Last week: 15 (+1)
This is the first in 4 straight controversial rankings. Two of my early season bold predictions, Titans over Ravens and Rams over 49ers, took a hit on an otherwise solid week 1, but I hate to change predictions after 1 week. I’d rather be wrong than flip flop because I think I’m wrong and then be proven right. Everyone is wrong about stuff. If I’m wrong about this, I can live with that, but I’m sticking with my preseason predictions for the most part. The Ravens played a Bengals team I pegged as overrated to begin the year, for various reasons, and I had a feeling they would blow them out in Baltimore.
I was not surprised about anything that happened in that game and I’m not changing my prediction after it. Joe Flacco and the offense shredded an overrated Bengals defense and their defense, that lost several key players this offseason and has several aging veterans, allowed 322 yards to an overrated Bengals offense. Against tougher competition, their offense might not look quite so improved and their defense could really get exposed. On top of that, this team really struggled with both consistency and playing on the road last year. If they continue to do that, they’ll lose in Philadelphia next week. If they beat Philadelphia and conquer that, they’ll move up.
QB Joe Flacco: 21 of 29 for 309 yards, 2 touchdowns, no interceptions, 1 hit as thrown, 109.8 adjusted QB rating, pressured 9 times
RB Ray Rice: 68 yards (35 after contact) and 2 touchdowns on 10 carries, 2 broken tackles, 3 catches for 25 yards on 4 targets
MLB Ray Lewis: 7 solo tackles, 6 stops on 23 run snaps, 1 sack on 4 blitzes, allowed 3 completions for 18 yards on 6 attempts
SS Bernard Pollard: Allowed 1 completion for 6 yards on 2 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 1 batted pass, 1 quarterback pressure on 5 blitzes, 6 solo tackles and 3 stops on 24 run snaps
FS Ed Reed: Allowed 1 completion for 5 yards on 2 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 1 interception, 3 solo tackles and 1 missed tackle on 22 run snaps
K Justin Tucker: 9 kickoffs, 5 touchbacks, 72.6 yards per kickoff, 19.0 average starting position, 3/3 FG (39, 40, 46)
LOLB Paul Kruger: 0 sacks, quarterback hits, or quarterback pressures on 31 pass rush snaps, 1 solo tackle on 23 run snaps