Archive for October, 2007

Ravens @ Bills

October 19, 2007

Team Stats:

This week the 4-2 Ravens travel north (almost to Canada, right Willis?) to take on the 1-4 Buffalo Bills. When looking at the Bills record, along with their stats this season (they fall near the bottom in most categories on both offense and defense, as seen above) Ravens fans may be lulled into a sense of ease about this game. However, the Bills probably are not as bad as they want us to believe.

The Bills are 1-2 at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season, both losses in which they never trailed until the last second of the game – a 15-14 loss to the Broncos in week 1, and a 25-24 Monday night loss to Dallas in week 5, a game the Bills led 24-13 after 3 quarters. They were not competitive in their other two losses, which came on the road against very strong teams in Pittsburgh and New England. Their lone win was over the New York Jets 17-14.

While the stats may paint a bleak picture of this Bills team, the Nest thinks they may be a bit misleading. Over their past 2 games (NYJ, DAL), the Bills defense has been much more stout than their 32nd overall ranking indicates. After allowing big days on the ground by Travis Henry, Willie Parker, and Laurence Maroney in succession to start the year, the Bills then held Thomas Jones to less than 3 yards per carry, and the Julius Jones-Marion Barber tandem to less than 3.5. And while their secondary allowed Tony Romo to pass for over 300 yards in leading the Cowboys back from behind, they still managed to intercept him 5 times.

On offense, the Bills stat sheet again indicates ineptitude all around. Again, though, this may be a bit misleading. Buffalo features a dynamic rookie running back in Marshawn Lynch, and a different quarterback than the Ravens saw the last time these two teams met last New Year’s Eve. Rookie Trent Edwards has taken over for J.P. Losman, and shown some ability, that, when paired with the Ravens’ banged up secondary, should make purple and black fans a little uneasy. In the win over New York, Edwards was 22/28 for 234 yards and a TD. Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis had this to say after the game:

“He threw the ball more than we expected. We knew he was a talented quarterback. We didn’t think he’d do this to us. But he did.”

Edwards didn’t fare quite as well against Dallas, but that may have been more a result of Dick Jauron’s going into “shut-down mode” after the Cowboys handed his team a big lead than of his QB’s inability to move the ball. The Ravens defense would be wise to heed Ellis’ words and be prepared for Edwards to try to air it out. If Buffalo can use the pass to loosen up the running lanes for Lynch, watch out. If, however, they try to run to set up the pass, then they will play right into Rex Ryan’s hands and everyone watching should get comfortable in preparation for another punt-a-thon.
The Ravens offense, on the other hand, has been steadily slipping in terms of overall production. Willis McGahee returns to face the team that drafted him, and while he has been saying all the right things this week, the Nest doesn’t buy it, and thinks he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. McGahee continues to be near the top of the league in rushing, but has yet to break the big one that we Ravens fans are waiting for (funny, he has no problem breaking off 60 yard runs regularly on Madden – but I digress). All the injuries to the offensive line certainly don’t help, though, and he probably won’t have the day he is hoping for in celebration of not only his coming-home party, but his birthday as well. Center Mike Flynn has indicated that he will “give it a go” this week, while Todd Heap will likely not play. Kyle Boller again gets the start behind center. Boller, who played reasonably well last week, will have to be better in Buffalo. Its nice to see him taking shots down the field and all, but eventually he will have to connect with one (and not just a jump-ball) for defenses to really start respecting his arm. Kyle will also have to pretend he is playing in B-More, as he has a career record of 5-12 as a starter outside of M&T Bank stadium.

The Ravens are just looking to survive this week and get out of The Queen City at 5-2 so they can go into the bye and hopefully get healthy for the 2nd half. The Nest sees the patchwork Ravens having a tough time in this one, though, a game that Buffalo has had two weeks to prepare and rest up for. We advise Ravens fans to break out that blood pressure medication we were able to shelf last week for this one. It will take a big play late by the defense or special teams to reach 5-2.

Ravens 16 Bills 13
(As always, please leave YOUR score predictions in the comments)

Ravens @ Bills

October 18, 2007

Team Stats:

This week the 4-2 Ravens travel north (almost to Canada, right Willis?) to take on the 1-4 Buffalo Bills. When looking at the Bills record, along with their stats this season (they fall near the bottom in most categories on both offense and defense, as seen above) Ravens fans may be lulled into a sense of ease about this game. However, the Bills probably are not as bad as they want us to believe.

The Bills are 1-2 at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season, both losses in which they never trailed until the last second of the game – a 15-14 loss to the Broncos in week 1, and a 25-24 Monday night loss to Dallas in week 5, a game the Bills led 24-13 after 3 quarters. They were not competitive in their other two losses, which came on the road against very strong teams in Pittsburgh and New England. Their lone win was over the New York Jets 17-14.

While the stats may paint a bleak picture of this Bills team, the Nest thinks they may be a bit misleading. Over their past 2 games (NYJ, DAL), the Bills defense has been much more stout than their 32nd overall ranking indicates. After allowing big days on the ground by Travis Henry, Willie Parker, and Laurence Maroney in succession to start the year, the Bills then held Thomas Jones to less than 3 yards per carry, and the Julius Jones-Marion Barber tandem to less than 3.5. And while their secondary allowed Tony Romo to pass for over 300 yards in leading the Cowboys back from behind, they still managed to intercept him 5 times.

On offense, the Bills stat sheet again indicates ineptitude all around. Again, though, this may be a bit misleading. Buffalo features a dynamic rookie running back in Marshawn Lynch, and a different quarterback than the Ravens saw the last time these two teams met last New Year’s Eve. Rookie Trent Edwards has taken over for J.P. Losman, and shown some ability, that, when paired with the Ravens’ banged up secondary, should make purple and black fans a little uneasy. In the win over New York, Edwards was 22/28 for 234 yards and a TD. Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis had this to say after the game:

“He threw the ball more than we expected. We knew he was a talented quarterback. We didn’t think he’d do this to us. But he did.”

Edwards didn’t fare quite as well against Dallas, but that may have been more a result of Dick Jauron’s going into “shut-down mode” after the Cowboys handed his team a big lead than of his QB’s inability to move the ball. The Ravens defense would be wise to heed Ellis’ words and be prepared for Edwards to try to air it out. If Buffalo can use the pass to loosen up the running lanes for Lynch, watch out. If, however, they try to run to set up the pass, then they will play right into Rex Ryan’s hands and everyone watching should get comfortable in preparation for another punt-a-thon.
The Ravens offense, on the other hand, has been steadily slipping in terms of overall production. Willis McGahee returns to face the team that drafted him, and while he has been saying all the right things this week, the Nest doesn’t buy it, and thinks he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. McGahee continues to be near the top of the league in rushing, but has yet to break the big one that we Ravens fans are waiting for (funny, he has no problem breaking off 60 yard runs regularly on Madden – but I digress). All the injuries to the offensive line certainly don’t help, though, and he probably won’t have the day he is hoping for in celebration of not only his coming-home party, but his birthday as well. Center Mike Flynn has indicated that he will “give it a go” this week, while Todd Heap will likely not play. Kyle Boller again gets the start behind center. Boller, who played reasonably well last week, will have to be better in Buffalo. Its nice to see him taking shots down the field and all, but eventually he will have to connect with one (and not just a jump-ball) for defenses to really start respecting his arm. Kyle will also have to pretend he is playing in B-More, as he has a career record of 5-12 as a starter outside of M&T Bank stadium.

The Ravens are just looking to survive this week and get out of The Queen City at 5-2 so they can go into the bye and hopefully get healthy for the 2nd half. The Nest sees the patchwork Ravens having a tough time in this one, though, a game that Buffalo has had two weeks to prepare and rest up for. We advise Ravens fans to break out that blood pressure medication we were able to shelf last week for this one. It will take a big play late by the defense or special teams to reach 5-2.

Ravens 16 Bills 13
(As always, please leave YOUR score predictions in the comments)

ben-AD-ict Arnold

October 18, 2007

Say it ain’t so, 96.

One of the Nest’s all-time favorite Ravens, Adalius Thomas, is now taking shots at the organization that gave him his break and made it possible for him to sign that big money deal with the Patriots. In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, AD had this to say:

“You’ve got to remember, I’m coming in from Baltimore,” says Thomas. “People there wanted the limelight, people sought out the limelight, starting with the head coach. It was a star-studded system. Here it’s about as different as you can get. Everybody here shies away from being the star guy. Nobody on this team beats his chest. They just all go about their business. And win.”

Calling out his former friends, teammates, and head coach. Not what we would expect from the usually classy Thomas. While he probably would have received a warm M&T reception on December 3rd, AD can now expect a chorus of Boos to rain down on him from the B-More faithful. And that is just sad in our book. A player that we all grew to have the utmost respect for during his tenure here opens his big mouth (which now apparently is able to speak above a whisper again) and gives us reason to spew obscenities his way. We lost a lot of admiration for you as a person today, Adalius.

Looks like they don’t just have cheaters up there in the Northeast, but traitors as well.

Update: C-Mac

October 18, 2007

Chris McAlister’s torn PCL will not require surgery (at least at this time). The Ravens are understandably being very guarded about releasing too much information about his injury, not wanting to tip their hand to the Buffalo Bills, or any other teams on their schedule for the next month or so. ESPN is reporting that it is likely McAlister will miss 2-4 weeks.

ben-AD-ict Arnold

October 18, 2007

Say it ain’t so, 96.

One of the Nest’s all-time favorite Ravens, Adalius Thomas, is now taking shots at the organization that gave him his break and made it possible for him to sign that big money deal with the Patriots. In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, AD had this to say:

“You’ve got to remember, I’m coming in from Baltimore,” says Thomas. “People there wanted the limelight, people sought out the limelight, starting with the head coach. It was a star-studded system. Here it’s about as different as you can get. Everybody here shies away from being the star guy. Nobody on this team beats his chest. They just all go about their business. And win.”

Calling out his former friends, teammates, and head coach. Not what we would expect from the usually classy Thomas. While he probably would have received a warm M&T reception on December 3rd, AD can now expect a chorus of Boos to rain down on him from the B-More faithful. And that is just sad in our book. A player that we all grew to have the utmost respect for during his tenure here opens his big mouth (which now apparently is able to speak above a whisper again) and gives us reason to spew obscenities his way. We lost a lot of admiration for you as a person today, Adalius.

Looks like they don’t just have cheaters up there in the Northeast, but traitors as well.

"Major League Coach of the Year" joins O’s as Pitching Coach

October 18, 2007

The Orioles have announced the signing of Rick Kranitz as pitching coach. Kranitz comes over from the Florida Marlins, where he spent the last 2 seasons. He was awarded the 2006 Baseball America award for Major League Coach of the Year for his work as the pitching coach of the fish, having led a rotation that included 4 rookies to a 4.22 ERA. This past season, though, the Marlins finished just one spot above the O’s (who were 29th out of 30 teams) in total team ERA, at 4.94 to the O’s 5.17. So it seems he is coming into a familiar situation – decent starters, crappy, crappy bullpen. The Nest wishes “Kranny” luck, although we really wish Dave Trembley would never, ever call him that again, for two reasons: First, it brings to mind the heavily ridiculed “Brownie,” former head of FEMA, and second, it sounds just a bit too much like a character from the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

So no more “Kranny” talk, please. Oh yeah, and Rick, just stay out of Eric Bedard’s way. Thanks.

Update: C-Mac

October 18, 2007

Chris McAlister’s torn PCL will not require surgery (at least at this time). The Ravens are understandably being very guarded about releasing too much information about his injury, not wanting to tip their hand to the Buffalo Bills, or any other teams on their schedule for the next month or so. ESPN is reporting that it is likely McAlister will miss 2-4 weeks.

"Major League Coach of the Year" joins O's as Pitching Coach

October 18, 2007

The Orioles have announced the signing of Rick Kranitz as pitching coach. Kranitz comes over from the Florida Marlins, where he spent the last 2 seasons. He was awarded the 2006 Baseball America award for Major League Coach of the Year for his work as the pitching coach of the fish, having led a rotation that included 4 rookies to a 4.22 ERA. This past season, though, the Marlins finished just one spot above the O’s (who were 29th out of 30 teams) in total team ERA, at 4.94 to the O’s 5.17. So it seems he is coming into a familiar situation – decent starters, crappy, crappy bullpen. The Nest wishes “Kranny” luck, although we really wish Dave Trembley would never, ever call him that again, for two reasons: First, it brings to mind the heavily ridiculed “Brownie,” former head of FEMA, and second, it sounds just a bit too much like a character from the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

So no more “Kranny” talk, please. Oh yeah, and Rick, just stay out of Eric Bedard’s way. Thanks.

C-Mac Injury

October 16, 2007

It seems one Raven came away with more than just one of the team’s five interceptions on Sunday against the Rams. What Brian Billick originally described as a “tweaked” knee is turning out to be something far more serious for cornerback Chris McAlister. Apparently, C-Mac’s knee has been swollen since the game, and Doctors have diagnosed him with an injury of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). The swelling is currently preventing a full evaluation of the injury, which may or may not require surgery. If surgery is indeed necessary, McAlister would basically be on the shelf for the rest of the season (8-10 weeks), while a best case scenario for non-surgical treatment would put him back in action in anywhere from 3-6 weeks, according to Drew Forrester over at wnst.net .

The Ravens secondary just played their first game since week 1 at full strength, and will now again be missing a pivotal cog. C-Mac’s play has been less than stellar so far this season, as he has been beat on several long touchdowns (and almost one more on Sunday). However, he is still one of the absolute BEST cornerbacks in the NFL, and those Ravens fans who are critical of him may be about to see just how badly the purple and black D depends on him.

Lets keep our fingers crossed that surgery is not on the horizon for Chris.

C-Mac Injury

October 16, 2007

It seems one Raven came away with more than just one of the team’s five interceptions on Sunday against the Rams. What Brian Billick originally described as a “tweaked” knee is turning out to be something far more serious for cornerback Chris McAlister. Apparently, C-Mac’s knee has been swollen since the game, and Doctors have diagnosed him with an injury of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). The swelling is currently preventing a full evaluation of the injury, which may or may not require surgery. If surgery is indeed necessary, McAlister would basically be on the shelf for the rest of the season (8-10 weeks), while a best case scenario for non-surgical treatment would put him back in action in anywhere from 3-6 weeks, according to Drew Forrester over at wnst.net .

The Ravens secondary just played their first game since week 1 at full strength, and will now again be missing a pivotal cog. C-Mac’s play has been less than stellar so far this season, as he has been beat on several long touchdowns (and almost one more on Sunday). However, he is still one of the absolute BEST cornerbacks in the NFL, and those Ravens fans who are critical of him may be about to see just how badly the purple and black D depends on him.

Lets keep our fingers crossed that surgery is not on the horizon for Chris.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.