Purple Saturday Preview: Week 6, Ravens Vs. Packers
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Note: This article was supposed to be run last Saturday. Due to technical issues, we had to delay publication. Check out what Zack was predicting for the game last Sunday, and compare the results of the matchup.
What a win for a team that needed to make a statement! With the whole football world speculating on whether the Ravens would crash and burn on the road in Miami, the Ravens pulled it out with a 26-23 win against the Dolphins. It wasn’t pretty, but in the end the Ravens did what they had to do by feeding the ball to Ray Rice 27 times. The All-Pro halfback responded well with 74 yards and two touchdowns, and put the Ravens in a position to open up their offense despite having another week of offensive line issues. The Ravens, as a team, rushed for a season high 133 yards in last week’s game, a testament to how difficult it has been for Baltimore to run this year.
In order to get a win this week, Baltimore is going to have to iron out its troublesome front line. Flacco was repeatedly pressured and took some monstrous hits in Miami, all of which he responded well to. The Super Bowl MVP was 19-32 with 269 yards passing despite being hit on every other play; meanwhile, Miami was without their star pass-rusher Cameron Wake. Green Bay is, however a different team than the Dolphins (obviously). They have a Super Bowl winning quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, as well as arguably one of the best receiving groups in football right now, which includes play makers like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones.
It’ll be on the Ravens defense this week to find a way to keep this offensive juggernaut out of the endzone. On the other hand, there will also be a lot of pressure on Baltimore’s offense to stay on the field and eat the clock in order to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. If the Ravens don’t dominate the tempo of this game, it could get ugly quick.
The Ravens have a few things going for them this week, however. Playing in M&T Bank stadium is definitely a plus for the Ravens, especially this week since the Packers have been struggling on the road. The Packers have played their ugliest games in opposing team’s stadiums this year. The Packers will also be without linebacker Clay Matthews and halfback James Starks. Look for Baltimore to try to exploit Green Bay’s secondary and use their running game to dictate time of possession, this won’t be easy to do as the Packers have the sixth best defense in the NFL right now. The absence of Clay Matthews should be a factor and could possibly be something the ravens take advantage of.
The Packers offense averages 453.2 yards a game so a lot of pressure will be on Baltimore’s defense to create pressure and force Aaron Rodgers to make bad decisions, much like what the Bengals did in week three to the Packers. The Ravens will need to capitalize on every mistake the Packers offense makes; there won’t be many. With a change at left tackle expected this week, the Ravens’ front line should improve. Eugene Monroe is expected to take the place of Bryant Mckinnie this week and allow Ray Rice to get more involved. Monroe has been taking snaps with the first team offense all week, with his addition Ray Rice could possibly start to get back to Pro Bowl form.
The keys to the game for Baltimore this week are:
1.) Keep Green Bay’s offense off the field.
2.) Don’t let Aaron Rodgers get comfortable in the pocket.
3.) Offensive line needs to play aggressive.
4.) Capitalize on mistakes.
5.) Keep an eye on Jordy Nelson– he seems to be Rodgers number one guy this year
6.) Don’t fumble the ball!
With the Packers on the horizon, these are a few things to think about before Sunday.
Zack’s Prediction: 31-27, Ravens