Harbaugh, Ravens prepare to face familiar foes vs. Jets
The crystal ball correctly predicted a three-point Bears win, but it didn't see overtime or a two-hour rain delay. Let's see what the crystal ball sees for Sunday when the Ravens face the Jets at M&T Bank Stadium:
1. The Ravens will average less than 3 yards a carry.
The Ravens pounded out a season-best 4.2 yards a rush last week against 31st-ranked Chicago, but now the Jets' top-rated defense comes to town. Nothing will come easy against Rex Ryan's defense, which allows a league-low 2.9 yards a carry.
2. No Ravens running back will top 50 yards rushing.
Ray Rice had his first 100-yard rushing day of the season last week, but he's not getting close to that this week. Bernard Pierce had just 18 yards on 10 carries against the Bears. Expect the Ravens to split the workload again between these two, but the yardage won't add up.
3. Dennis Pitta will not play.
Coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal about Pitta on Friday, saying "there is always a chance" he could play Sunday. But it would be a surprise to see Pitta out on the field after just three days of practice. It's more likely that, with another albeit short week of work, he gets his first action in a limited role against the Steelers on Thanksgiving.
4. Joe Flacco will complete a pass of 40+ yards.
The Jets have a vaunted front seven but a vulnerable pass defense that ranks 23rd in the league. The Ravens need to at least sell the run at times, but expect Flacco to take deep shots and test the secondary, including former Raven Ed Reed.
5. Flacco will be hit at least eight times.
The Jets have 28 sacks this year, five fewer than the Ravens. But expect Rex Ryan to dial up blitz packages that will come at Flacco from all directions. The Ravens running backs have struggled in protection this year, but they need to help out.
6. Ed Reed will get his first post-Ravens interception.
Reed has been a complete nonfactor this season, first with the Texans and in one game with the Jets. He has yet to record an interception, and his play with the Texans was a major disappointment. The Ravens figure to test the Jets secondary deep, which puts the ball right in Reed's neighborhood. Joe Flacco has thrown a career-high 13 interceptions, and if he underthrows a deep ball, Reed will be waiting.
7. Elvis Dumervil will have two sacks.
Dumervil is coming off a disappointing performance at Chicago. He had no tackles, no sacks and was hit with a roughing-the-passer penalty. Dumervil, who has 8 1/2 sacks, is going to be a handful for the Jets offensive line that has allowed 35 sacks.
8. The Ravens will win the turnover battle.
Jets quarterback Geno Smith has a league-high 20 turnovers -- 16 interceptions and four fumbles. And 13 of those 20 have come on the road, where the Jets are 1-4 this season. That's a major reason the Jets rank dead last in turnover margin at minus-14.
9. The Ravens will score a defensive touchdown.
The last time the Ravens and Jets played, the Ravens had not one, not two, but three defensive touchdowns in a 34-17 win in 2011. The defense will torment rookie quarterback Geno Smith, create a mistake and find the end zone.
10. Ravens 20, Jets 13
The Ravens offense has struggled to get in gear this season, and there's no reason to think that will change against a defense ranked No. 8 overall and No. 1 against the run. But the Ravens defense is no slouch either, and they will make life miserable for Smith. The Ravens defense comes up with a game-changing play, and the Ravens' playoff hopes remain alive.