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NFL Inquest, Patriots Who? Edition

bill belichick is homelessA few points on the week just passed and the week to come…

Yes, the Patriots were running up the score, and yes it was a low-class move. This is news to who, exactly?

I was dead wrong in my prediction about the Redskins, but in fairness you have to grant that I didn’t know at the time they’d be without both starting corners for most of the game. I think pretty much any team in that position will struggle to hold the Pats under forty.

The Steelers have not yet staked a claim as the class of the AFC North, but they’re close. Which means that this week’s game against the Ravens has as many postseason implications as any game in week nine possibly could.

The Ravens have a chance to take this one, but it’s just that: a chance. I put the odds at about 60-40 for the Steelers, but if the Ravens somehow do manage a win then we need to completely rethink our collective read on this team.

At the same token…they also have to watch their back for the Browns. Yup, the Browns. One Monday night game will find Billick’s boys either claiming a share of the division lead or scrambling with Cleveland to avoid a third-place finish. Weird.

Look out for the Packers, man. Hell of a win last night.

And, of course, there’s this Sunday’s PatriotsColts tilt — a game I’m not sure I could possibly care less about. I try to avoid talking about things that are being talked about everywhere else, but I can’t really get away with not at least mentioning this, so here you go.

My sense is that the Colts will find a way to pull it out, but I’m not feeling any great conviction. What I’d really like to see is for Tom Brady to sprain an ankle and miss three or four weeks. Then we’d finally get a feel for just how good the 07 Patriots really are.

And you?

15 comments to NFL Inquest, Patriots Who? Edition

  • ryan

    “At the same token…they also have to watch their back for the Browns. Yup, the Browns. One Monday night game will find Billick’s boys either claiming a share of the division lead or scrambling with Cleveland to avoid a third-place finish. Weird.”

    get used to it.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    I find my Ravens pick impossible right now. Logic tells me the Steelers will win. But the Ravens could go out and dominate. Logic never matters in this series. It is an absolute must win for the Ravens but it’s also impossible to quantify how much their returning starters will make a difference. I mean, if McNair alone can be called healthy they could absolutely win, but there you have it. There’s an “if” before every scenario.

    That said, the Ravens could still win without the injured starters being effective – the defense always seems to get up for this one and matches up pretty well.

    I guess I’ll wait a few days. I’ll say this – if they lose badly it could be the beginning of an AWFULLY ugly end for this team in my opinion. If the Ravens were to go 8-8 or 7-9 this season I could honestly see Ray Lewis in another uniform next year, Ogden retiring (that’s a given), McNair a backup, a whole new cast of characters next year, and dare I say it? The end of the Billick era in B’more.

    Sidenote: The Steelers are wearing throwback uniforms with white pants, black jerseys, and gold helmets. If the Ravens wear their all-black it’ll be an even sicker match-up – might be too confusing though.

  • neal s

    No bulletin board material in Ben Roethlisberger’s conference call with Baltimore reporters. The guy seems to genuinely respect the Baltimore D. Read about it here.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    I think there’s been mutual respect on both sides since the ‘Plexiglass” fiasco. God I love this matchup.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    I will say one thing – the offensive lines or lack thereof will completely dictate how this game goes. It’ll be interesting to see how much the Steelers blitz in this game. I think multiple blitz packages are a given on the Ravens side.

  • neal s

    It’s no secret here that I’m a Steelers fan (I was born in Pittsburgh and have always been a Steelers lifer, for those of you who don’t know) and that I have some issues with the Ravens organization. But I try my best with the site to stay neutral and look at things as they are. For example, I stand by my prediction that the Ravens will take one of two in their Patriots/Colts games.

    So looking ahead to Monday…you have to love a matchup like this no matter where your loyalties lie. These two teams respect the hell out of each other, but that respect is matched by a burning desire to win and win big. I see no reason that this won’t be one hell of a game, and I honestly won’t be surprised no matter what the outcome.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    The Sun is reporting that McCalister is probably out. If that’s the case, I’ll go ahead and say that the Steelers should win. If there’s one glaring weak spot on our defense, it’s the secondary without him in there. I don’t see how Corey Ivy and Samari Rolle can contain Ward and Holmes. Now a good pass rush is absolutely crucial – not good.

    I was thinking today about how this defense is still really good but not great. It dawned on me how much they really do miss AD and his effect on the overall game. He’s like one of those guys in basketball that always has a line like 6 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 steals, and 6 assists. He’s the glue that’s missing from this unit.

    Willis McGahee needs to have the game of his life Monday. Like 80 yards rushing and 80 yards receiving or something.

    Also I was shocked to see FWP’s numbers against the Ravens. Pathetic. It’ll be interesting to see if he has any impact at all.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    I think this quote from Bart Scott regarding the remaining schedule is a perfect example of why life as a Ravens fan can be frustrating regarding playing down or up to opponents.

    “I’m excited about it. It’s games that you get up for,” linebacker Bart Scott said. “You live for going against the elite players in this league and measure yourself up against LaDainian Tomlinson and Randy Moss and see where you stand. I love it. These are the better games for us because we’re the underdog. We’re getting up to play somebody else. It’s an opportunity to represent ourselves well against great teams.”

    Maybe if they miss the playoffs they’ll get it – but probably not.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    Now the Sun’s reporting that McCalister AND Rolle might be gone as well as Heap. If that happens, and the Steelers lose, they should be ashamed of themselves.

  • neal s

    Ahh yes, and therein lies the danger. Supposing that McAlister, Rolle, and Heap all sit out, we have a major problem on our hands in terms of final analysis. Three scenarios present themselves:

    1. The Steelers win. In this case we’re likely to see Ravens fans pass it off as “well, of course they won, we were without three of our best guys. Pittsburgh’s not really that good, we should have beaten them, wait until the last game of the year, blah blah blah…”

    2. The Ravens win. Here we’ll encounter a most depressing brand of delusional chest-pumping. “See! I told you we were the best! This division is ours, the Steelers suck, we’re going to the Super Bowl, blah blah blah…”

    3. Everybody wakes up Tuesday morning and realizes that you have to play the guys you’ve got, that the coaches put in the gameplan they think will work best, and that the winning team was simply the better team that day.

    We can trash option 3 at the outset — not happening. So with regards to 1 and 2, it’s a shame either way. I’d like to see this game played as close to full-strength as possible. But if it isn’t meant to be then we’ve got what we’ve got. I think it’ll be a good game regardless.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    You’re totally right Neal. But I don’t personally know anyone who would act like number 2 if we beat the Steelers though. Haha “act like number 2”.

    I’m just so fucking disappointed that my team hasn’t been healthy for a game this year and may not recover before it’s too late.

    Honestly I’ve never bitched about injuries in the past because I know everyone deals with it. It’s just that this year is particularly edgy because to me this is their absolute last shot at their age.

    Regarding the game you made my point on another thread. If you know before the start of a game against a good team that you’ll be without your two starting corners, pro bowl corners no less, giving up 40 would be no surprise.

    In my heart, I still believe we can win. Hell, we have to.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    Also if the Ravens somehow win I will be the farthest thing from obnoxious. If they go 3-0 in the division the next three games I might begin to see them as a playoff team – then we get to play the ridiculous three.

    By the way, if I had money I’d take the Chargers right now to win the Superbowl. They are FOR REAL and no one seems to notice because of the NFL Olsen twins Indy and NE.

  • neal s

    There’s no question the Ravens will struggle if both Rolle and McAlister sit out. They’ll likely struggle even if just one of them sits out, since from what I’ve seen Corey Ivy is not fit to start in the NFL. But as much as I personlly like Roethlisberger I’ll freely admit that he has a touch of Favreitis — the tendency to force bad throws and make big mistakes. Only difference is that he’s not the quarterback Favre is, at least not yet.

    So if the Ravens can effectively shut down the run and get pressure with their front three/four, they will have a chance to make big plays. That’s not exactly what you want to bank on going into a big game, but it’s nevertheless a very real possibility.

    Regarding the obnoxious point, you unfortunately don’t represent the majority of Ravens fans. Folks like you and Drew (and, really, everyone else here) are good fans and good analysts, as I try to be. But watch the airwaves blow up on Tuesday if the Ravens win — Ugly and Stupid will be running a strong 1-2 with no other horses in sight.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    Yeah here and fourteen other winning cities. You ever listen to 980? Pittsburgh radio? Ridiculous hyperbole abounds.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    I find a lot of Baltimore sports fans annoying for the opposite reason. Even last year when the Ravens were 13-3 every time I listened to the radio they were bitching about play-calling, qb, etc. Give me a break.