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Did our Ravens-Cowboys predictions hold up?


Did our Ravens-Cowboys predictions hold up?

It's time to again slip under the replay hood and see how our 10 predictions for the Cowboys game turned out:

1. The Ravens will score a first-quarter touchdown.

INCORRECT. The Ravens mounted a solid 14-play drive to begin the game, but it stalled when Bernard Pierce ran wide on third-and-1 and was dropped for a loss, leading to a 38-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. (As an aside, weren't Marshal Yanda and Vonta Leach paid big money so the Ravens could run behind them when they need a yard? Still don't get running wide on third-and-1 there.) The Ravens have now scored a total of six points in the first quarter in the past four games, a troubling trend.

2. Ray Rice will rush for 100 yards ...

INCORRECT. We predicted Rice would buck the trend and go back-to-back 100-yard games for just the second time in his career, but it didn't happen. Rice finished with 16 carries for 63 yards and never broke a gain longer than 12 yards on the ground.

3. ... but The Cowboys' DeMarco Murray will not

CORRECT. But with a huge asterisk. Murray, who had averaged 59 yards rushing through the Cowboys' first four games, was well on his way to a huge day against the porous Ravens run defense, but was sidelined by a foot injury early in the third quarter with a foot injury. Murray finished with 93 yards on 14 carries.

4. Ravens running backs will have at least five receptions.

INCORRECT. Though it wasn't for lack of trying. As we predicted, screen passes were part of the Ravens' plan, but Joe Flacco misfired on at least two of them -- one that was thrown behind Ray Rice, and another that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Rice, Vonta Leach and Bernard Pierce each finished with just one catch, though Rice was targeted four times.

5. Joe Flacco will be sacked at least three times.

INCORRECT. The Ravens inserted Bobbie Williams at left guard for his first start of the season, and the line held up against the Cowboys rush. Cowboys pass rusher extraordinaire DeMarcus Ware recorded the only sack of the day for Dallas, this coming when he beat Oher to the inside on a spin move and Williams fell down.

6. The Ravens will have at least two offensive plays of 20+ yards.,

CORRECT. The Ravens entered the game with 30 plays of 20+ yards, the highest total in the league, and had two more -- a 43-yard dumpoff pass to Rice, and a 31-yard pass down the sideline to Anquan Boldin. (And this doesn't count the electrifying 108-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones.)

7. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will have at least five catches.

CORRECT. The Ravens did a decent job on Witten much of the game, but as usual, when Tony Romo needed a big play, he looked to his big tight end. Twice on the final drive, Romo hit Witten on fourth-and-10 plays that moved the chains and kept the Cowboys' hopes alive. Witten finished with six catches for 88 yards.

8. Dallas will have more passing plays than running plays.

INCORRECT. We didn't anticipate the Cowboys running roughshod over the Ravens, but the running game was clearly their most effective weapon. The Cowboys finished with 42 carries for 227 yards -- the most ever allowed by the Ravens -- and 36 pass attempts (and one sack).

9. The Ravens will win the turnover battle.

CORRECT. This remains a critical component of the Ravens' success, especially given how easily teams are moving the ball on them. The game's only turnover came when Romo was intercepted by Cary Williams at the Ravens' 35-yard line, thwarting a Cowboys' drive in the second quarter.

10. Ravens 30, Cowboys 20

CORRECT, SORT OF. Yes, as we predicted, the Ravens did enough to move to 5-1 on the season, but barely. They can thank Dez Bryant dropping a two-point conversion, some clock mismanagement by the Cowboys, which forced their final field-goal try to be from 51 yards, and a breeze that helped push the kick wide left.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens rank higher than expected in preseason rankings

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens rank higher than expected in preseason rankings

Kick off your Wednesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including a high preseason ranking for the Ravens.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. The Ravens ranked higher than expected in Peter King's preseason rankings. King ranked the Ravens at No. 12, surprising for a defense that is working on development during this offseason. However, with the Ravens' signing of All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, maybe he will bring the fire the Ravens need on defense.

2. With day 2 of OTAs in the books, the focus has been on quarterback Lamar Jackson. Ravens writer, Kevin Eck noted that during the offseason, Jackson had been working out with Ravens quarterbacks coach, Joshua Harris along with receivers Jordan Lasley and Jaylen Smith, so it remains to be seen throughout the summer on whether or not he has improved namely his passing game. 

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.


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Reaction: Peter King picks Ravens 12th in 2019 Power Rankings

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Reaction: Peter King picks Ravens 12th in 2019 Power Rankings

With OTAs underway, Peter King has released his 2019 NFL preseason power rankings and of the biggest surprises is the Baltimore Ravens landing at No. 12 on the list. Although stud Lamar Jackson surprised people last season, given the substandard state of their defense and the burden on Jackson to shoulder the load offensively, King may have the Ravens ranked a few spots too high. 

Let's start with the defense; it's got more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. Most notably they lost linebacker Terrell Suggs, the heart and soul of their defense for the past decade. Although past his prime, Suggs is still a productive player and they will undoubtedly miss his leadership. They released defensive back Eric Weddle, who was coming off two straight Pro-Bowl appearances. Their justification was that he's 34 and by releasing him, they could allocate the money to re-signing All-Pro linebacker C.J. Mosley. Solid reasoning, if Mosley didn't sign with the New York Jets in the offseason.

Credit must be given, however, to the four-year, $55 million contract given to former Seattle Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Coming off a broken leg, he is easily the biggest X-factor for this defense. If he produces like the Earl Thomas of old, it'll more than makeup for the loss of the Weddle. They'll also be getting back defensive tackle Willie Henry from injury, who's young and hungry.

Although last years' defense was one of, if not the top unit in the NFL, all anyone could manage to talk about was the dynamic offense led by rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. Coach John Harbaugh threw caution to the wind and handed the reins to Jackson in Week 10, and the Ravens proceeded to win six of their next seven games behind a run-dominated offense.

It's a toss-up if they'll be able to replicate that success this season. On the one hand, the unconventional attack took the league by storm last year and one could argue the league just needed time to adapt to this new-look offense. On the other hand, the Ravens did add some electric new pieces to the offense to replace the losses of wide receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown. 

They added Mark Ingram who is one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league when healthy. Their first-round pick, wide receiver Marquise Brown, is one of the fastest players Todd McShay has ever evaluated. Third-round pick wide receiver Miles Boykin was one of the 20 fastest players at the draft and fourth-round pick  Justice Hill registered the fastest 40 time for running backs at the combine. Adding young, electric talent will enhance Jackson's already stellar playmaking ability. 

At tight end, they're one of the deepest teams in the NFL, headed up by Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst. Keep in mind, however, that this is the NFL: it all starts with the quarterback. Jackson completed passes at a 58.2% clip last season. If the Ravens are serious about building around him, he'll have to improve as a passer. 

Taking the defensive deficiencies and questions on offense into account, and 12 is too high for the preseason power rankings; 16 is more appropriate. In his article, King writes about the Ravens saying, "They could win 11. They could win six." If I had to choose one outcome I'd take the latter.