You can’t get much better than this. The first Monday Night Football game could be a foreshadow to an AFC Championship game this January. You have two of the top defenses in the NFL going at it; this won’t be a shootout, that’s for sure.
Offense: Advantage Ravens
From top to bottom, Ravens have a much better offense then the Jets. The recent signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the off-season trade for Anquan Boldin gives the Ravens the best one-two punch at wide receiver in a long time. Adding in Ray Rice at running back and Joe Flacco pulling the trigger gives the Ravens a much better offense then when they won the Super Bowl in 2000. Flacco is going into his third year where the quarterback should show the most promise on the field. He has all the weapons at his disposal to have a big year.
The Jets offense has looked horrendous in the preseason. I know its preseason and it doesn’t count but it’s not to take lightly. Mark Sanchez showed poor decision making on the field. The most disheartening thing is that they kept their starters in longer than normal just so they can try to get some rhythm going. This team will only go as far as Sanchez can take them. Management has put some pieces around him but it’s going to have to be Sanchez to make this offense move the chains. However, I think the organization has undervalued what Thomas Jones brought to this football team. It’s not going to be easy to replace his production.
Defense: Advantage Jets
Re-signing Darrelle Revis to a four year, $46 million contract makes the Jets the best defense in the league. Also, they have added Jason Taylor, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson to this defense. They did lose a great player in Calvin Pace for six weeks. It should be fun to watch the match ups between Revis and Boldin and Cromartie and Houshmandzadeh. Nonetheless this defense needs a productive offense to move the chains. I don’t care how good your defense is because everyone gets tired. If the offense consistently produces short drives or three-and-outs, the Jets will give up some points. Like they always say “a good offense is a good defense.”
It’s not like the Ravens have a horrible defense. They have a top five defense year in and year out. Its just the Jets have better overall talent on defense. Ravens lost one of the best safeties for six weeks, Ed Reed. The Ravens’ secondary is a little shaky and needs some upgrades. That’s why they traded for cornerback Josh Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. It’s not a huge upgrade but its an upgrade. This defense can protect its secondary if they can get consistent pass rush on the quarterback. That puts more pressure on Terrell Suggs.
Special Teams: Advantage Ravens
It’s not like either team has a huge advantage on special teams. Neither team has a returner that you must game plan for and use directional kicking to avoid long gains. The reason why I gave the edge to the Ravens was simple; they will have a better night then the Jets on Monday. I kind of alluded to my reasoning earlier and that’s because of the Jets’ offense. I suspect the Jets have plenty of short drives and three-and-outs which would result to better field position and return yards. If this game results down to who is going to have the better field position with the least amount of mistakes, the Ravens will win.
Prediction: Ravens 20 Jets 10
We all understand defense wins championships with the help of a good quarterback, although that’s not the case in this game. The main question is who’s going to be able to score more against both of these stout defenses? My answer is the Ravens. I think Ravens do have problems in the secondary but I don’t think Sanchez is going to have the ability to exploit them. I think Ray Rice is going to be monstrous in this game; not only in the running game but in the passing game as well. The Ravens have more offensive players with the ability to move the chains and score points. As long as the Ravens don’t play in the hands of the Jets, meaning don’t turn the ball over, the Ravens should win this game.
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Written by Frisco Fahs