Week 3: Baltimore Ravens at St. Louis Rams
Sunday September 25, 2011 4:05 PM
Line: Ravens -4 O/U 41
Last week we posed the question as to whether the Ravens would come out strong, or collapse in an epic let down. Well, they collapsed in an epic let down. Tennessee came ready to play and executed a well thought out game plan. The Ravens largely decided to stay on the plane. Can they rebound quickly to knock off the injury depleted Rams? Only time will tell. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s keys to the game.
RavensGab.com Keys to the Game
Protect Joe Flacco
After a stellar performance in week one, the Ravens’ offensive line was simply putrid in week two. They looked, slow, tired, and disjointed. Joe was scrambling for his life all day long and it paid off for the Titans. Once the Tennessee defense keyed in on Mark LeVoir it was all over. To win this week in St. Louis the line is simply going to have to do a better job in protecting Joe.
Run the No Huddle
Part of what made the Ravens so efficient against the Steelers was the rapid play calling. It wasn’t quite the no huddle but it was pretty damn fast. The Ravens got away from that in week two and just looked slow, and plodding. It seemed as if they were always a step behind. In order to get back to form and knock off the Rams, they’re going to have to push the tempo again. I know it’s not easy to do in a dome, but the Ravens have got to find a way.
Sugar-coating nothing here, the Ravens corners were simply terrible last week. They were beaten badly, consistently, and made to look like amateurs more often than not. I know there are injuries all up and down the unit, but they have got to find a way to pull it together. Beating the Rams starts with shutting down the passing game. Don’t let Mike Sims-Walker be this week’s Kenny Britt.
Contain the Run
If he plays, Steven Jackson is as good a runner as there is in the league. If the Ravens can contain Bradford through the air, they should be well set to contain Jackson on the ground. If not, they could be in for a long day against a solid runner who has the ability to shred defenses. Although they responded well against Chris Johnson, the Ravens still gave up a good amount of yards to Rashard Mendenhall in week one.
Get those Sacks
A big factor in Tennessee’s victory was the lack of pressure the Ravens put on Matt Hasselbeck. The Titans avoided the Ravens’ blitz by getting the ball out quickly and exposing the poor coverage. If the Ravens are to avoid the same fate, they need to beat the Rams at the line and get after Sam Bradford. Give him time to throw and he’s going to hurt you badly.
Ravens Gab Predictions
Jonathon Scruggs (1-1)
I give the Rams enough credit to stay in this game until the very end, but I think ultimately the Ravens will have what it takes to edge out a victory. After all the Rams are just as injury depleted as Baltimore, and are coming off a six day week.
Ravens 27 — Rams 20
Matt Jergensen (0-2)
The Ravens will play with greater intensity this week but I still have questions about the offense. With Lee Evans out for this one I’m wondering who will step up this week? If the Ravens have trouble running the ball the offense will struggle – badly. However I think they find a way to win and are able to take advantage of the Rams injuries and short week.
Ravens 17 – Rams 13
Gene Winner (1-1)
The Ravens have to do one thing and that is to stay aggressive on both sides of the ball. Look for the offense to get Ray Rice going. And you can expect Pagano’s defense to blitz young Qb Bradford. The Rams are a talented team, but injuries lessen their chances
Ravens 27 – Rams 17