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Wednesdays with Walker: Week 4, Ravens vs. Jets

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After a “Wednesdays with Walker” bye week, and a 37-7 victory over the mighty Rams of St. Louis, I’m back.

To start off this week’s WwW, I’ll share with you my top 5 list of things I hate most as a Ravens fan.

  1. The Steelers
  2. Kyle Boller
  3. Ed Reed missing a game with an injury
  4. Tie between any team that loses to the Steelers and the Browns
  5. The New York Jets

Obviously, #5 is a fairly new addition to the list, and it’s highly likely that it will continue its rapid climb up this list. The Jets have all the makings of a good rival; public trash talk sessions, a hard-nosed style of play, and ties to the Ravens. I believe that at this point, all fans should either hate the Jets, or at least recognize that they are a legitimate rival. Needless to say, I’m excited for this Week 4 matchup, and the bright lights of Sunday Night should make it even more interesting, and raise the stakes a bit.

Terrell Suggs and Co. are determined to knock the smile off of Mark Sanchez' face on Sunday night.

A Lot on the Line

Not only is a lot on the line between two 2-1 AFC teams fighting for playoff spots and division championships, but this game will be decided as most are, in the trenches. The Ravens will need the offensive line to have yet another solid outing against a good Jets pass rush, and if the defensive line can assert some dominance, it will be a struggle for the Jets’ offense to get rolling in M&T Bank Stadium.

Andre Gurode filled in valiantly for Ben Grubbs at left guard in St. Louis, and as far as having good, versatile offensive line options, it’s better to have more than less. Look for Gurode to be the replacement of choice throughout the season. On the other side of the ball, Haloti Ngata seems to find some way to make a huge impact every week, and if he can make Mark Sanchez uncomfortable, it will be a big help to the Ravens’ secondary.

The Price is Rice

Ray Rice will be the ultimate key on Sunday night. If he can get rolling, maybe even come up with an early touchdown, the Ravens’ offense will be much more dangerous later on. Rice is such a weapon that a defense sometimes keys in on him and overplays him, even on a short check-down route. If Rice can draw a double team, or a linebacker for man-to-man coverage, it neutralizes the Jets’ blitz packages, and give the Ravens’ receivers (especially Torrey Smith) more one-on-one opportunities to use their speed and athleticism to make plays.

Ray Rice will be as important as ever this week against a tough Jets defense.

Approaching the Bye Week

Sorry, no clever paragraph heading for this one. The reality is that the Ravens go into the bye week after this game, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Obviously, it’s a good time to get a break, being that several key players are already a bit banged up. The down side is very similar to that, in that it’s an early bye, which means that the week of rest is not there later in the season. A win over the Jets would be a great way to enter the bye week, and would put the entire team in a good enough mood to help them survive two weeks of practice.

Prediction

I’m really hoping that the Ravens will be excited to come home and play yet another rivalry game in front of a rowdy crowd.  That Titans loss was an early-season wake up call, and that was shown by the Great St. Louis Stomping of Week 3. The Jets’ athleticism worries me, especially at wide receiver and cornerback, but I think the Ravens have the strength to match up, and the home crowd will be a huge advantage.

27-17, Ravens.

Enjoy The Art

 

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Edgar Walker is a staff writer at Baltimore Sports Report, and a high school sports reporter for Essex-Middle River Patch. He joins The Purple Chaos each Wednesday. Follow Edgar on Twitter, if that’s your thing.

Check out the full “Wednesdays with Walker” archive.