Alright, I think it’s fair to say the lockout has taken it’s toll on our beloved NFL. Let’s be real, the Lions and Bills are locked in divisional races, Cam Newton is breaking passing records, and Tony Sparano still has a job; everything seems a bit off.
Offenses have sputtered out of the gate while running backs and offensive lines are still working to get into a rhythm. Great defenses have looked porous and Hall of Fame Quarterbacks have been inconsistent; your 2011 National Football League ladies and gentlemen.
The Jets and Ravens are two playoff teams from a year ago. The Jets, having reached the AFC Championship game two years running, were thought to be a team in contention; until last week. The once proud Jets rush defense (ranked 31st in the NFL) gave up 234 yards in a 34-24 loss to the Raiders.
Now 2-1 the Jets, like the Ravens, are a work in progress.
The Ravens have been high, then way low, and are now back up. They beat the Steelers, then lost at the surprising Titans, and then walloped the lowly Rams last week (37-7). It remains to be seen how good, or bad, these Ravens are.
Both the Jets and Ravens have offensive line issues. Jets Center Nick Mangold, the cornerstone of that O-line, missed the game against Oakland, and the Jets struggled to move the ball. The Ravens patch-work O-line has looked great at times, but against the youthful D-line in Tennessee looked slow and had Joe Flacco running for his life.
That’s where Sunday Night’s game will be won or lost. In the trenches.
One must assume that the Jets defense will figure out their problems and begin playing to the level we’re used to seeing from a Rex Ryan coached squad. With the Ravens offense being so inconsistent this may the game the Jets surprise us and dominate the point of attack.
Rex Ryan, the Jets Head Coach, spent 10 years as an assistant with the Ravens. He was in Baltimore for their Super Bowl run, and was the defensive coordinator for many of the most feared defensive units in NFL history. In short: he knows the Ravens, he knows their weaknesses as well as their strengths, and will look to exploit them.
Look for RB Ray Rice to have a big day. The Jets have done a terrible job stopping the run and it doesn’t get any easier facing a back as talented as Rice. Rice is the Ravens leading rusher (231 yards & 1 TD) and the teams second leading receiver (178 yards & 2 TD’s). If the Ravens O-line holds up against the Jets blitz schemes, Rice will run wild and Flacco should be able to set up the play-action to Anquan Boldin and the emerging Torrey Smith.
When everything is said and done, and the NFL regains its composure following the lockout and shortened off season, both of these teams will be in the playoff mix. Sunday Night will be a slug fest, no doubt. The team standing at the end will move to 3-1, and will start to hear murmurs about the Super Bowl.
Rice runs wild, Flacco throws 2 TD’s, Rex Ryan talks a lot at the end of the game:
Ravens 28-Jets 17
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.