With the first Purple Sunday of the season just two days away this seems like an appropriate time to make my official Ravens predictions for the upcoming season with a breakdown of the schedule
Week 1: vs Chiefs — W — (1-0) I think this will be a nice easy week 1 victory with Kansas City appearing to be very unstable (fired their O-Coordinator two weeks ago and aren’t sure if Cassel can play) and the Ravens coming into the season with a ton of confidence and fully healthy
Week 2: @ Chargers — W — (2-0) Many “experts” believe this is finally the year San Diego puts it together for a full season and makes a run to the Super Bowl, but regardless of how they finish I think we head to the west coast and come out with a week 2 win. Philip Rivers lit us up when we last played in 2007, but we had numerous injuries on the defensive side and I think, as long as we come out of the Chiefs game unscathed, we’ll come out with a win this year.
Week 3: vs Browns — W — (3-0) Maybe by week 3 Eric Mangini will have decided which of his mediocre QBs he wants to be the stater. It doesn’t matter, of course, as the Ravens will ease to a double digit victory at home.
Week 4: @ Patriots — L — (3-1) I think this game will be reminiscent of the Monday night game these two teams played two years ago, but unfortunately I see the outcome remaining the same. Hopefully we can stifle Brady and the Pats O to keep us right there until the end, but up at Foxboro I think the Ravens will suffer their first defeat of ’09.
Week 5: vs Bengals — W — (4-1) The sour taste left in our mouths after the Patriots game will be cured by the sweet taste of Bengal meat in week 5. Many predict the Bengals to be on the upswing this year, but they certainly aren’t at our level yet. With Housh and his disgusting ponytail up in Seattle the passing game isn’t nearly the threat it was in past years.
Week 6: @ Vikings — W — (5-1) Do you think Ed Reed has ever been more excited to play against a QB than an aging, wild-throwing Brett Favre out to prove he can win with another team and get back to the Super Bowl. Favre will be looking downfield for Bernard Berrian all game, but will only find #20 waiting to pounce and take it back to the house.
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: vs Broncos — W — (6-1) Another team that appears to be slightly in turmoil. They traded their franchise QB and their star WR makes a mockery of the team at practice. Josh McDaniels needs to get a grip on his guys, but a trip to Baltimore won’t help as the Ravens D should give Kyle Orton all sorts of problems and the offense will be finding its stride at this point in the year with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee both running with fresh legs because of the use of a split backfield
Week 9: @ Bengals — W — (7-1) Another game against the Bengals, another AFC North victory for the Ravens.
Week 10: @ Browns — W — (8-1) See above.
Week 11: vs Colts — L — (8-2) It pains me to make this pick, but we just can’t seem to beat them. I hope this is the year, but I’ve thought every year the past 3 years we would win so what do I know? We can’t seem to stop Peyton Manning or put up points against their crappy defense.
Week 12: vs Steelers — W — (9-2) The first matchup against the Steelers in ’09 will be hostile to say the least. After going 0-3 against them last year we’ll be out to prove that we can beat them and are, thus, worthy of a trip to the Super Bowl. With another year of maturity for many of our young players I think we’ll be better prepared this year for the 4th quarter against the Steelers and I look for the Ravens to pull this one out at home.
Week 13: @ Packers — L — (9-3) Unfortunately I don’t see this one going in favor of the Ravens. A night game at Lambeau with winter fast approaching and I think the Packers will be one of the teams to beat in the NFC this year. I think Aaron Rodgers is a top notch QB and they have a lot of young playmakers on defense.
Week 14: vs Lions — W — (10-3) Rookie QB in his first game against Ray & Co. Doesn’t bode well for Stafford and the Lions.
Week 15: vs Bears — W — (11-3) Jay Cutler has never played the Ravens and I’m not overly impressed with the receiving options he’s working with this year. Matt Forte is a good back, but we’ve seen many good backs come into Baltimore and leave with 25 carries, 70 yards.
Week 16: @ Steelers — L — (11-4) Certainly a bit of a letdown at the end of the season, but I don’t think a home-and-home split with the Steelers would be surprising. This will finish our AFC North schedule with a 5-1 record, probably equal to Pittsburgh’s.
Week 17: @ Raiders — W — (12-4) What a nice way to end the season…a trip to sunny Oakland to beat up on the lifeless Raiders. Does anything even need to be said about Al Davis and the Raiders at this point? DHB with the #7 pick, a coach that beats up his assistants…it’ll be nice for the Ravens to end the regular season on a high note and pick up some momentum going into the playoffs.