This upcoming Sunday the Baltimore Ravens travel to Dallas to face-off with the hottest team in the NFL currently. The Cowboys are on an eight-game win streak behind two electrifying rookies that are playing like seasoned veterans. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are taking the NFL by storm just nine games into their NFL careers.
While the rookies are getting all the attention, the Cowboys offensive line plays the most important role to their success. This star-studded line includes three first-round draft picks in Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zach Martin.
Behind this line, both Prescott and Elliott, along with the rest of the offense, are playing fast, aggressive, and efficient football. The unit is ranked 5th in the league, and is scoring 28.7 points a game.
Can Baltimore compete in this game?
Baltimore started the season hotter than it has in seven years, but sizzled after a 3-0 start. Following a heart breaking four-game losing streak, the squad has regrouped with two divisional wins, which placed them back on top of the AFC North. Along with those wins came something Baltimore was lacking in the prior weeks: confidence.
The Ravens’ 1st ranked defense will face its toughest test of the season while they try to prove they are indeed the NFL’s best.
Since the Bye Week, the defense has taken their game to the next level. In two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, they allowed an average of 210.5 yards per game and only 21 points total. Pittsburgh’s offense is widely regarded as a top three offense, and Cleveland’s offense has produced this season as well. The defense is playing with the mentality that they need to win games, and that is good for Baltimore.
While this is the toughest test Baltimore has faced so far, this will also be the toughest defense Dallas has faced to this point as well. The best two defenses Dallas has faced to this point come from their own division in Philadelphia and New York. New York held Dallas to 19 points in Week One, and Philadelphia could not hold on to two separate 10-point leads in Prime Time.
Baltimore’s defense has the tools to match up with Dallas’ offense. With no. 1 ranked rush defense, and arguably the best front seven in the NFL, Baltimore can test Elliott and the offensive line early. The secondary matches up well with the receivers in that Jimmy Smith can cover Dez Bryant while Tavon Young can focus on slot receiver Cole Beasley. If the defense can keep the ball in front of them and limit the rookies’ explosive plays, this game will be close.
If the game is close, can the offense step up and win the game?
Joe Flacco’s offense has left something to be desired this season. Many, myself included, expected the offense to be explosive and fun to watch this season, even with Flacco coming off a torn ACL. Flacco’s group has dealt with critical injuries to key players for much of the season, which has affected productivity.
Baltimore’s offense is currently ranked 27th in the league, and has shown problems getting into the endzone this year. Before his last game, Flacco had only thrown six touchdowns in eight games. In the second half alone against Cleveland, he drilled three passes to the endzone. Two of those passes came within the redzone, an area of weakness for Baltimore’s offense this season. After a stagnant first half against Cleveland, the offense revealed its potential. Touchdowns to three different targets, a two-point conversion, and moving the ball at will were all on display last Thursday.
Flacco needs to play a complete game in Dallas to compete. The defense can keep Baltimore in the game, but Flacco will need to produce the upset.
Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested
Per the report: Officers responded to a report of a car that had crashed into a tree on the 10000 block of Dolfield Road at about 6:48 a.m. Friday morning, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said.
Collins, 24, was arrested, however charges were not made public at the time of this writing.
Ravens vice president of public relations Chad Steele told The Baltimore Sun that the team has spoken with law enforcement and is aware of the situation involving Collins.
Collins is coming off a down year with Baltimore after a breakout campaign in 2017. Collins managed only 411 yards rushing in 2018 and was placed on injured reserve back in December, ending his season early.
Ray Rice Says He Is Done With Football
Former NFL running back Ray Rice, who had been working to try and get a second chance in the NFL over the past couple of years, is no longer pursuing a comeback.
“The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most.”
Rice was suspended indefinitely back in 2014 when a video surfaces showing Rice punching his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Rice while the two were alone in an elevator.
Rice was never picked up by another team following the conclusion of his suspension, and his release from the Baltimore Ravens.
Rice said that he sees “similarities” between his situation and the one of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was recently cut loose by the team when a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman in a hallway.
“Somewhere down the line everybody who’s sayin’, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other— I actually got my second chance” Rice said of Hunt, who cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
“During my darkest moments, and I used to ask myself, ‘How could she even be—want to support me?’ … That’s understandable. But I think what’s misunderstood about us is that the friends we were before the incident. That’s why, like I said, when I look at Kareem Hunt, I wanna know what his life was like. I want to know what happened in life. I know Kareem has apologized, and has expressed remorse for survivors of domestic violence.”
Ravens Trying To Entice Fans With Lower Concession Prices
The Baltimore Ravens are attempting to win back fans and their latest plan is making a big step toward doing just that as the team announced on Tuesday that they will reduce concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium in 2018.
The Ravens have been on a mission to bring back fans who were angered by some players’ national anthem protests coupled with their 3-year playoff drought.
A series of moves have demonstrated their efforts. The team invited fans to ask questions at a media pre-draft news conference held a question-and-answer session with fans at the team facility with owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome, and also have had team president Dick Cass meet and talk to fan clubs.
While the team has sold out every game during their 20-year history at M&T Bank Stadium, empty seats grew in numbers as the 2017 season wore on, and the no-shows are very obvious.
The organization is taking this initiative very seriously.
“It’s something I would really like to take a hard look at, and at least, come up with select items that we can do,” Bisciotti said back in February of this year.
“If it means us … I can’t make Aramark do that with me, but I can make them go along as long as it’s my share of the profits that I’m waiving. Yeah, I’d like to take a look at that. I think we could probably do that.”
There is an official news conference scheduled for Thursday where the Ravens will officially announce price reductions on concessions.
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