Third and Long: Duh, Winning!

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I wonder if anyone missed me last week?

I got busy with the usual pre-Christmas rush and family duties and couldn’t get a post up.

It’s strange though that I didn’t push harder to get some thoughts out ahead of the Ravens trip to Atlanta. As I thought more about it I think I was also suffering from debate fatigue. Everywhere you turn fans have divided themselves firmly into two camps.

Flacco or Jackson? Jackson or Flacco?

Unfortunately there’s been little room for nuance in this squabble. Like most subjects these days people entrench themselves with their opinion and one line of thinking and then defend it while disregarding any form of dissent. I guess it’s great to have such passion about a subject but I often look at things more simply. The team has just completed its first three-game winning streak of the season and appears rejuvenated on both sides of the ball as we head into December.

As a fanbase we should be excited. If the Ravens win a few more games they will return to the post-season. Instead I feel as if the quarterback controversy has taken over every aspect of fun and joy that comes from cheering for a team and it’s left me weary.

I shall overcome Ravens fans. I know why I watch. I know why I cheer. I know why I care. I just want to see the team I cheer for win games and if they win enough of them they get to play for the league championship.

Just keep winning baby.

  1. Jackson is the starter – Before the rookie took over the offense the team had lost three in a row, since then the team has won three in a row. Yes, I know wins aren’t a viable statistic, and his stats haven’t been fantasy worthy but the team is now headed to lock up a playoff berth. Would you have felt that confident about a spot in the playoffs a few weeks ago? The Ravens have found a formula that has energized the locker room. It’s allowed a run-heavy approach to appear unpredictable and electric and a top defense to remain fresh down the stretch to close out games. Now if Flacco is active and the Ravens get down a few scores then you bring in the Super Bowl winner in relief. His arm is more suited to a potential comeback than Lamar’s legs. For now thought it makes little sense to upset a good thing while it’s going.
  2. AFC North Title? – It’s still a possibility. The Ravens hold the second Wild Card spot, and are a half-game behind the Steelers. They essentially need to go 3-1 over the next four games, which means you must defend home turf (Buccaneers, Browns) and then grab a win on the road (Kansas City, San Diego). This weekend should be interesting since the Chiefs have a wretched defense that has a habit of giving up big plays. Right now according to ESPN, the Steelers have a 78% of wrapping up the North and have two games they “should” win against Oakland and Cincinnati and two tougher opponents in New England and New Orleans. Baltimore would need a little help in this scenario but who knows what will happen a we race to the post-season.
  3. Players to WatchLamar Jackson. Who else? Another road game against one of the top teams in the AFC. Will he be able to match Patrick Mahomes score for score? On defense the Ravens secondary has been a big part of the recent win streak but I’d like to see how the front seven can generate pressure to make the young Mahomes uncomfortable. Za’Darius Smith has had a solid campaign so far, we need another strong outing from him.

 

Legend of the Game

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Dawan Landry

Years as a Raven (2006-2010)

Strong Safety

Landry was selected by the Ravens in the fifth round in the 2006 NFL Draft. He earned a starting spot his first year next to future Hall of Famer Ed Reed. He was a stand out on the league’s #1 ranked Defense by collecting 69 tackles, 3 sacks, 6 passes defensed, and 5 interceptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. He suffered what could have been a potentially career-ending spinal concussion injury in 2008 and was replaced by Jim Leonhard. He recovered and posted a pair of excellent seasons notching 111 tackles in 2010. In 2011 he signed a five-year deal with Jacksonville and was released in 2013. He finished with the Jets in 2014. Landry was the prefect hard hitting complement to the ball hawking Reed at the back of the Baltimore secondary.

Game-Day Playlist – Song of the Week

“Knock knock, let the devil in, malevolent
As I’ve ever been, head is spinnin’ and this medicine
Screaming, “L-l-l-let us in”
L-l-lick like a salad bowl, Edgar Allen Poe
Bedridden, shoulda been dead a long time ago”

I watched Venom last week and critics be damned I enjoyed it. I couldn’t help but bounce to the end credits as M was spitting his usual foul lyrics as only he can. If this is a bit too intense feel free to check out the clean version.

Game Time Snack of the Week

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Cuban Griller

Sandwiches are super simple and super delicious if you have the right ingredients.

RECIPE

Happy Football everyone! Go Ravens!

 

 

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