How hungry will the Ravens will be coming into week 3? Ravenous, you say? After that embarrassing 26-13 loss to the Titans the team from Baltimore will be eager to get back on the winning track.
The Rams are also wanting to be on that path to redemption after losing the first two games of the season. Especially last week’s game against the Giants – the Rams were well within reach and basically took themselves out of it. Eventually, they lost that match 16-28 on the road.
What the Rams need to do
I sound like a broken record but they really need to protect QB Sam Bradford better.
He needs more time in the pocket to find his receivers. If you look back on the Titans’ model they did a pretty good job of giving Matt Hasselbeck time to get the ball down field. Step it up O-line! You’ll have the Ravens LB duo of Ray Lewis and T-Sizzle (Terrell Suggs) and their DT Haloti Ngata breathing down your throat.
This will especially be important since it’s still up in the air whether RB Steven Jackson will be a go. I’m not convinced the Ravens are afraid of Cadillac Williams or Jerious Norwood to stack up the box to stop either of them. Last Sunday, the Ravens D was preoccupied in covering Titans RB Chris Johnson (24 carries for 53 yards) which opened up the flood gates for Matt Hasselbeck to launch it for 358 yards and 1 TD, 1 INT.
Eliminate the self-destructive behavior.
Can’t believe I’m quoting from “High School Musical” but “get your head in the game.” That means no more false starts (especially at home), illegal formations, dropped balls and other mental penalties. Oh and the play is not over until the whistle blows. I don’t want to see players just standing there. Ahem, Mr. Williams.
Score touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.
Spags and the coaches took extra practice time to emphasize the importance of the red zone offense (or lack there of in this case). Finish the drive with the TD and extra point guys.
One way to get this process going is to get WR Danario Alexander more involved in the offense. He only had three receptions but he pulled in 122 yards and a TD. BUT, the Rams have to be careful of the number of his snaps. They can’t wear out those delicate knees of his. I want to see other WR’s such as Mike Sims-Walker and Brandon Gibson to play bigger roles in the passing game.
Contain (as much as a defense can) Ravens star running back Ray Rice.
See, now this is where playing fantasy football conflicts with team loyalties. Ray Rice is my first round pick for one of my fantasy teams. I’ll need him to do well on the field but if that happens then the Rams will not fair well in the game.
Rams D has to bring lots of pressure on Ravens QB Joe Flacco. But this may be asking a lot of a very banged up secondary. This is where I have the most concern.
With WR Lee Evans ruled out for the game more emphasis could be going to WR Anquan Boldin. The Ravens will ask rookie WR Torrey Smith to step in for Evans.
The other question I have is whether third round WR Austin Pettis will be activated for the game. Kid has to be anxious and chomping at the bit to get his first regular season under his belt.
Who will win
I am going to be regrettably pessimistic and pick the Ravens to edge out the Rams 21-17 come Sunday at 3:05 p.m. Honestly, I just don’t have faith in the Rams secondary to hold their own as the rest of the D tries to stop Ravens RB Ray Rice.
And for the record, this pick has NOTHING to do with my fantasy team.
Not so secretly, I’ll hope that the Rams prove me wrong.