Third and Long: Game of the Week

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It wasn’t perfect but Baltimore moved to 2-0 after fending off a late surge by Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. Lamar Jackson was in command for the second week straight but this time his legs were on full display rushing for 120 yards as well as tossing two touchdowns. This week the Ravens travel to Kansas City to set up a huge clash with the AFC powerhouse led by their own budding superstar in Patrick Mahomes. This will be a huge test for the purple and black to determine if they legitimately have a chance to unseat the Patriots as the top team in the American Conference. Most of the country will have the opportunity to watch the battle between two top teams. It’s a big game and big players show up when the lights are brightest.

  1. Need for Speed– Baltimore statistically has the top offense in the NFL producing 1,083 yards in two games. This is the third most yards an offense has gained in league history. Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews are both in the top ten among receiving yards leaders. Lamar Jackson became the first player in 100 years to throw for at least 250 yards and to rush for at least 120 in a regular season game. These numbers tell a story of an offense that is among the most potent among all teams and one of the main reasons for that is speed. For years fans have complained that the Ravens never seemed to have difference makers on the offensive side of the ball. That’s not the case anymore. Currently you have a unique athlete touching the ball every play in Jackson and the front office has surrounded him with players who can change a game based on their ability. Just look at the 3rd and 11 call from last week. Instead of playing it safe with three minutes left and asking your defense to hold on for a win, you go for the kill shot and let your best players show what they can do. That confidence isn’t just about the play caller it’s also about the confidence that elite players can give you. It’s early yes but those returns should have fans giddy about what this team is now capable of offensively.
  2. Rivalry renewed – Lamar Jackson took only one loss during the regular season and that was a 27-24 overtime loss to these same Chiefs last year. Now he returns with a high powered offense and a chip on his shoulder. He’s publicly stated that the defeat still bothers him and there’s still plenty of  people who aren’t sold on his recent success. There’s plenty of motivation heading into Arrowhead. However across the sideline will be another exciting world class quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. The numbers over the first two games in 2019 between the two are nearly identical; completion percentage, touchdowns, and passer rating. Regardless of Sunday’s outcome both teams seem to be destined to challenge New England. This weekend’s contest could also be the start of a long rivalry between these two exciting quarterbacks that could lead the league into the next decade. Tom Brady will retire one day. I have no idea when but he will and when he does the Patriots dominance will fade. Who will be the next team to take their place? It could be one of the two playing each other this weekend.
  3. Who to Watch– Mark Ingram, Justice Hill, and Gus Edwards will be a huge part of the game plan. Teams will continue to make Jackson beat them with his arm. Last week Arizona used that mindset and attempted to jam the middle. Ingram struggled but Jackson found the edge easily as he racked up 120 yards on the ground. Expect the run game to be featured to set up play-action and gain the edge in time of possession. On defense Earl Thomas is the key. Thomas said this during Wednesday’s presser, “Luckily the Ravens have me playing free safety, controlling the deep end, I plan on eliminating all the big plays.” That’s a bold statement. One that if the veteran can back up will result in a Baltimore victory.

Legend of the Game

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Adalius Thomas

Linebacker

Years as a Raven (2000-2006)

Thomas was drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Early on he competed for playing time Peter Boulware and Michael McCrary and due to his unique skills could play linebacker, defensive end or really anywhere that Defensive Coordinator wanted him to. He played all 16 games in 2001 mostly at the end position. In 2003, he was recognized for his Special Teams play with a Pro Bowl selection. He came into his own in 2004 when he became a full-time starter. He notched 75 tackles and 8 sacks as he moved to outside linebacker. He also saw some time at corner where he had two interceptions and forced three fumbles, three of those turnovers he returned for scores. Thomas earned his second Pro Bowl in 2006 in his finest season as a professional. He had 11 sacks and 106 tackles on a team that went 13-3. Unfortunately Thomas was signed away by the Patriots to a 5-year contract worth $35 million dollars. He finished his career in 2009.

Game-Time Song of the Week

“Now when I wrote graffiti my name was Slop
If my rap’s soup, my beats is stock
Step from the table when I start to chop
I’m a lumberjack DJ Adrock
If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked
I’ll stir fry you in my wok
Your knees’ll start shakin’ and your fingers pop
Like a pinch on the neck of Mr. Spock”

The Boys are known for their unique videos and fresh beats. This one is inspired by Godzilla films of the 70’s with a background of synth-futuristic robot fueled rap.

Cousin Justin’s Betting Parlor – Survivor Pool

The Ravens help me move on to Week Three. After close consideration maybe I’m overthinking this endeavor.

Who will I choose this week?

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K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid) Anyone who plays the Dolphins is a safe bet in this format.

Game-Time Snack of the Week

I’ve never been to Kansas City. It is renowned for its BBQ so it only makes sense that this week’s entry is inspired by the smoky flavors of one of my favorite types of food.

The man has a Doctorate in Barbeque, he seems qualified to me.

Happy Football! Go Ravens!

 

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