By: Russ Goldman
As we get closer to the Patriots game against the Ravens on Sunday, I wanted to get a view of this game from someone who actually covers the Ravens. This week we have Casey Willett , who reports on the Ravens for “Sports Radio 105.7 The Fan” in Baltimore.
It is always interesting to get a view on an upcoming opponent from someone outside of New England. Casey was kind enough to answer five questions about both teams to get the perspective coming from Baltimore on this match-up.
Here are my “Five Questions About The Upcoming Ravens Game With Casey Willett Of 105.7 The Fan In Baltimore”.
1. The Ravens have had two impressive road wins against the Jets and Steelers. What is it about this team that allows the Ravens to able to win those types of tough games on the road?
Casey Willett: The Ravens are a team that likes to go on the road and being the underdog and knowing most of the crowd is against them. They have a pretty strong “us against the world mentality”.
2. The Ravens I believe have improved this season on offense with some key additions and the improved play of Joe Flacco. Going into Sunday’s game what are the Ravens strengths and weaknesses on offense?
Casey Willett: Their strength so far has been the ability to adapt during a game. First half of game vs Broncos, Flacco was throwing the ball all over the field to Mason, Heap, Housh, Rice, etc. In the second half the Broncos started to take some of his passing options away so the Ravens start to run the ball and have success with Rice and Willis McGahee.
They have several options in passing game with Heap, Rice, Boldin, Housh, Mason, McGahee, etc, and having a 3 team running the ball in Rice, McGahee, and McClain has helped them alot.
3. The Ravens defense continues to be dominant. They are currently fourth in the league in points allowed, giving up only 14.4 points a game. Who has stood out to you this year on that side of the football, and do they have any issues that you perceive could be a weakness against New England this weekend?
Casey Willett: Haloti Ngata has been playing as well as any defensive player in the NFL so far this year. The game he had against the Steelers is almost unheard of for a d-lineman to have. Ray Lewis is also having a very solid season as usual, he has made some crucial plays at key times to keep the Ravens in a game or preserve a win.
The secondary is still the biggest question mark. With no Ed Reed, and Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb coming off of major knee injuries, the secondary has somehow not been exposed with pieces that are filling in.
4. Obviously here in New England we know about the transition the Patriots are going through defensively, but what is the perception in Baltimore from the fans regarding the Patriots going into the game?
Casey Willett: There are sort of two train of thoughts when it comes to the Pats this week. One is that with no Randy Moss the Patriots got weaker, which I do not buy into. The other train of thought is that with or without Randy Moss, the two key factors have always been in New England the coach and the quarterback, and as long as those two are there they always have a chance to beat anyone in the NFL.
5. And finally, what do you feel will be the key match-up to watch for the Ravens this week against New England?
Casey Willett: The Ravens secondary is going to have to be prepared to be tested by Tom Brady and the passing game. In my opinion Brady is the best QB they will see so far this season. For the Ravens it will be establish the run game. They felt like in the playoff game against the Pats last year they were able to run the ball with success and they know that will be something they will have to establish out of the gate Sunday.
Mr. Willett predicts the Ravens winning the game 20-17.
A special thanks to Casey for taking the time to give me his thoughts on this weekend’s match-up. You can also follow him on Twitter @cdwill77.