After a huge win Monday night against the Houston Texans, the Ravens are looking to continue their chase for that final wild card spot. Monday night’s victory was a major confidence booster and it showed that the Ravens are capable of stringing together wins, even if their offense is one of the worst in the league. The defense put together another dominating performance, forcing three more turnovers, two of which were interceptions, pushing the Ravens to a league leading eighteen picks.
By winning a third straight game and moving to 7-5 the Ravens, will continue to be on the path to the playoffs.
Continue to Stay Aggressive
One of the key turning points in Monday night’s game against Houston was the ‘Tom Brady’ esque throw to Chris Moore by punter Sam Koch. The fake punt extended a much needed scoring drive, in which the Ravens capitalized with a Javorious Allen touchdown run with a little help from his teammates. On another fourth down the Ravens faked the hand off to Allen and pithed it to the outside where Collins had nothing, but green in front of him. This fourth down conversion also led to a touchdown run, this time by Collins. Coach Harbaugh has been known to go for it on fourth down, especially in short yardage situations. This season the ravens have gone for it on fourth down twelve times, converting eight of their chances. Taking the chance and succeeding can change a game, as it did against Houston. Harbaugh and the Ravens should remain aggressive and continue to risk it on fourth down. Considering how terrible this offense is, the Ravens need to use every opportunity at their disposal to score.
Come Out Firing
Once again the Ravens showed just how vanilla this passing attack is, this time on National television. Throwing for only 155 yards against the leagues eighteenth best defense in Houston. The Texans allow 244 passing yards per game, which ranks twenty-fourth in the league. With weapons like Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Ben Watson, and Danny Woodhead this team should have been able to easily trot up and down the field. But the lack of explosive play calling and the inconsistent play of the offensive line spelled a recipe for another bland passing performance. This week and every other week ahead, offensive coordinator Marty Morhninweg, quarterback Joe Flacco, and the rest of the offense needs to come straight out the gate and take the top off of the opposing secondary. Scoring first and fast has boded well for the Ravens. In games where the Ravens have held the lead after the first quarter, they are 5-0. Take a couple shots deep or some long crossing patterns over the middle and give this offense a boost of energy right from the jump, against the NFL’s twenty-third ranked passing defense in the Detroit Lions.
One Problem With the Defense
This Ravens defensive unit is the best since the 2012 season. They are a ball hawking, hard hitting, quarterback attacking squad that has no quit in them. However, the one problem is their tendency to allow big plays, specifically in the passing game. Multiple times their has been a blown coverage somewhere, which leads to a wide open alley for a deep ball. These chunk yardage plays have yet to hurt the defense to much thus far, but stopping them now will not allow for a huge play in a pivotal moment. Whether it is a miscommunication between the unit or just a blown assignment, they should look to clean it up for this massive playoff push. I know I am be nitpicky, but many of the playoff teams have weapons that we can not afford to lose control of because of missed assignments. This defensive squad has already shown that it is special. Cleaning up their one fault could allow them to be dubbed as one of the best Ravens’ defenses in the franchises history, if they are not already.
Momentum is a beautiful thing, and the Ravens seem to be gaining some at the most opportune time possible.
Game Prediction: Ravens 31, Lions 16