I was shocked when I initially saw this:
But when you look at the Ravens defense, that line kind of makes sense:
- No Ray Lewis.
- Lewis’ replacement at ILB, Dannell Ellerbe, is also out.
- Terrell Suggs tore his bicep last week. Somehow, he’s listed as questionable. That guy is remarkable, by the way. He tore his Achilles in May, and was back out on the field in October. That’s crazy. Now he tears his biceps, and he might not even miss a game? That’s one tough hombre. Anyway, not to turn this into a Terrell Suggs article, but even if he plays, there’s no way he’ll be close to 100%.
- Earlier in the season, the Ravens lost their best CB, Lardarius Webb. They’ll also likely be without Jimmy Smith, who is listed as doubtful. Meanwhile, 3 of the other Ravens’ CBs, are listed on the injury report. Chris Johnson and Asa Jackson are listed as questionable, and Chykie Brown is listed as probable.
- Three more starters, starting safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard as well as starting DE Pernell McPhee, are all listed on the injury report as probable.
In December everybody hurts, but the Ravens’ defense a lot more so. Redskins run all over the Ravens, and the euphoria in DC continues, 31-20.
Really tough opponent for the Cowboys this week. This Bengals team has personnel that matches up perfectly against the Cowboys. Earlier in the week we talked about how the Bengals’ running game has been very impressive this season. That’s not good for a Cowboys’ defense that remains broken in its spine (up the middle). No Jay Ratliff, no Sean Lee, no Bruce Carter, no Barry Church. Over the last two games the Cowboys have given up 332 rushing yards, or 166 per game. Compare that number with the worst rush D in the league (the Saints), who give up 153.8 per game. And now the Cowboys have to face perhaps the best run blocking offensive line in the NFL? Yikes.
Meanwhile, on offense, the Cowboys OL has to deal with a very talented Bengals defensive line. Here’s something I didn’t know: The Bengals lead the league in sacks, with 39. Geno Atkins is an animal at DT, and the (let’s be nice and call him embattled) Doug Free is going to have to deal with Carlos Dunlap all day.
Bengals win all day in the trenches, 27-19.
Like other recent Eagles matchups, the result is meaningless, aside from draft position. However, there is one aspect of this game I’m looking forward to. In Bryce Brown’s first two starts as a pro, he has racked up 347 yards and 4 TDs on just 43 carries (8.1 per carry). Not to take anything away from Bryce, but those performances were against a banged up Dallas defense and Panthers’ D that’s allergic to tackling. The Bucs have the #1 run D in the NFL, giving up just 82.3 rushing yards per game. Great test for Bo… er… Bryce.
Also, as long as we’re on the Eagles, over at BGN we tried nicknaming some of the players that don’t already have one. My entry was “Self-tacklin’ Jeremy Maclin.” But the best one by far, in my opinion, was “Backdraft” for Danny Watkins, because not only is he a firefighter, but we all wish the Eagles could go back and draft somebody else. Brilliant!
Anyway, let’s go with… 34-24, Bucs.
Here is what Drew Brees has done the last 2 times he has faced the Giants:
Jimmy Graham is a matchup nightmare for the Giants. It looks like the Giants will be getting skilled pass defending LB Jacquian Williams back this week, which will help against Graham, but will also be asking a lot of a player that hasn’t played since Week 6… if indeed the Giants like Williams as their best chance at slowing down Graham. Oddly enough, the guy that has really hurt the Giants on the receiving end of Brees passes has been Lance Moore. In those last two games:
Big test for Jayron Hosley this week.
The Saints have had an odd season. During the early part of the season their defense was historically bad. However, in recent weeks, they’ve been much better. Here are the yards they’ve allowed in the last 5 games:
283 yards allowed to the Falcons is impressive. Unfortunately, here’s is what Drew Brees has done since the Saints’ defense has begun to show signs of improvement:
The over-under on this game is 53. There isn’t another game on the schedule this week that’s over 50. Personally, I’m not feeling a high-scoring game. The Saints give up 153.8 yards per game on the ground. That’s dead last in the NFL. I think the Giants will try to come out and pound them, and I think they’ll succeed. That should slow the game down and keep the clock moving. I also think the location of this game factors in heavily. Brees put up those ridiculous numbers above in the comfort of the Superdome. Let’s see him repeat that at the rainy, windy Meadowlands.