Posted in Hot Take of the Week

NFL Overtime debate: Bills deserve loss, but we deserve a new format

By Chris Schisler 

NFL Overtime doesn’t need a change but it should change anyway

The Buffalo Bills lost a heartbreaking playoff game to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The game went into overtime. Patrick Mahomes got the ball first and took his team the distance. There was no opportunity for a Bills counterstrike, Josh Allen didn’t get the ball. Of course, this game was played by the rules, yet we can forgive the Bills Mafia if they believe the rules should be tinkered with.

It’s not necessarily unfair. Overtime technically works as it is. If you play defense and get a stop you’re actually at an advantage. After the stop you’ll get better field position and then you just need a field goal. The problem is when you get to a situation like the NFL had at the end of the divisional round, it doesn’t feel fair. Everyone watching knew the team that won the coin toss was winning the game. The coin flipped the Chiefs way and made Josh Allen’s and Gabriel Davis’s masterful performances a moot point.

College football overtime is a fun alternative. In this scenario, each team gets a possession at the 25-yard line, right outside of the red zone. Whoever is ahead at the end of the untimed period wins. If the teams match scores, we go into double overtime and so on and so on. This is an entirely different experience and nobody is leaving without touching the ball in overtime. It takes away the who question of “But what if the other team won the coin toss?”

Change already happened, now go all the way there: 

The league already changed the sudden death rules once, so it’s not like we have to abide by the rules that won the Baltimore Colts a championship when Alan Ameche scored the first sudden-death touchdown. Once they took a field goals power away on the first overtime possession, by not allowing it to decide the game, the NFL acknowledged an overtime dilemma. They chose a half measure.

Changing the rules to give both teams a guaranteed possession would have given us what we wanted, more of that incredible game. If the Bills had a chance to respond to the Chiefs touchdown, we wouldn’t be debating the all-mighty power of a coin flip. No football fan would have anything to bicker about, they’d get a satisfying process, even if it wasn’t the outcome they were pulling for.

The Bills tempted fate. They asked for this. Buffalo saw fire, touched fire, and learned it hurt. They asked for this when they gave up two Chiefs scores in less time than it takes to read this blog post. They had a lead with 13 seconds. Buffalo had a lead with 13 seconds and they lost. You can argue they lost fair and square. Letting the game get tied at all with 13 seconds is unforgivable.

The fact that this game shouldn’t have gone into overtime in the first place doesn’t mean it didn’t point out a problem. The team that wins the toss usually wins. If the idea is starting a brand new football game, why should either team get a huge advantage? The NFL official basically said that they were starting a new game. Getting the ball at the beginning of the game or after halftime is monumentally different than getting the ball to start overtime. 

The Bottom Line on NFL Overtime: 

Seeing what is essentially a shootout between Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes would have been the most compelling television in human history. You were already at the edge of your seat. The game was an instant classic, imagine what using the college overtime rules would have added to the enjoyment of the game. It would have been the most interesting moment in the history of the NFL playoffs. 

NEXT POST: Don Martindale out as Ravens defensive coordinator: Breaking it down

The NFL added a Monday night wild card game for entertainment purposes, not a football purpose. They already like this line of thinking. Overtime doesn’t need a change, however changing it could make it a better version of free football. In my personal opinion, there’s nothing more entertaining in sports than College Football overtime. The NFL should do this. They won’t, but they should.  

 

 

 

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens: What we learned week 2

By Chris Schisler

The Las Vegas Raiders are a tougher opponent than we thought they were in week 1:

When the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Las Vegas Raiders it was an annoyance. Here was a game that most pundits had chalked up as a win when the schedule came out. It wasn’t until all the injuries mounted up that the idea of the Raiders winning the opening game caught on. To be honest much of that was an overreaction to the Baltimore Ravens injuries. It was so quickly fired off bad news that it seemed like the Ravens were limping into the season. 

The Raiders are a really good football team. After week 1, the Raiders had to follow up on their performance. The Ravens had excuses and the Raiders were slightly above average last season. The Raiders went into Pittsburgh and straight-up handled the Steelers. Derek Carr sliced up a very good Pittsburgh defense for another 382 yards and two touchdowns. Four different Raiders caught five passes. The defensive front dominated Pittsburgh. Solomon Thomas had two sacks and the Raiders got an interception off Big Ben. 

The Raiders are now 2-0. They look like one of the best teams in the AFC and the shame of losing to them has gone away. Did the Ravens have issues on that Monday Night Football appearance? Absolutely. One of them though was that just about everybody underestimated Jon Gruden, Derek Carr, and the Raiders. 

The Baltimore Ravens offensive line may not be a dumpster fire:

Now John Harbaugh gave everyone a game ball because he saw it as a total team win. A lot of players stepped up to beat the Chiefs in the most shocking fashion imaginable. The entire offensive line played an entirely improved game against the Chiefs. Alejandro Villanueva looked shockingly smooth at the left tackle position. The Ravens saw their line move people off the ball. The offense didn’t miss a beat without Ronnie Stanley. That’s something I never imagined saying. 

The Ravens introduced a rotation at left guard that got Ben Cleveland involved. It’s different, but it works. Lamar Jackson and three other ball carriers averaged over four yards per rushing attempt. Jackson had some pressure to deal with and was sacked once, but the offensive line gave him the shot he needed to finally beat the Chiefs. The effort of the offensive line was off the charts and it kept the Ravens on schedule in a game they couldn’t go too long without scoring. 

Lamar Jackson’s mental toughness came through and he can beat anybody: 

Lamar Jackson’s first pass was a pick-six. Now, it wasn’t his fault-Sammy Watkins slipped-but it was a disaster start. Jackson took the Ravens right back out there and he got them in the end zone. When he had a boneheaded interception into triple coverage he didn’t panic. He reeled himself back in and played one of the best games of his life. Jackson just didn’t let anything derail him. His mental toughness won this game. 

There couldn’t be a better stage for a player that is criticized for “Not being able to beat the Chiefs” and “Not being able to make a comeback.” This was the stage of Jackson’s dreams. The opportunity was there to crush and erase all the false narratives about him as a quarterback. Jackson went 18-26 passing for 236 yards. He ran for 107 yards. When the Ravens needed one more first down to seal the game, he knew he was going to get it. Jackson is the real deal.

P.S. Anybody who still says he can’t throw didn’t see that pop pass down the field to Lamar Jackson. I’m not sure Patrick Mahomes can even do that and Mahomes is also a generational talent. Put every narrative about Jackson on the bench, except for the one that says he’s the MVP. 

Odafe Oweh looks like the real deal:

It has recently been announced that Odafe Oweh is the Defensive Player of the Week for the AFC. Oweh forced the all-important fumble of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He hit Patrick Mahomes as he threw an interception to Tavon Young. The Ravens couldn’t have won this game without Oweh. He looks like a first-round pick on the field. This is great news for the Ravens. He’s explosive and he’s getting involved in a big way early. 

Despite stepping up when it mattered, the Baltimore defense has concerns

The defense deserves credit for shutting the Chiefs out in the fourth quarter. Don Martindale deserves credit for not throwing a fit as Mahomes made the first three quarters look too easy. The defense has to get some praise. It still has to come with a dose of tough love. The Ravens have issues on defense. They seem incapable of covering tight ends.

They have given up a ton of passing yards in two weeks and open-field tackling has not been a strong suit. The Ravens haven’t had Jimmy Smith or Derek Wolfe and they’ve lost Marcus Peters for the season. That’s not the only source of their problems though. The Ravens get a passing grade for an amazing fourth-quarter comeback. They just need to make progress moving forward. The defense can be improved and it must be done as soon as possible. 

NEXT POST: Ravens shock Chiefs: Good, bad and ugly

The Baltimore Ravens got themselves a huge win. These are the top five lessons to take out of the second week of the NFL season. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Ravens shock Chiefs: Good, bad and ugly

By Chris Schisler 

The Baltimore Ravens obviously have a lot of good to go over from their thrilling 35-36 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Ravens’ offensive line performed like a completely different group than they did against the Raiders. Alejandro Villanueva shockingly held his own, filling in for Ronnie Stanley at left tackle. Pat Mekari did a decent job on the right and there even was a Ben Cleveland sighting.

This allowed the offense to stay on the field and have some of the most important drives of the Lamar Jackson era. The Ravens picked up 31 first downs and had 481 total yards. Jackson, Ty’son Williams, Latavius Murray and, Devonta Freeman all had positive showings on the ground. Williams even got a lucky bounce, as the ball popped up and back into safety for the touchdown.

The cool thing about it is that the Ravens did it their way in a character-defining play. 251 rushing yards and 230 passing is the Greg Roman offense working the way it was intended. Marquise Brown was a game-changer. Brown is going to have a breakout year. He looked like a game-changer. The offense lived up to the moment. They lifted the team up.

The defense did just enough and made key plays: 

Odafe Oweh is the biggest bright spot defensively. Oweh forced the game-winning fumble. He got the pressure that led to the Patrick Mahomes interception. Tavon Young had a rough day but that interception was gold. Oweh was explosive off the edge and was a key component of the fourth quarter shutout.

Mahomes had 343 yards and three touchdowns. Whatever Don  Martindale did, Mahomes could move the ball. Still, Tyreek Hill registered as a statistical non-factor and the defense stepped up when it absolutely needed to. Anthony Averett and De’Shon Elliot deserve some praise today.

The biggest thing here is the heart the team had. With that, the Ravens really found themselves. When Lamar Jackson zoned in and played within himself everything became possible. 

The Bad

Tackling and flow to the football could have been better. Bryon Pringle and Travis Kelce both scored touchdowns where they had long runs after the catch for a touchdown. For the second week in a row, the Ravens gave up over 100 yards to a tight end. It’s going to be fun not having to deal with Darren Waller or Kelce the rest of the regular season.

The game started out with a pick-six. It really wasn’t a mistake from Jackson as Sammy Watkins slipped. That slip was costly and it was a rough start.

The scary thing is that the Ravens left some points on the field. There were a few drives that didn’t manifest into points that absolutely should have. Jackson threw a pass into triple coverage and was picked off in the second quarter. Jackson had an open receiver underneath and had no reason to throw that football. They should have picked up the first down. They should have scored at least three there. Two interceptions and some stalled drives (mostly because of iffy play-calls) could have cost the Ravens more dearly. Let’s be honest, the Ravens made too many mistakes against a team that doesn’t need any help.

The Ugly

The Ravens got hampered by the officials. This was one of the worst called games I’ve ever seen. The worst example was the phantom illegal man downfield that took away a two-point conversion. Thankfully, it didn’t cost the Ravens the game. It did seem like the officials were trying to help the Chiefs.

Martindale deserves credit for how the defense finished. His defense still gave up 28 points. The idea of not blitzing Patrick Mahomes didn’t work all that well. The defensive line wasn’t generating enough pressure. For most of this game, Mahomes had a very clean pocket to throw the football.

NEXT POST: Ravens win over the Chiefs: Processing all the emotions of the game

The comeback was a thing of beauty. The Ravens put themselves in a position where they had to do it the hard way. They got just enough stops, though this defense for the second straight week had some issues.

 

 

 

Posted in NFL News

Ravens win over the Chiefs: Processing all the emotions of the game

By Chris Schisler

What the Baltimore Ravens victory over the Kansas City Chiefs meant is hard to put into words. That’s kind of a pickle for me because that’s my job here. In a game where the Ravens were essentially counted out, they beat the top contender in the AFC. It may have been the greatest game M&T Bank Stadium has ever seen.

The game started with a pick-six, where Sammy Watkins slipped and the Chiefs got an easy score. If you would have told any Ravens fan that this is how the game would start, nobody would have seen this ending coming. This game made you feel all the feels and was a crazy rollercoaster.

The Ravens had to play without Ronnie Stanley at left tackle. The Ravens were already the most banged-up team in the NFL and they were coming off a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in week one. There were 100 reasons to think the Ravens weren’t going to pull away with this momentous victory, Heck, this game seemed over and lost a handful of times.

This game was crazy

Going into the fourth quarter the Chiefs held a commanding 35-24 point lead. Here’s what happened in that final quarter of play. The Ravens outscored the Chiefs 12-0. Odafe Oweh got heavily involved. He forced the Patrick Mahomes interception and then poked out the ball on the Chiefs’ final shot with the football. Lamar Jackson sealed the deal with a gutsy fourth-down conversion and M&T Bank Stadium came alive like never before.

The defense had given up a couple of touchdowns where they just couldn’t make a tackle. It was frustrating. The heart that the entire team showed, especially on defense down the stretch was unbelievable. This game was the biggest roller-coaster of emotions and nobody on the Ravens gave up, even when it seemed lost.

The effort and the will to win really came through. Baltimore was put in a tough spot in this game and the game wasn’t easy. Winning the way they did, it couldn’t be replicated. It couldn’t possibly be replicated in 1,000,000 tries. This was a special moment that you don’t see every year. Speaking as someone who was at the game, the emotional roller coaster was intense. This was an all-time classic. A moment nobody can ever forget.

Lamar had his big win against the Chiefs:

This may have been the greatest regular-season victory the Ravens have ever had. It was a comeback win with the most dramatic action you could imagine. There’s plenty of time to dive into the analysis of this game. Right now, Ravens fans have to process the emotions of this game.

This was such a validating win for Lamar Jackson. While Jackson didn’t play mistake-free football, he was an MVP on Sunday Night Football. He put the team on his back and made some of the most impressive plays you’ll see all season.

He rushed for over 100 yards and passed for just over 230 yards. Jackson finally beat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. He had a comeback win where he took on all the pressure and carried the offense on his back. If one of your takeaways isn’t that Lamar Jackson is the MVP of the NFL, I don’t know how to help you.

What the win means:

While the season wouldn’t have been over at 0-2, it would have felt devastating. The Ravens, who weren’t at full strength yet, proved that they are still contenders in the AFC. The Ravens were able to do something the Browns couldn’t quite pull off. The Browns gave the Chiefs a run for their money, the Ravens actually claimed victory against the Chiefs.

Winning this game means that the Ravens can beat absolutely anybody. The Ravens were supposed to be getting right and turning things around after the Chiefs. Now they can stack up wins with games against the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, and Los Angeles Chargers. This is a huge chance for a Ravens team that will get Ronnie Stanley back and is awaiting the return of Nick Boyle and Rashod Bateman.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Top 10 Offensive linemen in franchise history

We’ve got plenty of analysis coming for this game. For now, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the moment. This was a once-in-a-lifetime game and one of the best (if not the best) games the Ravens have ever treated their home crowd to. Wow. Just wow. This game will go down as an all-time great.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Baltimore Ravens keys vs Chiefs: Video preview of Sunday Night Football

Chris Schisler breaks down Chiefs vs. Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have a big battle in a tough spot. With more injuries than any season other than maybe 2015 already, the Ravens have to take on the team that has repped the AFC in the Super Bowl two years in a row. It’s a powerhouse team coming to Baltimore, to take on a team with an early-season slogan of “Next man up.”

In the video, PBN lead writer Chris Shisler talks about the finale of the second NFL Sunday. What does the offense need to do? Is it all on Lamar Jackson?

Hot post: Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The psychology of the game

What does Don Martindale do with the problems in the secondary against the top passing attack in the NFL? What’s the secret key to slowing down Patrick Mahomes? In the video, all of these things are discussed.

For the writing part of our game preview, let’s take a look at three players on both sides of the ball for the Ravens.

Players to watch on the Baltimore Ravens defense

  1. Odafe Oweh: The Ravens need to win off the edges in this game. The Ravens have to be able to generate pressure without blitzing. This is a tall task for the Ravens, so thinking the big picture isn’t a bad idea. Progress from Oweh and some flashy plays could at the very least give the Ravens something to hold onto regardless of the score.
  2. Anthony Averett: There is a ton of pressure on Anthony Averett in this game. The Chiefs have a high octane offense. It’s not just about stopping Tyreek Hill. Mecole Hardman is a real handful, and this could be a tough assignment for Averett. This would have been a tough game for Marcus Peters, which magnifies the pressure on Averett.
  3. Justin Madubuike: Inside pressure wouldn’t hurt in this one. Madabuike could pressure Mahomes and make the pocket uncomfortable for him. That’s something that has been missing in the previous battles with the Chiefs.

Players not named Lamar Jackson to watch on the offense:

  1. Patrick Mekari: There isn’t much reason for optimism with Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle. Assuming Ronnie Stanley doesn’t play, Villanueva is expected to start at left tackle. Pat Mekari on the right side could offer surprisingly good play. Mekari is a solid run blocker, and he’s experienced in Greg Roman’s offense. Pass protection may not be great, but as long as it’s solid, Mekari could give the ground game a boost on the right, with the help of guard, Kevin Zeitler.
  2. Mark Andrews: You know how the Ravens don’t an answer for Travis Kelce? Let’s not pretend that the Chiefs have an answer for Mark Andrews. Jackson needs all the help he can get to, and Andrews is the obvious matchup problem for the Chiefs.
  3. Devonta Freeman: Freeman is now on the active roster. The Ravens couldn’t seem to commit to Ty’Son Williams or Latavius Murray after Monday Night Football’s debacle. Freeman could get his chance to show off. Does he have anything left in the tank? Is he any better than the other running backs? We’ll find out on Sunday evening.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens battle the Chiefs: 3 keys for the offense

Get ready for the game Baltimore. This game promises to be an emotional one, no matter what happens. The Baltimore Ravens are either looking at 0-2, or a revitalizing first win that nobody saw coming. The Purple and Black Nest will be there for you after this game. My sincere hope here is that we gave you the proper perspective for this week two game. Let’s go.

 

Posted in Pregame Content

Baltimore Ravens battle the Chiefs: 3 keys for the offense

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens are up against it. That’s what it feels like. They have to take on the team that has represented the AFC in the past two Super Bowls, without Ronnie Stanley (On top of all their other injuries). The offensive line already seemed too problematic. Now it feels like a crippling blow.

No game in the NFL is a gimme, so the Ravens have to take this seriously. What are the keys to the Ravens’ offense in this game? Their job is to make it work, so how do they honestly go about their job? Here are three keys to the game.

1. Use Jackson’s athleticism to counter the offensive line issues:

The Baltimore Ravens have Alejandro Villanueva playing left tackle on Sunday. After seeing Villanueva struggle against the Las Vegas Raiders, that’s a seriously tough ask of Villanueva. It looks like Pat Mekari is the right tackle -after the injury of Tyre Phillips, there aren’t many other options. This offensive line isn’t going to function smoothly. There is no evidence to suggest that this offensive line can work together in unison. Jackson can’t stay in the pocket all day. He has to be an ever-moving target for the Chiefs.

Any play that allows Jackson to roll out and move the pocket is a good thing. It’s almost inhumane to leave him behind this offensive line in the pocket. He’s going to be running for his life all day anyway, there’s no getting around it. Jackson is going to have to get involved in the running game and he’s going to have to be able to move out of the pocket as a passer.

If Jackson doesn’t rush for 100 yards in this game, the Ravens will have problems. Does Jackson want to show that he can do it from the pocket against the Chiefs? You know that he does. If you’ve been paying attention, you know Jackson can do that. The only thing that matters is keeping Jackson upright the whole game. To do that, Jackson has to be a moving target. His athleticism has to save the day by design rather than out of desperation because the play broke down.

2. The Baltimore Ravens need to run the ball like the Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They can’t keep the defense on the field too much against Patrick Mahomes. Even with a valiant effort, the defensive dam will break. They might not want to attempt long drives that can expose this offensive line but they have no choice. They need to win the Ravens’ way. I’m talking about an elite running game and drives that suck the life out of the other team’s chances.

The good news for the Ravens is twofold. First, Patrick Mekari is a good run blocker. If he is going to be the right tackle, that could work for the ground attack. Secondly, the Chiefs couldn’t stop the run against the Browns. While the Kansas City defense seems to step up when they need to, they have a ton of problems defensively.

A lot of Ravens fans may not want to hear this, but they need to go full Greg Roman to win this game. They need a creative and nontraditional offense focused on the running game. They need to stick with it too, no matter what. Otherwise, Jackson is in a very unfair position behind an offensive line that is the pass blocking equivalent to asking the Powerpuff Girls to stop the Avengers. If a running back gets a hot hand, stick with that running back.

3. Tire out the Chiefs and negate pass rush with play-calls

The Ravens need to get some screen passes going in this game. How about some wide receiver screens? I’m thinking a pop pass to Mark Andrews when it looks like he’s going to be a blocker initially. I’m thinking about a jet sweep to Tylan Wallace and a fake built off of it. If you want to see if Marquise Brown or Sammy Watkins can throw a pass, it’s not a bad time for a trick play. The point is that the Ravens need to keep the Chiefs guessing and chasing.

Short passes out to the receivers with some blocking built-in will get the Chiefs chasing speed. Screens are also a timely call that negates blitzing and nullifies weakness on the offensive line.  The run game will tire out the Chiefs if the Ravens do what they need to do in this game. As bleak as it looks, the Ravens have enough talent on offense to make this work. If they come into the game with the plan of attack they had for the Raiders though they’re in trouble. They need to get creative and do things to get play-makers in space.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The psychology of the game

The injuries don’t need to be an excuse. Let’s see how creative the Ravens can get. Should the Ravens answer the call, it may work out in a surprising fashion. If the Ravens don’t have fun with it and don’t do some of these things it could be a long day. That’s the bottom line, if the Ravens are inspired making some fun changes on the offense could help overcome injuries and throw the Chiefs off balance defensively.

 

 

 

 

Posted in NFL News

NFL Week 2: Picks for every game on the NFL slate

By Chris Schisler

It’s time for the second week of the NFL season. Here is a look at my picks for the full slate. In week 1 my picks went 9-7. Like with all predictions, take it for whatever it’s worth. Each predicted NFL winner will be highlighted in Purple.

NFL Picks from PBN

Giants @ Washington

This is a game I would stay away from in terms of a betting perspective. That being said, Joe Judge and the Giants don’t inspire any confidence. I see Daniel Jones having a lot of problems in this Thursday Night Football game. Look for Chase Young and company to have a dominant performance against a Giants offensive line that seemingly can never get right.

Patriots @ Jets

The Patriots are a better football team than the Jets. The Patriots lost a close one to the Dolphins in the first week of the season. Mac Jones was very efficient in his debut as the Patriots quarterback. I think the Patriots play a rather conservative game offensively and it grinds out a win. Bill Bellichick wins this one and gives Zach Wilson a rough second game.

Broncos @ Jaguars

The Broncos were supposed to beat the Giants. They think they have something going. Their defense was smothering in week 1. Their offense has just enough going for them with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. None of that matters though. The Jaguars are awful and Urban Meyer will continue to show he’s not suited to be an NFL coach.

Bills @ Dolphins

The Bills looked awful in their opener against the Steelers, something we’re not very happy about at PBN. Look for the Bills to get right in this game. They need to find a little balance with their offense. Meanwhile, their defense should be able to keep the Dolphins under 20 points. That should do it.

49ers @ Eagles

The 49ers showed me something in week 1 and it wasn’t good. They should have cleaned the clock with the Detroit Lions. Instead, the Lions almost finished an amazing comeback. The Eagles looked good. Devonta Smith is the real deal, Jalen Hurts looks confident and most importantly should be a bigger difference-maker than Jared Goff.

Rams @ Colts

The Colts looked awful at home against the Seahawks, so home-field advantage doesn’t quite matter here. Matthew Stafford should have his way with the Colts defense. The Rams defense should stop a Colts offense that is searching for answers.

Raiders @ Steelers

A week ago, I probably would have rolled with the arch-enemy Steelers in this one. Now, I see the Raiders as the worst possible week 2 matchup for a Pittsburgh team that has similar issues on the offensive line as the Ravens. The Raiders defensive front is going to take over this game. Derek Carr will be ready to make some big plays off of Ben Roethlisberger turnovers. Plus, keep in mind the Steelers have a weird history of losing games they shouldn’t to the Raiders.

Bengals @ Bears

Joe Burrow will put up more points than Andy Dalton. Hopefully, one more loss pushes Justin Fields onto the field as the starter for the Bears. The Bears are not done being done, the Bengals are going to put up some points with a young quarterback with plenty of weapons.

Texans @ Browns

Next question. This doesn’t need much explanation. The Browns are contenders, the Texans beating up on Jacksonville proved nothing. The talent level isn’t even here. Browns win big.

Saints @ Panthers

Anything the Saints can do to the Packers, they can do better to the Panthers. Christian McCaffery can’t do everything, and Sean Payton and Jameis Winston seem to get each other. Give me the Saints. Who Dat!

Vikings @ Cardinals

Kyler Murray looked great last week. The Cardinals defense had their way against a Titans team that was supposed to be high-powered. Give me the Cardinals here. The Vikings lost a tight one to the Bengals last week, and they have to play much better to compete in this one.

Falcons @ Buccaneers

NEXT! I can’t take analyzing this one seriously. The Buccaneers are the defending champions. The Falcons just got embarrassed by the Eagles. NEXT!!!

Titans @ Seahawks

Even if Ryan Tannehill puts some points on the board, can the Titans stop Russell Wilson? Kyler Murray and Wilson have a lot in common. I think it’s going to be a very similar story two weeks in a row for the Titans.

Cowboys @ Chargers

Get ready for a shootout ladies and gentlemen. Get ready for a shootout. Justin Herbert vs. Dak Prescott. This should be fun, the Cowboys’ offense will just be too much for the Chargers.

Chiefs @ Ravens

The Chiefs are good. I’d absolutely love to be wrong. The Ravens have nothing going their way and now will be without Ronnie Stanley. Much more is on the way about this game. I can only be so confident after Monday Night Football. I can’t bet against the Chiefs here. That’s the pick that hurts the heart but makes sense to the mind.

Lions @ Packers finish the NFL week

Do the Packers get right on Monday night? Against the Lions, they better.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The psychology of the game

Have fun, bet responsibly and get your football on.

Posted in Hot Take of the Week

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The psychology of the game

By Chris Schisler 

The Baltimore Ravens can beat the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s possible. The Chiefs aren’t infallible and the Ravens might be 0-1 but they’re not the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s somewhere in the range of possibilities even if you shouldn’t bet money on it. You 100 percent should not put money on it. 

Things seem to stack against the Baltimore Ravens here. They just had a rotten opener with problems in the secondary and the offensive line being the top culprits. The Ravens are banged up early in the season and won’t be at full strength probably until the first quarter of the season is in the books. Please keep in mind that full strength isn’t what full strength was supposed to be anymore. On top of that, the Chiefs are the Chiefs and they have the Ravens’ number.

The big key here is the Ravens putting their best foot forward. There are no moral victories, however, if they do indeed lose, the way it happens matters. If John Harbaugh is going to start out 0-2 it better come with some progress.

The Ravens need to go into this game trying to win. They have to play a completely different brand of football than they showed their first national audience on Monday. This game offers the Ravens a test of character and heart. Do they curl up and give in, or do they fight back and desperately try to kick themselves out of a corner. The psychology of the game puts every single ounce of pressure on the Baltimore Ravens.

In addition to testing the resolve of the purple and black, this is a great game to catch the top team in the AFC by surprise. Before all the injuries the Ravens were considered viable Super Bowl contenders. The circumstances of this game could be building a false David vs Goliath dichotomy. It’s a night game, fans are back, and the Ravens have a ton of talent that didn’t go away.

A slow start for the Ravens could be a death sentence to their chances. The Ravens have developed a pattern of falling apart against the Chiefs. Panic mode is good for mistakes and compounding problems that get the game out of hand. The Ravens need to start strong. The more rounds they can go toe to toe with the Chiefs, the more confidence is they’ll have. The Ravens have to make themselves believers during the course of this game. If it’s close, if there’s a chance of seeing a victory, it could really propel the crowd and the team.

The Baltimore Ravens have issues on top of issues

Lamar Jackson has to recover from his two fumble ending to the Raiders game. He has to keep himself grounded because his emotions and his want to do it all could bite him in this game. With the injuries to the Ravens, Jackson really has to do an unfair amount of the heavy lifting. Jackson has no choice but to try to have another MVP season. 

The offensive line needs to just find a way to make this work. They have problems you don’t solve in a week. Mentally they have to be prepared to overcome it all. Now it has been reported by Jason La Canfora that the Ravens will be without Ronnie Stanley against the Chiefs. A struggling offensive line is now without their top player. It doesn’t have to be pretty- there’s almost no way it can be. The Ravens just have to scrape together enough blocking to make this offense functional. 

Get ready for Alejandro Villanueva on the left side and Patrick Mekari at right tackle. Get ready to be at least a medium level of frustrated by this while you watch the game. 

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has reported that Chris Westry is out with a torn meniscus. Don Martindale and the defense need to find answers and clarity heading into this battle. Jimmy Smith needs to get healthy and ready quickly. Tavon Young has to see if he can stay healthy, and he needs to knock off some rust from missing so much football.

Martindale has to have a clear plan. One thing is for sure he can’t depend on his cornerbacks to play lockdown coverage across the board, he has to adjust and call a masterful game just to keep Baltimore in it. 

There’s a lot of work to do and a lot of it is just having the team be mentally prepared and composed for week 2. Bad luck has come and it hasn’t let up since they lost J.K. Dobbins. With today’s reported injuries added to the list, it takes a lot of deep breaths to realize the season isn’t over/ If you feel like it is though, as a Ravens fan I’m not judging you. This is tough and it’s a difficult road to start on this early. 

The Ravens Flock won’t need much to get rocking. When you consider the passion of the fanbase and the fact that there were no crowds last season, people will be eager to get back to the stadium. Still, things could go sour quickly. The fans are eager to go back to games yet this shouldn’t be mistaken for patience. The Ravens need to try to give the fans a night they’ll never forget. They need to attempt making this bigger than a game, they need to make this a moment.

With an 0-1 record and the entire football world practically locked in on the Chiefs, a win would be the regular season equivalent of the Mile High Miracle. It’s a big game in a tough spot against a juggernaut of a team. If the Ravens win this game it would go down in Ravens’ lure along with games like the 2003 comeback against the Seattle Seahawks and the 47-42 win over the Browns last year.

The Bottom Line: 

This wouldn’t be just any other win for the Ravens. As big as the moment is it’s important not to get too high or too low. A win would only reach this momentous meaning because of how hard it would be for this injury-plagued Ravens team. That win is possible, a loss seems more likely. Far more likely. Injuries have taken so much from this team. 

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Keeping perspective after rough loss to Raiders

Baltimore must leave Sunday with at least a silver lining of hope. What they can’t do is panic, crumble and let the train fall off the tracks after two games. It’s an emotionally burdensome place for fans to be. The coaches have the unenviable task of finding answers in a hurry. Emotions and psychology play a bigger role in the game than usual. How gritty can this team be? They have to dig deeper than ever before just to get by. When this game is over, we’ll know what kind of heart this team has. 

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens play Kansas City Chiefs at the right time in 2021

By Chris Schisler

The Ravens host the Chiefs early in the season for the second year in a row. Last time it was on ESPN on a Monday, this time it’s on Sunday Night Football on NBC. The next battle comes in Week 2. This is the perfect time to play the Chiefs.

The Baltimore Ravens have a thing about the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have knocked the purple and black down a peg in three meetings in a row. The last contest with the Chiefs was a disaster in M&T Bank Stadium on Monday Night Football. The Chiefs get in the head of the Baltimore Ravens as a team.

The first reason this is the perfect timing of this game is that it doesn’t give John Harbaugh and company any time to make this more than it is. If it was the first game of the season, the Ravens would almost assuredly overthink it. Let’s face it, that’s what they tend to do against the Chiefs.

The Ravens have months to get ready for the regular season. Their first battle is with the Las Vegas Raiders. While it is perfectly plausible that preparing for the Chiefs game can start this offseason, it can’t takeover the rest of the offseason. The Ravens are getting ready for Monday Night Football against the Raiders. One game at a time applies in May as well as during the season.

The second reason this is such a good time in the schedule to see the Chiefs is that they get to surprise Kansas City. The Ravens can save bows in their quiver for Andy Reid’s crimson clad roster. It’s just the second week of the season.

The Ravens want to show growth offensively. The Ravens should be able to run the ball well against the Las Vegas Raiders, while teasing what’s to come with their new look passing game. Having the Chiefs this quickly allows Lamar Jackson to send a statement to the NFL. If you’re going to send a statement, the Chiefs are the team to do it against.

No disrespect to the Raiders, but the Ravens built their new look offense to be able to win games against teams like the Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills and even the Cleveland Browns. Can the Ravens showcase their new look offense against the Raiders? Yes. Will the Ravens have to? Probably not.

Andy Reid knows John Harbaugh more than most coaches in the NFL. Reid used to be Harbaugh’s boss. What are the traits that are so obviously Harbaugh? How about being stubborn, predictable and, loyal to a fault.

Reid may not expect his former protege to push Greg Roman into some change as the offensive coordinator. Heck, a lot of us may be wondering about this at the moment. If the Ravens push towards being a new look offense, they could shock the Chiefs. The Chiefs keep beating the Ravens the same way. The best way to beat the Chiefs is by using a game plan that they are not ready for.

Another good thing about the Chiefs being the Ravens’ second opponent is that it gets one of the toughest games out of the way. If the Ravens lose a game to the Chiefs in the second week of the season it doesn’t have to define their season. If they lose by one point in a classic, it could even serve as a rallying cry heading into the postseason.

In the back half of the new 17 game slate, the Ravens play the Browns twice in three weeks. The Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers twice as well, including the regular season finale. Other opponents in the back portion of the season include the Green Bay Packers. and the Los Angeles Rams.

Imagine if the NFL swapped the Ravens Week 16 game against the Cincinnati Bengals with the Week 2 game against the Chiefs. That would be a murderer’s row to finish the regular season. Having one of the big heavy weight fights early is a good thing. That is especially true with the Chiefs, a team who has had the Ravens number.

The Bottom Line

Do we overthink the NFL schedule release? Yes. At the end of the day, the Ravens have to play when and where the NFL tells them to and we never know how things will shape up. That being said, the Ravens have as ideal scheduling as they can get in terms of playing the Chiefs. They get a chance to surprise their Jackson era rival, they don’t get a whole season to build it up and get in their own head, and it gets a big game out of the way.