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1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Patriots


1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Patriots

1. Ray Rice willnot rush for 100 yards ....Rice has averagedabout 104 yards in four career games against the Patriots, but that was helpedgreatly by his 83-yard touchdown run in the 2009 playoffs. In last year'splayoff game, the Patriots controlled the line of scrimmage, holding Rice to 67yards on 21 carries, and that defense is stronger this year. 2. .. and neitherwill Stevan Ridley. Ridley, thePatriots' second-year back out of LSU, has 196 yards in two games this season,including 125 yards in the season opener at Tennessee. But the Ravenslinebackers set the edge well last week in Philadelphia and were pretty stoutagainst LeSean McCoy, holding him to 81 yards on 25 carries. 3. The Patriots'Vince Wilfork will have at least two tackles for loss.Ravens centerMatt Birk was overmatched by Wilfork, the Patriots' four-time Pro Bowldefensive tackle, in the AFC Championship Game last season. He had threetackles for loss and a sack in that game. Birk and guards Ramon Harewood andMarshal Yanda will have their hands full again.

4.Anquan Boldinwill have at least four catches.Boldin was quietin the Eagles game last week, with two catches for just 7 yards, his lowestsingle-game total since the 2010 playoffs. Boldin had six catches for 101 yardsat New England last year, and offenisive coordinator Cam Cameron said theoffense works best when everyone is involved. This week, Boldin is moreinvolved.5. If the Ravensface third-and-1, they will pass.The Ravens'third-and-2 and fourth-and-2 calls at the end of the Eagles game -- bothincomplete passes -- were dissected ad nauseam on talk radio this week. Cameronsaid that had it been third-and-1, they would have run the ball. This week?Don't bet on it. They want no part of running up the gut at Wilfork onthird-and-short.6. Tom Brady willbe intercepted.Tom Brady hasfaced the Ravens six times, and he's thrown at least one interception in fourof those games. The Ravens need to get pressure, and then let Ed Reed,Lardarius Webb and company create havoc in the secondary. 7. Wes Welkerwill have at least five catches.Welker'sproduction is topic No. 1 in New England these days, as the Patriots seem to bephasing out the veteran who led the league with 122 catches last season. He hasonly eight through the first two games this season and had seen his playingtime diminished before the injury to tight end Aaron Hernandez. Still, he's apart of this offense and Brady will find him.8. The Ravenswill win the turnover battle.The Ravens, atplus-4, and the Patriots, at plus-3, both rank among the top five in the leaguein turnover ratio through two weeks. The Ravens have recorded six turnovers intwo games, and although a couple of those were gimmes (a botched handoff), theRavens generate plenty as well. Witness Lardarius Webb's helmet-to-ball hit onLeSean McCoy, or Bernard Pollard's diving interception.9. Justin Tuckerwill remain perfect.The Ravens rookiekicker is already putting to rest any debate about whether they made the rightmove in keeping him over Billy Cundiff. Tucker was perfect from 56 -- tying afranchise record -- 51 and 48 yards last week and is 6-for-6 through two games.He won't be perfect all season, but he will be on Sunday.10. Final score:Ravens 27, Patriots 23Something has togive here. The Ravens have won 13 straight games after a loss. They have won 11in a row at home. The Patriots have never lost to the Ravens in the regularseason. Both teams are missing key players. Both teams are coming off lossesthat exposed their weaknesses. But Joe Flacco has been exceptional in games immediately after losses, with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions in the last 13 such games. He leads the Ravens to a well-earned win.

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Peter King awards two Ravens with weekly honors for defensive performance vs.Titans

Peter King awards two Ravens with weekly honors for defensive performance vs.Titans

The Baltimore Ravens' Week 6 dominate performance over the Tennessee Titans is gaining national attention. 

A historic game that displayed the offense and defense firing on all cylinders, it's hard to pinpoint who had the biggest impact. 

So in his latest edition of Football Morning in America, NBC Sports' Peter King awarded not one, but two Ravens with weekly honors.


Against the Titans, Smith led the Ravens defense with three sacks and five tackles in their historic 11-sack game. On of three Defensive Players of the Week, King explained why Smith's performance stood out.

In the most dominant defensive performance of this ultra-offensive season, the Ravens shut out Tennessee 21-0 and had 11 sacks. Another one of GM Ozzie Newsome’s draft gifts that keeps on giving, Smith (2015, round four, Kentucky) contributed three sacks of Marcus Mariota and five tackles in a virtuoso game. Net passing yards for Mariota: 51.

Smith, who's entering the final year of his rookie NFL contract, has shown over six games he deserves to get paid in the offseason. So far this season the 26-year-old has 20 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble. 

COACH OF THE WEEK: Don "Wink" Martindale

In his first season as defensive coordinator, Don "Wink" Martindale has seamlessly made the transition from linebackers coach to leading the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense (12.8). But what impressed King the most from the 21-0 shutout was how Martindale's squad got to Mariota from every direction. 

When a unit records more sacks (11) than completions allowed (10), the leader gets an award. Those are the rules. Martindale’s pass rushers got to Marcus Mariota every possible way—up the middle, around the edges, in the pocket, on bootlegs, you name it. The total set a new franchise record and was one short of the single-game NFL mark of 12. And it came with a familiar face watching: Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees used to hold the same position in Baltimore. Shout out to the Ravens social media team for renaming the account RavenSSSSSSSSSSS, one ‘S’ for each sack.

This Ravens defense, who has always been known for its dominance, is ranked first in points allowed (12.8), first in yards allowed (270.8), second in passing yards allowed (188.0) and third in rushing yards allowed (82.8) heading into Week 7. In addition, they have yet to surrender a second half touchdown all season. Trusting of the talent this roster holds, the respect "Wink" has for his players is equally reciprocated. 

"It was really emotional when they told us we had 11 sacks," linebacker Patrick Onwuasor said postgame. "We just went out there and we were like, ‘We have to get Coach Wink . We have to put the Gatorade on him.’ So, we tried to turn him around so he couldn’t see it coming, and we had to get him real good."

Martindale will now face the No. 1 scoring offense in the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. 


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Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

The Baltimore Ravens went into the Tennessee Titans' home and completely robbed them in a 21-0 shutout win.

Here are the players and plays that stood out from the afternoon.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME: Ravens Defense

The Ravens defense had a historic afternoon recording a franchise-record 11 sacks. Yup, you read that right. 11 sacks.

Za'Darius Smith led the way with three, followed by Patrick Onwuasor with two and Matthew Judon, Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson, Kenny Young, Anthony Levine Sr. and Chris Wormley with one apiece. The 11 sacks tied for the second most by a team in league history and the most in a game since 2012.  It was so historic, the Ravens changed their Twitter name to included 11 S's. 

But that wasn't the only impressive part of the Ravens' afternoon. Marcus Mariota was limited to 10 completions and the defense allowed just 51 passing yards  —  the fewest in franchise history  — and 55 rushing yards. The Titans finished the afternoon 1-for-10 on third down as well.

With the shutout, the Ravens defense cemented its place as one of the NFL's most elite units in 2018. A win that must have been extra sweet after a 12-9 overtime loss to the Browns the week prior and with former defensive coordinator Dean Pees staring back from the opposite sideline. The Ravens remain the only NFL team to not allow a second-half touchdown this season. 


After dropping what would have been the game-winning touchdown Week 5 against the Browns, Michael Crabtree said his priority this week was to get back into the lab and correct his mistakes. Out the gate, the veteran receiver stayed true to his word finishing the Ravens' first drive catching three passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. Earlier in the week, Joe Flacco had faith his receiver would get over the hump of six drops in five games and was willing to stand by him until it happened.

"Besides just trying to give him the confidence that, you know, I'm still going his way when he calls for it and I still believe that it's going to be the difference...it's something that he'll definitely get over," Flacco said.

The patience worked as Crabtree finished the day with six receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown leading all Ravens receivers.

But more importantly, the relationship between Crabtree and Flacco continues to grow.

"That’s trust. That’s what you need in football, you know," Crabtree said postgame. "Quarterback, receiver relationship. It’s only going to get better. It’s all about how much time you put in, how much work you put in. I’m new; this is my first year here so I got to do what I got to do."

STAT OF THE GAME: Flacco makes his way into the history books

With 25 completions Sunday against the Titans, Flacco became the third different quarterback in NFL history to complete 25 or more passes in nine consecutive games, per the NFL's communication department. Drew Brees sits atop the list with 11 and 10 consecutive games followed by Peyton Manning with nine. Flacco finished the 21-0 win 25-for-37 with 238 yards, one touchdown and one interception.