By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens played a tough game against the Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Baltimore would improve to (4-1) with 3 field goals off the legs of rookie kicker Justin Tucker. Now the Ravens head back home to battle the Dallas Cowboys (2-2). But if the Ravens play the way they did against the Chiefs this Sunday, they’ll most likely lose their first game at home in over 2 years.
Offensively, the Ravens will look to get it going against a defense that can get after the quarterback. DeMarcus Ware, one of the premier pass rushers in the league, will look to take advantage of an offensive line that has struggled to protect their quarterback. Flacco was sacked 4 times last week against a Chiefs team that took advantage of poor blocking. If the Ravens want to improve on last weeks’ performance, they’ll need to stop Ware.
“DeMarcus Ware, without question, is a guy you have to know where he is at all times, said Coach Harbaugh. “He’s a game-wrecker. He’s a tremendous pass rusher. He’s very physical against the run. He is one of the premier players in the National Football League.”
Look for the Ravens to give Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele help with chips from their tight ends and running backs. Baltimore will also try to keep Ware double covered most of the game in hopes of containing the Pro Bowl linebacker. If Dallas can’t get pressure from their front 7, they’ll rely on their superb corners to lock down the Ravens receivers.
“I think they do a pretty good job,” said Flacco. “When they decide to play ‘man’ and man-up everyone underneath and put the safeties back, they play pretty good. We’re going to have to be on our game underneath in order to get the job done and play well.”
The Ravens have struggled running the “sugar huddle” offense on the road. But at home, they seem to run it to perfection. Against a formidable defense however, it will be very interesting to see how Flacco and the rest of the offense performs.
Defensively, the Ravens are coming off a strong outing against the Chiefs. Giving up just two long field goals, the Ravens look to build off of their Week Five performance. Though the Ravens continue to give up a large amount of yards on the ground, their “bend but don’t break” style of defense seems to work just fine. The Ravens do a good job of forcing turnovers and keeping points off the board. This approach to defense could pay huge dividends against a quarterback like Tony Romo.
Romo struggled in his last game against the Bears as he threw five interceptions. But Ray Lewis knows how dangerous the Cowboys QB can be.
“He is just one of those guys,” Lewis stated on Wednesday. “He reminds me a lot of [Steelers QB] Ben [Roethlisberger]. Ben is definitely bigger and definitely much harder [to tackle], but Romo will twist out of the pocket, he’ll spin out of the pocket, and he’ll throw it downfield.”
The defense will attempt to rattle Romo with exotic blitzes to force him into making some costly turnovers. The Ravens will need to keep him contained in the pocket because he can be extremely dangerous when he’s out of it. If the Ravens can get their offense going and keep Romo contained, it could be another home victory in Baltimore.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.