If tonight’s card were a world championship fight card tonight’s late game between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs would be out of the way long before the main event that is the Baltimore Ravens against the New York Jets. The war of words between Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan will be settled tonight.
I would pay an extra 20 bucks on my cable bill to hear these two miked up tonight.
Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Jets – The season’s first great game of the season takes place in the Jets new digs. The Ravens know that they can force the young Mark Sanchez into some mistakes and may even keep their running game honest. The question if Sanchez can get the ball out can he get it downfield to Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes? The Ravens secondary isn’t the same without safety Ed Reed lurking somewhere – anywhere. The Jets have the personnel to combat the Ravens but for some reason teams seem alot slower and little less eager to mix it up with them. I think Rex Ryan believes that he has just as physical a bunch, I’m not sure if they believe the same.
Joe Flacco has weapons greater than those of Sanchez but the Jets secondary trumps the Ravens at this point, Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie will match up well against Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmanzadeh. Runningback Ray Rice is going to be a little bit of everything tonight as the Ravens will look for a linebacker mismatch. It would be nice to see Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap occupy some space and catch a few passes. The offensive line has to give Flacco time to do all of the above – again keeping turnovers to a minimum is the key.
The Pick: This is going to be one to watch, what makes this a great game is that the Ravens are an above average road team. This comes down to turnovers and which defense makes the first big mistake. Neither team goes for over 250 yards of total offense.
Ravens 16 – Jets 13
San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Don’t be so quick to write this one off to the Bolts. The Chargers are missing some pieces in Jamal Williams,Vincent Jackson and Shawne Merriman and they’re starting a rookie in running back Ryan Matthews. The Chiefs on the other hand will try to pound the ball with last year’s find Jamaal Charles and veteran Thomas Jones. Chiefs QB Matt Cassell has two reliable targets in Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers, rookie Dexter McCluster could be a difference-maker if he plays. Phillip Rivers will try to use the speed of Sproles to open things up underneath, but the Chiefs front four can get up the field and could cause problems. Malcolm Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Patrick Crayton will have to step up to relieve the pressure off of tight end Antonio Gates.
The Pick: Monday Night Football is back in Kansas City and expect the 12th man to be there. I think the Chiefs ground game is going to wear the Chargers out over the course of the game. I don’t think that Phillip Rivers is comfortable with this bunch yet and it will show tonight.
Chiefs 24 – Chargers 17