2010 December » Michael Oher - Tennessee Titans

Monthly Archive: December 2010

Dec 31

Who’s Playing, Who’s Not vs Bengals

T. Heap feels good about playing, E. Reed is probable but D. Reed’s wrist is questionable.

Dec 31

‘Freakish’ Dunlap Racking Up Sacks

Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap came up under Greg Mattison at Florida.

Dec 31

NFL Spreads Week 17: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have already clinched a third straight trip to the postseason, but they can still win the AFC North and earn a first-round bye with a little help.

All the Cincinnati Bengals are playing for is pride, something they showed plenty of last week when they knocked San Diego out of the playoffs.

Cincinnati is going for its third straight win over the Ravens, but NFL oddsmakers expect Baltimore to end the skid.

They have listed the Ravens as a 9.5-point favorite with the total set at 43.

Baltimore is tied with Pittsburgh for first place in the AFC North, but the Steelers hold the tiebreaker with a better division record. The Ravens can still capture the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and a Pittsburgh loss at Cleveland.

The Steelers have won 13 of their last 14 against the Browns, but they did lose at Cleveland last season.

With a chance to earn the division title, coach John Harbaugh plans on playing his regulars. Even if Pittsburgh takes care of business, Harbaugh believes his team will benefit from entering the postseason with momentum on its side.

Motivation should not be an issue for Baltimore, as it looks to bring a three-game losing streak for Cincinnati to an end.

Future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, who was selected to his 11th Pro Bowl, put it this way: “The only thing you can ask for in this business is to get in the dance,” said Lewis. “Now we have to take care of our business against Cincinnati, a team that beat us earlier in the year, a team in our division.”

While Lewis figures to do his part, the Ravens will need a much better game from quarterback Joe Flacco if they are going to beat Cincy this time around. In their 15-10 loss on September 19, Flacco threw for 154 yards with four interceptions.

The third-year signal-caller has put that game far behind him, throwing 20 touchdown strikes and only three interceptions in his last 10 starts.

It also won’t hurt that Baltimore is playing this one at home, where it is 6-1 this season. 

Keep in mind that the Ravens are 45-21-1 against the spread in their last 67 home games as a favorite.

While Baltimore is 6-1 at home, Cincinnati is just 1-6 on the road. However, it enters Sunday’s contest with plenty of momentum following back-to-back wins against Cleveland and San Diego.

Even a win Sunday won’t heal the wounds of a hugely disappointing campaign.

The Bengals won the AFC North in 2009 and had big plans in 2010 after adding Terrell Owens to a receiving corps already featuring Chad Ochocinco. Interestingly enough, quarterback Carson Palmer had his best game of the season last week with both players out and against the best defense in the NFL.

He threw for 269 yards with four touchdowns for a career-best quarterback rating of 157.2. He’ll likely need to produce a similar performance for the Bengals to come out on top Sunday.

It is worth noting that the underdog is 5-1 against the spread in the last six meetings.

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Read more Baltimore Ravens news on BleacherReport.com

Dec 31

NFL Odds Show Baltimore Ravens 10-Point Favorites Over Cincinnati Bengals Sunday

The Baltimore Ravens will look to avenge a Week 2 loss when they host the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. The Ravens have already locked themselves into the postseason, but a win this week and a Steelers loss at Cleveland would give Baltimore the No. 2 seed and a first round bye.

The Bengals haven’t seemed to give up on a miserable season, as they head into the final week of the season off two straight wins, including an impressive 34-20 win over the Chargers last week. Cincinnati beat Baltimore 15-10 earlier this season, but a lot has changed since that game. If you are thinking about betting on the game this weekend, the current NFL odds have the Ravens favored by 10-points over the Bengals at home.

 

Cincinnati (4-11)

It’s hard to remember that the Bengals won the AFC North last season after the way they have played this season. Head coach Marvin Lewis could very well be coaching his final game with the Bengals, as many believe he won’t be kept regardless if the Bengals beat the Ravens and end the season on a three game winning streak.

The Bengals went out this past offseason and added wide out Terrell Owens in hopes of forming a dynamic duo with Chad Ochocinco, but it really never lived up to its hype. A big reason for that has been the play of quarterback Carson Palmer and the struggles of running back Cedric Benson.

However, last week in the Bengals’ win over the Chargers, Palmer was without both Owens and Ochocinco and put up his best game of the season, throwing for 269 yards and four touchdowns.  While Owens has been placed on IR, it’s unclear whether Ochocinco will be able to go.

The Bengals defense really played well against the Ravens the first time around, forcing Joe Flacco into four interceptions and holding the Ravens offense to just 259 yards of total offense. If the defense can step up again this time around, don’t be surprised to see the Bengals make a game of it.

 

Baltimore (11-4)

The Ravens have stated that they are going to play their starters and come out and try to win this game, as they want to finish the season and head into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak. I think it’s the right move, as I wouldn’t count the Steelers as a lock to win this week against the Browns.

You have to expect a much better game out of Flacco and the Ravens offense this time around, as the Ravens have scored at least 20 points in each of their last three games. Ray Rice ran for 87 yards and caught 4 passes for 30 yards against the Bengals earlier this season, and I thin you can expect Baltimore to try and get Rice going early in this one, as it will only open up the passing lanes for Flacco.

The Ravens defense did a great job holding the Bengals to just five field goals in the first meeting, but it will be interesting to see how they do against a Bengals passing game that looked as good as it has all season last week. Baltimore has had its struggles against the pass at times this season, and I think the key will be getting pressure on Palmer and forcing him into making some early mistakes.

 

Looking at the Odds

I think the Bengals’ win over the Chargers will have a lot of people jumping on them this week, especially since they are getting 10 points, but I think Baltimore is the play in this one. Not only are the Ravens playing for a chance to get a first round bye, they likely aren’t all that happy after what Cincinnati did to them earlier this season. My final score prediction is Baltimore 28, Cincinnati 13.


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Read more Baltimore Ravens news on BleacherReport.com

Dec 31

Cam Looking To Get Boldin Open

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin has seen fewer receptions this season and lots of coverage.

Dec 31

Late for Work 12/31: Ravens Scoreboard-Watching Guide

Plus Meriweather’s reduced fine for his hit on Heap and the end of T.Ocho’s days in Cincy?

Dec 31

Late for Work 12/31: Ravens Scoreboard-Watching Guide

Plus Meriweather’s reduced fine for his hit on Heap and the end of T.Ocho’s days in Cincy?

Dec 30

Peyton’s Place: Not Where Baltimore Ravens Fans Want To Spend Wild Card Weekend

How big does that play call against the Steelers on Sunday night football look now Ravens fans? As a fan of the purple and black and knowing the ramifications today more than that night, I think I’m more disgusted about it today than I was when it happened.

Many will probably say there were many plays you could point to this season to say the Ravens cost themselves a shot at a division title and a bye. While true, none of them come to mind like this one does. Since then, the Ravens have yet to lose a game.

So for me it’s the strip sack fumble by Troy Polamalu on 2nd-and-5 in Steelers’ territory with under three minutes to play that led to Pittsburgh’s subsequent game-winning touchdown.  A touchdown that cost the Ravens a shot at the division and bye week, an unnecessary arrogant play call led to this moment. It was a passing play that should have been a run, killing the clock.

A bye week for a banged up and aging defense like the Ravens have would have been a nice thing to have for a Super Bowl run. 

SUPER BOWL?! SUPER BOWL (queue Jim Mora Sr.’s press conference voice)?! The Ravens if everything holds will have to travel to Indianapolis to play Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Regardless of the Colts‘ struggles this year, they should be favored to win the game and not just because it’s in Indy.

Peyton Manning much like another nemesis from that Sunday night game in early December owns the Ravens. Manning may have struggled a time or two in 10 career games against the Ravens but, like Ben Roethlisberger, he always finds a way to beat Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

After losing his first two career games against Baltimore, Manning has won eight straight and hasn’t lost since December of 2001 to the Ravens.

The Ravens are 2-8 against Peyton Manning, including the playoffs, as John Harbaugh’s brother was the only other Colts QB to beat the Ravens. 

There has been a lot of heartbreak despite the fact that the regular season games haven’t been all that close. Manning’s Colts have outscored Ray and company 213-145. Peyton and the Colts offense puts an average of almost 27 points per game on the board against this Ravens defense.

Keep in mind this Ravens defense has been a top-five defense for most of the outgoing decade. Manning always seems to find the weakness and when he can’t the Ravens offense always shoots itself in the foot.

Take last year’s 17-15 loss in Baltimore. The Ravens had four red zone trips with no touchdowns. There was the heartbreak of Flacco’s red zone INT to Gary Brackett, then the failed lateral of an Ed Reed interception that allowed the Colts to keep the ball late in the game.

Peyton Manning is 6-2 in eight regular season contests. He has 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Manning’s QB rating is an unbelievable 106 against the Ravens defense in eight regular season contests.

If there is a glimmer of hope, it is in the postseason. Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense seem to win the battles but always end up losing the war.  Manning has just two touchdowns while throwing three interceptions, his rating is just a paltry 63.8 but his record is 2-0.

Back in the 2006 season, the Ravens thought they had their best chance to go back to the Super Bowl since winning it in 2000. They finished the regular season 13-3, won the division and earned a franchise first ever bye week.

Indianapolis defeated Kansas City in the wild card round the week before setting up a confident fan base and a Ravens team for a very long and hard fall.

What happened on that first Saturday in January of 2007 is still a talked about in and around Baltimore. The Colts came into Baltimore and stunned a Ravens team and the entire city of Baltimore by beating the Ravens 15-6.

Neither team scored a touchdown in the game. Five Adam Vinatieri field goals were enough to propel the Colts to victory. Indy would go onto win the Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl V when they were the Baltimore Colts.

Leaving M & T Bank Stadium that Saturday evening, you could literally hear a pin drop as well as sniffles and tears.

This year’s Colts team is banged up and if the two teams should meet, the Ravens do have a real chance to beat them in Indy. The better QB statistically so far this year will not have a horseshoe on his helmet.

Although Manning has thrown for more yards and TDs, he’s had to with his mash unit offense. Manning does not have a better TD to INT ratio or a better passer rating than Ravens third-year signal caller Joe Flacco.

In fact, Flacco has already accomplished something Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have not: Flacco has led his team to the playoffs for each of his first three seasons in the NFL.  

Flacco will need to step up and make some big time throws if the Ravens are to beat the Colts on the road. Flacco did not do this in last year’s playoff game, which the Colts won 20-3. Flacco threw for 189 yards with two interceptions while Manning threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns.

There is still this Sunday to play and a lot can happen to prevent this match-up from occurring next weekend. The Colts have yet to clinch a spot and host the Tennessee Titans this Sunday while Jacksonville travels to play Houston.  A Jacksonville win and a Colts loss and it could be the Jaguars the Ravens play.

Not likely to happen since Jacksonville has to start former Bills QB Trent Edwards because starting QB David Garrard is out and I don’t think Tennessee is going to beat Peyton Manning in Indy.

In what is a more likely but still highly improbable scenario, the Steelers could lose in Cleveland and if the Ravens win at home against Cincinnati the Ravens would win the division and get the bye.

Either way come playoff time the Colts will likely be an opponent and if John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis want to remove a monkey the size of a Mayflower truck off of their backs then they are going to have to beat the Indy Manning’s.

Many fans will say bring on Indy, we have to beat them eventually. I’d rather skip them if we can and I’m sure deep down inside most die-hard Ravens fans feel the same way.

It will be mentioned sometime during the next few weeks that the Ravens are the first Baltimore team making a third straight trip to the playoffs for the first time since the Baltimore colts did it in 1975, ’76 and ’77.

As a Ravens fan I hope that stat is shown in the winning minutes of the fourth quarter as the cameras pan to show Ray Lewis giving John Harbaugh a Gatorade shower—a game that is being played at M&T Bank Stadium two and half weeks from now.  

Read more Baltimore Ravens news on BleacherReport.com

Dec 30

Ocho Won’t Make Trip to Baltimore

Chad Ochocinco said he’s out for Sunday, while Ed Reed landed on the injury report.

Dec 30

Ravens On Pace For Team Turnover Record

The Ravens’ focus on ball security has them nearing a franchise-low for turnovers.

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