yanda will need to have a stellar game. If there was one complaint from last week it’s that the running game didn’t ever really get going. The now injured (shocker) Kenneth Dixon led the way with a paltry 44 yards on the ground while Alex Collins was held to under two yards a carry. It won’t get any easier playing a pretty stout Bengals front seven. On defense I’d say Za’Darius Smith needs to post a similar game as he did against Buffalo. He filled the stat sheet as co-leader in tackles with 5, 2 of which were for a loss. He also notched a sack and a deflection. The pass rush overall was much improved and the Ravens seem to boast several players to can cause pressure. Andy Dalton poses a stiffer test than either of the Bills signal callers but if you get in his face he will struggle.
Legend of the Game
Played for the Ravens (1999-2006)
Mulitalo was a 10-year professional and was drafted in the 4th round in the 1999 NFL draft. He earned a Super Bowl ring the 2000 club and formed an impenetrable duo with Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden on the left side of the line. The affable Samoan quickly became a crowd favorite due to his physical play in helping open holes for Baltimore potent rushing attack. Today he is still active in football and in March of 2018 he was named head coach at Southern Virginia University.
Game Day Playlist – Song of the Week
“I’m the one that you’ve been raven about, like Ray Lewis
I think it hard to go and change your route
Cause you don’t know if I’m blitzin’ or if I’m sittin’ and readin’
Waitin’ for you to go and trip, drop back and throw up a brick, man”
This week’s selection was pretty easy for me. I like this song not only because it mentions Hall of Famer Ray Lewis but much of the beat is taken from John Tesh’s Roundball Rock, which was the theme for NBC’s coverage of the NBA for more than twenty years. You’ll start humming right along, just give it some time.
COUSIN JUSTIN’S BETTING PARLOR
I came out looking pretty good after week one going full on homer with my first selection. I can’t say as much for my competitors as thirteen players were knocked out from the contest. Needless to say ties count as losses and I’m always wary of picking teams who are playing a division rival. (right New Orleans) So, who am I picking this week?
My feeling is that the most popular picks this week should be the Rams, Chargers and the Saints even though the latter already let people down in week one. These might be the safest picks on paper but I’ve got different reasons why I won’t go with them here. There is a strong possibility I may swap out my current selection for the Washington Redskins who upset the Cards who were expected to be an improved team in 2018. I would also need to get over my general disdain for picking a Washington team to win anything especially when money is on the line. I could do it though. So for now, I go with Jimmy G’s Niners who host the Lions who were utterly spanked by the J-E-T-S on Monday Night. San Fran is similar to the Skins here but perhaps a slightly safer pick in my eyes.
GAME TIME FOOD OF THE WEEK
TATER TOT GRILLED CHEESE
Simple. Delicious. Genius.
This recipe is embarrassingly simple. Once completed though you can kick it up a multitude of ways. Add anything you like really. And yes I do actually make this food and eat it.
Happy Football everyone! Go Ravens!