Gridiron Gab Week Twelve Preview – Tampa Bay at Baltimore

Week 12: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday November 28, 2010 4:15 PM

Line: Ravens -8 O/U 41

It took roughly 52 minutes for it to happen,but the Ravens finally did what the good teams are supposed to do, put mediocre teams away with extreme prejudice. With Ray Lewis’ pick six, and Ed Reed’s lateral to Dawan Landry for a pick six as well, the Ravens defense finally came to the rescue and bailed out the offense, who after an early flurry, had begun to spin it’s wheels. Up until then, the Carolina Panthers were a little to close for comfort.

The Ravens have been spotty and inconsistent all season long. Despite their seemingly boundless potential, they have not been able to put together a complete game and have at often times look down right pedestrian. They have many holes, and if they’re going to make a legitimate run, they’ll have to fill them quickly. This week the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town and bring a stout 7-3 record with them. The Bucs will be ready to roll and eager to show the NFL that they’re a legit contender despite them not beating a team all season with a winning record.

RavensGab.com Keys to the Game

RUN! THE! BALL!

I’m going to keep this in here until the Ravens get it right and figure it out. The Buccaneers have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, but then again so did the Panthers, so did the Patriots, and so did the Bills, but for some reason, the Ravens have got it in their heads to be a pass first offense. It’s like watching a stubborn bull bash itself against a wall trying to get through. If the Ravens are going to make it deep into the playoffs they are going to have to start to establish a dominate run game. Do that and the pass attack will follow behind it.

Pass Smart

In what has been a constant theme this season, the Buccaneers are soft against the run, but oddly stout against the pass. The Bucs are currently sitting as the fifth ranked pass defense, and it’s been a major reason why they’ve managed to have success against the weaker teams. This reinforces two things, one the Ravens must, MUST, get the run going, and two, the Ravens have got to protect the ball and shorten their routes. Hit the quick strikes and move the ball down the field.

Protect Joe Flacco

The Ravens’ offensive line has been struggling the past few weeks. For whatever reason, they haven’t been giving Flacco the time he needs to get the ball down the field on Cam’s intermediate/long pass packages he’s been prone to running. If the Ravens are going to continue to have success, they need to give Joe time to allow his receivers to do what they do, i.e. double moves, head fakes, etc. He’s being rushed, and his pass catchers aren’t having enough time to run their routes properly.

Demoralize the Enemy

You want to know how to win this game easily? Get up early in the first quarter, and get up big. The Bucs are coming in riding a wave of confidence built upon a paper-tiger won/loss percentage. If you run up and smack them hard in the mouth, you’ll deflate their ego and render them ripe for the picking. The key to winning this game is absolute dominance. Do not allow them to believe they belong.

Play to Their Strength

The Ravens are a team that do a lot of things well but generally don’t do anything great. For them to win this game they will have to play to their strengths, recognize those things that they do well, and execute. Do this and it should be a short and enjoyable exercise leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday night. Fail to do this and the Ravens will likely surrender their lead atop the AFC North.

Ravens Gab Predictions

Jonathon Scruggs (8-2)

The Buccaneers have yet to beat a team with a winning record this season. If the Ravens are smart, play to their strengths, limit their weaknesses, and dominate the pace and play of the game, I don’t expect that will change.

Ravens 24— Buccaneers 17

Matt Jergensen (8-2)

The young Bucs have some players that could give the Ravens fits this Sunday. They are playing with a lot of confidence and have a defense that can turn you over. However they are team that has yet to be truly tested and when they have played playoff caliber squads they wilt under the heat. The Ravens haven’t lost a home game in a little over a year – that won’t change Sunday.

Ravens 24 – Buccaneers 20

Gene Winner (7-3)

Time for the Ravens to turn it a notch (play at a high level for 4 quarters) as they get ready for a stretch run for the playoffs. It starts first with Tampa Bay, a young and talented team. On defense the key will be containing the run. Offensively, it will be important to get out to an early lead and attack Tampa’s run defense with a heavy dose of Ray Rice

Ravens 27 – Buccaneers 17


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