The boys are back in (win) town, but are they here to stay?
Sunday, November 20th
7:00 AM (EST)
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Baltimore will take on their toughest opponent of the season so far when they head down to Arlington, Texas to take on the 8-1 Dallas Cowboys. It's not a favorable matchup no matter which way you slice it. FiveThirtyEight.com has the Ravens' chances to win at 25%, but if you've heard any analyst (besides Ray Lewis) talk about the game, Baltimore's odds are seemingly much worse. However, if the Cowboys are going to lose a second game this year, it's going to be because of shutdown defense by their opponent, something Ravens are second to none at providing. Dallas has coasted to eight straight victories thanks in no small part to Ezekiel Elliott and the running game, which has elevated the Cowboys to second in the league in total rushing yards with 1449. Meanwhile, however, Baltimore is thebest team at stopping the running game, having allowed only 642 yards all year.
Working in the Ravens' favor is that they are expecting to get two significant additions back from injury, as CJ Mosley and Marshal Yanda are likely to play should their participation in this week's round of practices serve as any indication.
This story was supposed to be in the Week 11 roundup, but I broke it out considering this was the biggest (and only) story.
Joe Flacco is an average quarterback, capable of great, and imperfect play. Is it fair to criticize his performance? Absolutely, just look at his Passer Rating of 78.3, which places him in the bottom five of the league. But is it fair to criticize his attitude? Well...
Retired Ravens' legend Ray Lewis appeared on FS1's "Speak For Yourself" yesterday to share his thoughts on the upcoming Ravens-Cowboys matchup, and while there,he voiced his opinion that he has "never seen" Joe Flacco passionate during a game.
It's one thing to knock a player for underperformance when you use numbers to support your case, but when you turn to intangibles like "passion," it's always a sticky situation. Having played in the league for 17 years does give him the rare privilege of being able to say something like this and not have it immediately dismissed out of hand. However, that does not mean he's automatically right. As I'm sure Lewis is aware of given how long he spent playing, not everyone celebrates, gets angry, or processes things the same ways. So the way he expresses passion may not be the same way, Joe Flacco does. Flacco said as much today when asked about Lewis' comments, and in the background of the video, you can hear his current teammates, who would be most aware of any dispassion, yelling, "We got your back, Joe!"
In times like these, it's important to remember the old saying, "Never meet your heroes or watch them if they decide to go on FS1."
Is Sunday really Sunday if the Ravens aren't playing?
The Ravens Are Really Good at Making Everyone Think They'll Lose to the Browns
In week two the Ravens were down by a score of 20-0 before coming back, and here, in week ten, the Ravens didn't take the lead until the third quarter. Nonetheless, Baltimore is now winners of two straight and sit atop the AFC North alone, with a half-game advantage on the Steelers – which could get pushed to a one-game lead should Pittsburgh lose to the Cowboys.
Thursday Night Football Continues to Be the Worst
The overwhelming sense of dread that must fill an injury-laden team when they see a Thursday night game on the schedule must be unimaginable, and against the Browns, Baltimore's fears became a reality. Standout rookie and left guard Alex Lewis was forced to depart Thursday's game after an injury to his leg. Lewis' exit continued a troubling trend for the Ravens' offensive line, which has been plagued by injury all year, and while his X-Rays came back negative, there is still no timetable for his return.
"Small World, All Her Friends Know of Me. Young Bull Living like an Old Geezer."
No, your TV was not freezing. During the Browns game, Joe Flacco and the Ravens broke out in celebration by, well, doing nothing. Known as the "mannequin challenge," Baltimore simply froze in place after taking the lead in the third quarter. While Ricardo Louis of the Browns wasn't having any of it, props to whoever's idea this was and to the whole team for execution.