5 Baltimore Ravens Players Who Need To Step Up In Week 16 Against New England Patriots
5 Ravens Who Must Step Up Against New England Patriots
Welcome, everyone, to the Week 16 edition of five Baltimore Ravens players who need to step up. This week, the Ravens will play their old nemesis, the New England Patriots. A win guarantees the Ravens a shot at the AFC North crown in Week 17, in addition to clinching a wild card spot if the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers both lose. Let's see how I did last week.
The players I called for who needed to step up last week against the Detroit Lions were Joe Flacco, the offensive line, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, Jimmy Smith and Matt Elam. Despite having no touchdowns, Flacco had a nice game and made some crucial throws, including a rope to Jacoby Jones on 3rd-and-15 on the game winning drive, and that was after that nasty hit on his knee. The offensive line probably played their best game of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time going against the Lions' defensive line. Smith was matched up on Calvin Johnson for most of the game, and held him under 100 yards with no touchdowns; he’s finally living up to his first round potential. Elam could be on his way too, as he finally popped off my TV screen with 10 tackles and the game ending interceptions, and I’ll even go as far as saying he got in Megatron’s head, which is why he dropped all of those passes. If only I had Justin Tucker on my list last week, I would have been close to perfect.
The following five players will need to step it up this week to get the Ravens even closer to a sixth straight playoff appearance. Enjoy the show.
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5. Justin Tucker
Justin Tucker's performance against the Lions last week gets him top billing for this week. The Ravens will obviously need to score a few touchdowns this week instead of all field goals. Seeing as this could be a close game that comes down to three points or so, Tucker will need to continue to be perfect.
4. Ray Rice
With a gimpy Joe Flacco playing this Sunday, now would be the perfect time for Ray Rice to carry the offense on his shoulders. The offensive line has been getting better every game, and the Patriots will field the 31st ranked rush defense with no Vince Wilfork and Jared Mayo. Rice has to have more than one 100 yard rushing game this season, right?
3. Jacoby Jones
I called Jacoby Jones a one trick pony on a few occasions during the offseason, but he's been serving me a glass of shut up juice all season with his clutch play. If Jones can come up with at least two big plays in either the passing or return game, then the Ravens will have a good shot to win. The Ravens will also win if they score more points than the Patriots.
2. Matt Elam
Like I mentioned before, Matt Elam finally had a nice breakout game, and now I want to see more. Going against the smaller and shiftier receivers, the Ravens will need some sure tackling after the catch. I would love to see another double digit tackling effort from Elam; another interception wouldn't hurt either.
1. Elvis Dumervil
A lot is always made of the Tom Brady and Terrell Suggs rivalry. This would make for a perfect time for Elvis Dumervil to kind of sneak in under the radar and have a nice game. The Patriots will likely have to have LG Logan Mankins move to LT this week. The Patriots might have some real offensive line issues this week, and the Ravens will need to take advantage and put some pressure on pretty boy Brady.