Thanks to Matthew Stevens over at SB Nation's Ravens blog, Baltimore Beatdown, for answering my Chiefs-Ravens questions. Our Q&A is below.
The Ravens have been in a lot of close games. Are they as bad as 4-9 suggests?
BB: Yes and no. If the ball were to bounce the opposite way just once, the Ravens could be 12-1 right now. Yet, I'm a big proponent of the idea that a good team will find a way to win those close games. Maybe it would be throwing fewer interceptions or actually catching one of them that would have turned this season around. Sadly, with this many injuries, I have to side more with the fact that this team sucks this year.
The QB situation. Who are the options and who should it be?
BB: The main options as of right now are Matt Schaub and Jimmy Clausen if you believe what John Harbaugh is saying. However, after watching Schaub throw two pick-sixes and multiple interceptions as well as get beaten up against the Dolphins, I think the Ravens are going to say that he is never healthy enough to fully play again this season and let him retire with some dignity. That really only puts Jimmy Clausen as the quarterback this week. Then again, the Ravens did sign Ryan Mallett officially on Tuesday and while I have my doubts that he could be ready in time for Sunday's game, the team seems interested in seeing what he can do since they have him locked up for 2016 as well. Truthfully, it's a roll of the dice on who will be starting for the Ravens this week or any week moving forward this season.
The Chiefs pass rush is key. How is the Ravens o-line?
BB: The Ravens offensive line is hit and miss. With two of it's members on injured reserve in left tackle Eugene Monroe and center Jeremy Zuttah, the line has had its better days. Right now, the team is seeing what left guard Kelechi Osemele can do at left tackle and promoted Ryan Jensen into the left guard role. With genius John Urschel at center, and another young player in Ricky Wagner at right tackle, the line is about as young as it can get. All of these players have flashed brilliance at times, so who knows when they can finally put it all together for once, but against a nasty Chiefs pass rush, expect whoever is at quarterback to be panicking and running around.
With no Flacco, what does the Ravens offense do well?
BB: Not only is there no Flacco but there is no left tackle, no center, Steve Smith Sr. is also out, rookie tight end Nick Boyle is suspended, starting tight end Crockett Gillmore looks like he will be heading to injured reserve either this week or next, and both running backs Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro are on injured reserve. To answer your question, there isn't anything this offense does particularly well right now. With the offensive line in shambles, the running game has hit a brick wall. With a quarterback controversy brewing between three not so good quarterbacks and a bunch of wide receivers on injured reserve, you can't even claim the passing game does well. With all of that being said, the offense looks more focused on the short passing game and then taking the occasional shots down the field if they get a favorable matchup.
What's your prediction for the game?
BB: I don't see the Ravens winning another game, so I clearly have the Chiefs on this one. My prediction for the game is that the Ravens end up putting another player on injured reserve after the game. No but seriously, it will probably be closer than a lot of people expect, but the Ravens will shoot themselves in the foot enough to make sure they don't win. Chiefs: 23 - Ravens: 17