Broncofan Posted September 18, 2018 Share Posted September 18, 2018 (edited) M&T Stadium 11:00 AM CT September 23rd, 2018 Coverage: CBS (Announcers TBA) BALTIMORE (1-1, 9-7 in 2017, 2nd in AFCN), DENVER (2-0, 5-11 in 2017, 4th AFCW) Line: BAL - 5, O/U somewhere around 43-44 pts DVOA: BAL (#7 overall - #23 on O; #3 on D; #1 on ST), DEN (#29 overall - #31 on O; #10 on D; #30 on ST), DVOA Ranks: https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teameff So, we take care of SEA & barely squeak by OAK at home weeks 1-2 - but now the schedule starts to get real, with an early time zone road game vs. BAL, who gets 10 days of prep work for ThuNF. Keys for this week: 1. Take advantage of the BAL CB's and the loss of ILB CJ Mosley - BAL's strength is their D. We catch a huge break with ILB Mosley - he's their Ray Lewis lite. Either way, the pass game vs. their CB's (especially with Jimmy Smith suspended) and whoever is replacing Mosley. That means DT/Sanders and the TE's are a key area where we gain, but first... 2. Limit the TO's, win ToP on O - Keenum cannot turn the ball like Week 1over with this ballhawk, opportunistic D. He also can't struggle like he did Week 2. The problem with ToP is that BAL is traditionally stout in run D, so it does mean he's going to have to carry the load. Quick reads, good throws (he starts the 1H jittery, and happy feet and high throws/late reads). He has to come out ready to play, because it allows us to... 3. Get Ahead Early, Lean on the Run Game - the ThuNF week 2 game with BAL-CIN showed how BAL's D can be beaten - Dalton & AJG burned them early, then they could lean more on the run game with Joe Mixon. In our case, if we can establish a 1H lead, it helps Freeman get on the field. We cannot keep relying on 15+ carries for Lindsay in catchup mode like last week, and Freeman is our real hammer in the run game. It all starts with getting ahead. 4. Get pressure on Flacco - give Gruden & OAK credit, ,they came up with a solid plan to get rid of the ball super-fast, to help negate our lethal pass rush. BAL's O is more vulnerable, as Flacco is not a 3-step drop guy, and he's a statue. If we can get to to Flacco, it helps us deal with our biggest weakness, namely.. 5. WR John Brown and the BAL TE's vs. our 2nd/3rd CB's & hybrid S/LB's - everyone will recognize Crabtree as the name they recognize on BAL, but the reality is that John Brown is their top WR now (10 targets last week, same as Crabtree, but significant air yard gap, Crabtree is just a short route guy now), and he's also the guy with the skill set that will give us huge problems - lightning fast, and elusive, quick-twitch (poor man's Tyreke Hill, no one is at his level, just never healthy in ARI with his sickle cell trait <discovered while he was in ARI>). Crabtree can be taken out (even without someone yanking his chain, figuratively or literally lol). Brown's deep speed and quicks are the top concern, especially once he faces Roby or our 3rd CB. On the flip side, BAL has 3 TE's normally (their top pick Hayden Hurst is out, though - another break) - but they still have 3 pass-catching TE's (Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams & Mark Andrews). Given our trouble there, getting pressure on Flacco really helps, as it limits the mismatches there. 6. Watch out for Alex Collins and the BAL run game - much like in the OAK game, getting behind presents a double-edged sword, because BAL can pull out a very solid power run game with Alex Collins an even more punishing version than current day Beast Mode (not peak, of course). The one weakness Collins has - fumbles - which indirectly hekps the opposition - because after another week 1 RZ fumble work Collins, they’ve been using Buck Allen more (who’s truly JAG) in pass and GL work. In reality, though, we don't want to rely on that potential, better to get ahead, and put our D in what we do best, pinning ears back to get to Flacco. 7. Be ready for Lamar Jackson gadget plays - BAL designs about 6-8 Jackson-specific plays, much like the old Kordell Stewart slash-plays we saw in PIT. We can't be unprepared for this, and we need to know how to change our assignments when he's there. 8. Winning (or not getting beat badly) on ST's - BAL has the #1 ST unit from last year, and with good reason. McManus isn't Justin Tucker - but in a game that the D likely dominates on both sides, he has to match him in being flawless for anything inside 45 yds. Roby was great last week, after he struggled week 1, so hopefully he continues on his All-Pro skill set. Our gunners haven't been great, so we should hopefully see more improvement. KO coverage and blocking is a work in progress, as teams adjust to the new rules on formations, so hopefully we can match BAL's, who is admittedly an elite squad. Being even here is a great result, especially limiting big plays or missed kicks on our end. Overall, I've said we're likely a 7-9/8-8 team, and I also said we'd likely be 2-0 given the matchups and home games. That's borne fruit, as the biggest Q's that we thought we might have on O have come to pass (is Keenum as good as 2017, or as bad as pre-2017 - the answer being yes to both at times lol), and on D (our pass coverage for the secondary from Roby and 3rd CB, our TE coverage from our ILB/hybrid S's). We do get a MASSIVE break in not facing CJ Mosley - but it's still a road game, and an early start, so it's not surprising that we are 5 points dogs. I think it will be closer than that, and whenever the margin is only 3 pts, it means we could pull it out, but in the end, I see a 23-20 loss. I do hope I'm wrong, as I'd be happy to do a 4th GD thread lol. I'll be away on the West Coast for a family wedding, so I'll get this up early, before travel starts on Thu (gotta pack tomorrow lol). I'll be at an airport on Sunday, hoping for plane wifi so I can track what's happening, but otherwise praying for the team to show up for its first real test, when we are facing a road game, vs a team that truly matches up as an equal. Can't wait! Edited September 19, 2018 by Broncofan Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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