Iggy’s Ravens Report – December 26, 2012
Finally, a convincing win. The Giants elected to receive (not defer) the opening kickoff, and the Raven’s D came out strong again. The weak Giants D allowed the Ravens to move the ball freely all afternoon, leaving Eli off balance and out of Sync again. Now, the Ravens will face the Bengals in a relatively meaningless game since Cincinnati has clinched the 6 seed, and the Ravens don’t have much hope of changing their current positioning of 4 seed. If New England were to lose (4:25 game) to Miami, and the Ravens win, we could move into the #3 spot, but, at 10.5 point favorites, the patriots are expected to walk all over the fins. At the #4 seed, the Ravens will host the Luck-y Colts for a Wild Card round playoff game. If they were to sneak up into the #3 spot, they would host Cincinnati for that game instead. A first round bye is right out, thanks to the shellacking we took at the hands of Eli’s big brother, and team nemesis, Peyton.
This week, the Ravens play their best Friend: The team that took the pittsburgh stealers out of the playoffs. The keys to the game are quite simple: Stay loose and healthy. The Ravens need to move the ball consistently on offense, and remain persistent on defense so they don’t waddle into the playoffs scratching their head. Most importantly, however, is to stay healthy. We made the playoffs, and our positioning is unlikely to change, so play some good football, but don’t kill ourselves for the next week, which is poised to be an emotional (Pagano) game against another rising star.
Before I end this week, I have a few words on Average Joe Flacco. Joe is the best and longest lasting Quarterback this franchise has had in it’s short history, but questions still need to be asked about his future in Baltimore. Sporting average (or slightly above) numbers, Joe (and coach Harbs) has lead the Ravens to the Playoffs for 5 straight years, with the potential of posting playoff wins in all 5 of those years. Earlier in his tenure, he was riding the strength of the defense for good field position to bolster the teams results, but with the defense struggling with injuries, the results have been more volatile this season. Joe has asked for top tier quarterback money, but elite quarterbacks win Super Bowls, and the Ravens have not, despite being well poised to do so last year. The Ravens are not built for a deep playoff run this year either (surprise me), which leaves a lot of questions for Joe and his future in Baltimore. Cam Cameron, believed to be the one holding Joe back, is now gone, so it is all on Joe now. He has until the end of this season (post season included) to earn the big paycheck he has been asking for, or accept something less. The Ravens would be foolish to franchise Joe, but sending him out to check out the market is just as foolish since there is always an “Arizona” out there with money to spend, who will over pay for a proven (but average) 5 year NFL starter. With a make-shift front line protecting him, Joe needs to find a way to make things happen, or hard decisions will need to be made by both both Flacco and the Ravens.