Headed into Week 3 the Rams are 0-2, but when I go back and look at the game film against the Eagles and the Giants, I see that the Rams are winning the battle for the most part, but losing the war. The Rams have outplayed both of their opponents but they self-destructed with turnovers and penalties. It is what it is. There are no other teams that are going to feel sorry for you when things are going bad, and it makes for a pissed off fan base.
If the Rams take care of their business, one play at a time on offense and come with a kick-ass attitude on defense hitting the Ravens in the mouth on every play, they truly have a chance at beating a team that is playing off reputation and that was exposed last week against the Tennessee Titans.
I respect Ray Lewis the man, player and future Hall of Famer, but he has lost a step or two and that lateral chase and pursuit is not what it used to be. He struggles in pass coverage and his change of direction is not pretty. He struggles with stop and re-start burst and acceleration. In the first two games he struggled at the POA (point of attack), despite his FBI (football instincts) being sharp as a tack. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is a monster off the edge and if the Rams allow him to run and hit Sam Bradford, it will be a long day for everyone. Interior defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, one of the league’s biggest and most powerful linemen, in the first two games is playing slow and upright out of stance and lacks dominating pass-rush skills. However, he has flashed lateral movement down the line of scrimmage. While Ed Reed is dangerous in the deep half of the field, the Ravens’ secondary is vulnerable outside the numbers, and in the middle of the secondary on short to intermediate passes.
I have loved the power of Ravens running back Ray Rice ever since he was a standout player at Rutgers. He has developed into one of the league’s most elusive all-purpose running backs with power to finish and YAC (yards after contact) production, which is very impressive for his size. Joe Flacco, one of the young elite quarterbacks in the NFL, has a cannon for an arm and has weapons on the edge to put up a lot of points quickly. Receiver Anquan Boldin is not fast in the 40, but his route-running skills are off the charts and he runs his routes consistently at 4.6, creating separation from defenders. He is the best running back after the catch at the receiver position in the NFL. Flacco has two young receiving tight ends in Edward Dickson and Dennis Pitta that have the ability to stretch the field and make plays down the center of the defense and outside the numbers.
I’m not buying the hype on the Ravens. On film they looked tired, old, sluggish and non-productive in their game against Tennessee, and I think they are beatable Sunday in the Lou. Look for my league-wide predictions in tomorrow’s column. I’m looking to improve on my 12-4 mark from last week.