Third and Long: Saints Go Marching In

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It’s week seven in the NFL and the Ravens are sitting at 4-2, which is excellent considering that 4 of those 6 games were on the road. Finally back home they welcome the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees who is having a MVP type season so far. The wily vet has yet to be intercepted this season and takes on a Baltimore defense that just shutout the Titans in Nashville.

Of course something has to give. The unstoppable force and the immovable object. Brees has never beaten the Ravens!!!!! Blah, Blah, Blah.

Let’s get to it.

  1. North Strong- Before the Browns fell to the Chargers on Sunday every team in the division had a winning record. The regular season isn’t quite half over but the race to the playoffs is going to be a tough one. The Steelers have won two straight after getting thumped by Baltimore and while the Browns are 2-3-1 everyone is well aware that they are a much improved club. Still the Ravens are sitting in a strong position tied with the Bengals. It’s probably the team’s best start since 2014 and with the schedule flipping to be much more home friendly in the second half of the year, which includes all three of their divisional opponents, you have to at least like there chances to return to the post-season. Let’s add the fact, not to jinx it, that the Ravens are exceptionally healthy right now with only Alex Lewis unlikely to play on Sunday. There’s still plenty of work to do but right now things are good, things are good.
  2. Z Marks the Spot- Za’Darius Smith has taken a huge leap forward this season and last week in Tennessee he led the team with five tackles and three sacks. His efforts earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week and many pundits feel he’ll earn a huge payday next year if he hits the open market. That may be true because of how teams value pass rushing ability but I could hardly care about that right now. Smith has become a disruptive force and currently has more combined hits, sacks, and hurries than Von Miller. He’s been a solid bookend to ageless wonder Terrell Suggs who still is playing at a high level on the other side.
  3. Players to Watch– Last week (Collins 19/54 2 TDs, Z. Smith 5 Tackles, 3 Sacks) This week most people will be looking for Willie Snead IV to gain some revenge on his former team but I’d look at John Brown to have a huge game. Brown’s been stretching defenses most of the season and is among tops in the league in yards per catch. On defense CJ Mosley will need to do his best in coverage watching crossing routes and the dangerous Alvin Kamara to keep the Saints offense in check.

Legend of the Game

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Jarret Johnson

Outside Linebacker

Played for Ravens (2003-2011)

Johnson was a fourth-round pick out of Alabama in the 2003 Draft by Baltimore. He developed into  a “glue guy” on the defense for many years with his toughness and solid play. Before he left Baltimore in 2011 he had played in a team record 129 straight regular season games including 80 consecutive starts establishing a level of consistency that few could equal. After a few seasons in San Diego Johnson formally retired in February of 2015. In 2017 he returned to Baltimore to occasionally serve as a color analyst on many radio broadcasts.

Game Day Playlist – Song of the Week

“All I do is win win, win no matter what
Got money on my mind I can never get enough
And every time I step up in the buildin’
Everybody hands go up”

This 2010 song has been featured prominently among pop culture and sports teams everywhere. I can even remember a time when the Orioles would play this after a home victory…long ago.

Cousin Justin’s Betting Parlor

Six weeks, Six wins.

I was proven correct as the Norse gods beat up a really bad Cardinals team last week. This week it took me a while to make my selection, all things considered.

So who did I pick?

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I hate, hate, hate, hate picking games where division teams play each other. But this week all signs point to a Niners loss. The Rams are a ten point fav on the road and most oddsmakers and stat nerds have San Fran’s odds of victory at twenty percent. The pick is in. If the Rams are monumentally upset this week I’ll blame myself going against my own rules.

Game-Time Snack of the Week

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Mini Meatball Sandwiches

Alton Brown is a fussy man when it comes to food. It’s hard for me to dislike a cook who wants to create the ultimate sensory experience but I’d sub out a few things in the recipe to make it easier to make. One would be using Pillsbury biscuits instead of scratch making them.

RECIPE

Happy Football everyone! Go Ravens!

 

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