I know there is no Ravens blog on SB Nation, so I thought I would come over here and tell you about the Baltimore Ravens.
Offense: Ever since Head Coach Brian Billick started to call the plays on offense, it has new life. Look for RB Jamal Lewis to get the ball early and often. He averages about 20 carries a game. Billick would like to give him 30 carries if Lewis has success. Lewis does most of his running inside the tackles. Steve McNair has upgraded the passing game of a year ago. Even so, this is not a system where the quarterback puts up big numbers. McNair loves to throw to TE Todd Heap. Heap is an excellent TE, with great speed and good hands. Derrick Mason and McNair played together in Tennessee and are very comfortable with eachother. The other reciever Mark Clayton only has a few receptions a game, but he has remarkable speed. The weakness of this offense is the O-Line. Recently, they have really played well, however at least two of them have only been in the league for up to 2 years. In this game I expect the Ravens to run Jamal Lewis several times and go off play-action with McNair.
Defense: This Ravens defense is great, but it is not as good as the 2000 defense. The Ravens can play a 3-4 or a 4-3 converting LB/DE Terrell Suggs. Former Bronco Trevor Pryce has 8.5 sacks on the season. The LB core is the heart and soul of this team. Ray Lewis is having a good year despite aging. Adalius Thomas can play any defensive position. He has 9 sacks on the season and should have made the Pro-Bowl last year. The other LB, Bart Scott has 7.5 sacks. Under defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan, the Ravens bring pressure from every angle. Ed Reed is one of the leagues best safties. CB Chris McAllister has a tendancy to bite on play fakes and trick plays. Trent Green should go after Samari Rolle on deep passing routes. That is where the secondary is vunerable, on play fakes. There is also a rookie in the secondary, Dawan Landry.
Special Teams:Return-Man BJ Sams is out for this game. In his place will be Cory Ross and Mark Clayton. This is a big loss to the Ravens in the special-teams area. Gary Stills, former Chief, leads their special teams with over 100 tackles.
To wrap things up, I have heard a lot of people say that the Ravens have a bad offense. I think Billick's philosophy says it all. His philosophy is that if you get in the red zone, then don't take chances having turnovers. Just kick the field goal. If a TD is scored then even better. That is their problem. In my opinion, a team has to be aggresive to be one of the best. I know they are on defense. This game will play a big part in the playoff race. I hope you enjoyed the preview.