Third and Long: Win or Go Home

jackson-rivers-ap

Tonight’s game in Los Angeles is the most important one of the Ravens season. A loss against the Chargers and the team most likely misses the playoffs for yet another year. A win could have them atop the AFC North if the Steelers fall to the Saints this weekend. That small margin for error has been typical for the team the past few campaigns and most times they’ve come up short.

Can they prove that they aren’t the same old Ravens?

It remains to be seen but they’ve shown that they can hang with the top teams in the AFC for much of 2018 and I feel that the toughest test is in the Chargers who have an explosive offense and an emerging defense that could prove harder to beat traveling West on a short week.

The mission is simple; win or go home.

  1. Premature Extension? – It was announced yesterday that John Harbaugh would get an extension to coach in Baltimore not only in 2019 but beyond. The announcement seems curious as many felt that if the team missed the playoffs again Harbaugh would be shown the door. Since the Super Bowl title Harbaugh has gone 48-46 and the Ravens haven’t won a division title. However he has rallied the team since the Bye week and with the insertion of rookie Lamar Jackson under center changed the offense and the playoff fortunes of the purple. Still I feel that extension is premature, this team could still finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs and I’m not sure what announcing this decision does for you. I’m aware that he’d be picked up by a host of teams but its about results and his teams haven’t achieved. Some of that can be placed on the front office as many top picks didn’t pan out but you could also say that the coaching staff didn’t develop them either. Another important point is that Harbaugh hasn’t lost the locker room and he appears to have the full support of his players which I do think is important. We will see if the decision affects the players in any way over the next two weeks.
  2. Pro Bowl Controversy– So what else is new? Any time fans are in the mix to choose the league’s best there will always be discussion over those that got snubbed. Justin Tucker is a first alternate but he should be automatic almost every season. Marlon Humphrey is proving to be an elite defender at the corner spot and was deserving of some love. Ronnie Stanley has quietly improved but I’m not totally sure he deserved to get in but he did get a second alternate spot. As far as the game goes I think it shouldn’t be played. It’s a glorified seven on seven anyway. Give the most deserving players the accolades but don’t put them in a situation to get injured.
  3. What to watch – Each of the past three meetings between these two teams has been decided by a score in the last 90 seconds in regulation or overtime. I still have fond memories of Ray Lewis roaring across the line to stuff the Chargers on fourth down. The Chargers O-line has been leaky in pass protection lately as Phillip Rivers has been sacked multiple times in the past five straight including giving up five to Kansas City last week. So pressuring the rejuvenated Rivers will be important. The Ravens rushing attack has been wearing down defenses with the duo of Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards. They are averaging a  league best 230 rushing yards per game, which is 70 more than second-place.

Legend of the Game

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Bart Scott

Years as a Raven (2002-2008) – Linebacker

Scott was picked up by Baltimore as an undrafted free agent in 2002 and was mainly a Special Teams player for his first three seasons. Scott got his chance on defense in 2005 when Ray Lewis was out with a hamstring injury. He finished the year with 116 tackles and signed a three-year extension. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and was named second team All-Pro that same year. In 2009 the Ravens and Jets both vied for his services but Scott chose New York and a chance to reunite with Rex Ryan. He finished out his career in 2013.

Goodnight sweet prince.

 

Game-Time Playlist

“Going back to Cali, styling, profiling
Growling, and smiling, while in the sun
The top is down, on the black Corvette
And it’s fly, cause it’s sitting on Dayton’s”

The Ravens are traveling so it makes sense.

Game-Time Snack of the week

rolls

Vegetable Spring Rolls

RECIPE

Not sure why but I was feeling like a healthier option this week.

Happy Football everyone!

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