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Ravens at Jets: Preview of the Monday Night Opener

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The Ravens will head up I-95 to take on the N.Y. Jets in their season opener tomorrow on MNF (Monday Night Football).

The Jets will be unveiling their new billion dollar stadium, and they are sure to cart out their all-time greats to try and whip the home crowd into a frenzy.

Though, the Ravens should be thankful that they’ll be playing the Jets and not a team with a rich history like the 49ers, Steelers, Cowboys or Dolphins. Who are the Jets going to roll out there?  Joe Namath and …maybe Mark Gastineau?  Could there be a Wayne Chrebet sighting?  I doubt Freeman McNeil will get the crowd going.  But regardless of their history as a hapless franchise, football is an emotional game and the Jets will have all the emotion on their side.

Bigger, Badder, Better
The Ravens spent most of their offsetting improving a team that went 9-7 in 2009.  The additions of WR Anquan Boldin, WR T. J. Houshmanzadeh, and rookie TEs Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta will give Joe Flacco countless receiving options.  The loss of CB Dominique Foxworth certainly hurts the Ravens pass defense, but let’s remember that after week 3 of last season most fans wanted to toss Foxworth off the Key Bridge.  Plus, Ozzie Newsome worked his magic and dealt for play-making CB Josh WIlson of the Seattle Seahawks.

“Walk the walk,” not “Talk the talk”
While the Ravens were busy actually improving their team, the Jets were busy talking about how wonderful they will be.  I’m not buying it.  Last year, the Jets were essentially a .500 team before getting lucky with the Colts and Bengals rolling over and playing dead.  The loss of RB Thomas Jones and LG Alan Faneca will adversely affect the league’s #1 rushing attack in 2009, thereby putting increased pressure on the young scattershot QB Mark Sanchez.  Yes, Darrelle Revis is back from his hold out and the Jets added LaDainian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor, but this is 2010 not 2005.  I just don’t see L.T. and Taylor being impact players this season.

Key to Success
If the Ravens can protect the ball and get some points on the board early to negate a frenzied crowd, I think they’ll win fairly easily.  Sanchez is terribly inaccurate and is good for at least 1 pick.  The only thing standing between the Ravens and their victory is execution.  Like most games in the NFL, this battle will come down to the quarterbacks.  Quite simply Flacco > Sanchez, hence the Ravens win 20-13