Hi all. I'll be helping host/moderate today's chat again.
Any score predictions for today's game?
I'm thinking Ravens 24, Bills 13.
WR Jacoby Jones
S Jeromy Miles
LB Arthur Brown
NT Terrence Cody
OL Jah Reid
C Ryan Jensen
WR Brandon Stokley
Good afternoon, folks. Beautiful day here in Western NY. Wind could be a factor but Flacco usually plays well in such conditions anyway. Let me know if you have any questions/comments
If you haven't seen it by now, RB Ray Rice and DE Chris Canty are active. WR Deonte Thompson and DT Brandon Williams will also make their 2013 regular season debuts. The following players are inactive: WR Jacoby Jones, S Jeromy Miles, LB Arthur Brown, NT Terrence Cody, G/T Jah Reid, C Ryan Jensen and WR Brandon Stokley.
Only real surprise is Stokley. He showed up on the injury report Friday with a groin injury but he looked fine out on the field running warmups. Problem is Ravens are starting to get into a numbers game at WR with Doss occupying the return role and Deonte Thompson back healthy. When Jacoby Jones comes back, you have to wonder if Stokley is in trouble.
Brown's health is fine. He had a stiff neck but practiced in full Thursday and Friday. No worries there. I don't think he's any more key than usual. Flacco will try to spread it around and get everyone involved. THe big question is what role Deonte Thompson plays. You could see him return kickoffs but will he be used as the No.3 WR? He hasn't been active for so long so it's hard to project
Jeff, what do you think the Ravens' biggest challenge will be today?
Running the football. The Bills have one of the worst defenses in football. The Jets' Bilal Powell, who I'm guessing most Ravens' fans have never heard of, rushed for nearly 150 yards on the Bills last week. But still, the Ravens haven't been able to run the ball on anybody so far. They're averaging 2.6 yards per carry, the second worst total in the NFL If they can't run the ball on the Bills with Ray Rice back in there, it's fair to question whether they'll be able to run the ball on anybody.
On defense, I think the Ravens biggest challenge is going to be dealing with the Bills' speed. Manuel at quarterback, Stevie Johnson on the outside, Spiller and Jackson at running back. They have some guys that are tough in open space. It's going to be really important again for the Ravens to stop the run first and make Manuel beat them with his arm. I'm not sure he can at this stage of his career. If the Ravens make the Bills one dimensional like they did with Texans and Browns, it's hard to not see them improving to 3-1
Sure, I think they'll cause some problems. They are both fast, athletic and talented guys. But as long as the Ravens execute and play team defense, they should be able to keep them contained. The Bills will make some plays but the Ravens need to limit the big plays. Give them the underneath stuff, stop the run and don't allow Spiller or Jackson to break a long one. In that case, they should be fine
I think Flacco will make some plays down the field. But all week, the Ravens talked about establishing the run. So I think that will come first. They start running the football and that should set up some things down the field. I give Flacco a lot of credit the past two weeks. As slow as they've started, he's made sure not to force anything down the field. He's kind of been a game manager. I know people hate that word but that's what it's taken for them to win the past couple of weeks.
Yes, I think the chemistry is getting better. It's a process. Regardless of how talented Flacco is or how good the WR or TE is, it takes a while. Stokley and Clark didn't get completely on same page with Peyton Manning in a couple of weeks either. They are making strides in that area. That's why it's important that the Ravens defense and special teams has given them a lift last couple of weeks. They need to find a way to win games while the offense is still figuring things out.
At some point - probably after a loss or two - somebody is going to point out that Flacco's numbers aren't justifying the contract. But the Ravens signed him to that deal because he's a winner. Every week, he does what it takes to put the Ravens in position to win. I'm not sure Flacco will ever put up "elite" numbers through the course of a regular season. But he does what it takes to put them in position to win games
Any more questions for Jeff Zrebiec?
Ok guys, thanks for the questions. Enjoy the game.
Thanks for dropping in, Jeff!