Today is Friday (WOOOOO!), which means we are now down to two work days remaining until we get to watch our purple and black shut Rex Ryan and his gang of green boogers’ collective mouths. Day 3 of our quick Ravens season preview sees the Ravens play 3 teams from the NFC South, as well as Rapey von Rapenstein and the Steelers.
Of course, all of these predictions are based on rosters, teams, etc., as they stand today. Injuries, suspensions, and whatever else could easily drastically change my feeling about any or all of the games. This is for fun more than anything else, so don’t go calling your bookie on my recommendations.
Week 10 – @ Falcons
Matty “Ice” Ryan and the Falcons are looking to bounce back after missing the playoffs despite a 9-7 record in 2009. It will be a matchup of 2008 First-Round Draft Pick quarterbacks and third year head coaches. If this game were in B’More, I’d feel a lot better about it, but going down to the ATL to play inside the Georgia Dome in early November doesn’t sound appealing at all. The Ravens will have their hands full with Ryan, Michael Turner, and Roddy White, and, though Flacco is indeed a better QB than Ryan, our purple and black will likely have a tough time in this one.
Chance of Victory – 40%
Week 11 – @ Carolina
The Panthers are moving to Matt Moore at QB after jettisoning Jake Delhomme to the Cleveland Browns. Unless he is awful for the first 10 weeks, or gets injured, there is little chance rookie Jimmy Clausen will be lining up against the Ravens. Carolina also lost Julius Peppers, and their defense will likely be their undoing in 2010 as a result, considering their still-potent rushing attack of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. I see Flacco having a field day down in Charlotte, while the largely one-dimensional Panthers attack struggles to keep up.
Chance of Victory – 70%
Week 12 – vs. Tampa Bay
The only worry here is that the Ravens look past the Bucs to the Week 13 matchup against Pittsburgh. Tampa has always struggled mightily in cold weather, and November 28 in Baltimore has the potential to be plenty chilly. On top of that, the Bucs were just 3-13 in 2009, and didn’t do much to improve their roster this offseason. Entering the season, their top two wideouts are Ronnie Brown (9 receptions in 2009) and rookie Mike Williams. Tight end Kellan Winslow could be effective, but he just had his fifth knee surgery this offseason (not to mention he has awesome memories of playing in Baltimore). Ravens win in a laugher.
Chance of Victory: 80% (+1% for every 2 degrees under 50 F at game time)
Week 13 – vs. Pittsburgh
The Steelers will have Baby Ben back by this point – let’s remember though, Ben has still won only once in Baltimore (though it seems like a far more frequent occurence). He may have the Steelers back in the thick of contention by this time, and even if he doesn’t, this game is always tense and tightly contested. The Ravens will hopefully be looking for their first season sweep of Yinz from Donton since 2006, while Pittsburgh will be chasing just their second victory in Charm City since 2002 (the other, of course, coming in 2008). This game gets my heartbeat above baseline already, just thinking about it nearly three full months ahead of time. I need a drink…
Chance of Victory – 60%
Monday – Weeks 14-17 AND Ravens-Jets full preview.