1. C.J. Mosley has been an under-the-radar DROY candidate for pretty much the entire season. What does he bring to the Ravens' defense?
C.J. Mosley has brought a lot to the defense. First is his attitude and willingness to learn. For a rookie, he is finding himself around the ball on most plays, which means that he knows not only this defense but he is a film freak and knows what the offense is going to do. Next is just his physicality. He is sixth in the entire NFL in total tackles, but he also has eight pass deflections, two interceptions and three sacks. There is definitely a reason that he is drawing so many comparisons to Ray Lewis at this point.
2. Justin Forsett was a decent third running back behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate in Houston, but he has evolved into a certified stud up in Baltimore as the lead dog. Where did this come from?
Well, as I'm sure you know from his limited time in Houston, he was behind Arian Foster, who he wasn't going to dethrone at the time they played together and then the Texans wanted a change-of-pace back to be the one-two punch. Add in Forsett's injury and inconsistency issues and you have a good clue why Forsett wasn't able to stick around anywhere before now. Right now he is behind one of the best offensive lines in the league and a quarterback that can flick the ball 60 yards down the field, so it gives him a fair amount of breathing room. Not to mention that he is the only quick pace type rusher on the roster for Baltimore and he has a similar skillset to Ray Rice and that put him in line to prove it to the world for really one of the first times in his career.
3. Is the Ravens' front seven good enough to carry their decimated secondary into the playoffs? Assuming they get to the postseason, how far do you think this team can go?
I'm probably going to get bashed, but I don't think it is. This secondary is abysmal at most times and while the front seven is doing a great job of making teams one dimensional and then beating the crap out of their quarterback, that secondary has let up a massive amount of yards to bad quarterbacks. Put a top 10 QB in there and they'll pick apart the Ravens like the good teams have done all season. Then again, there have been teams to go into the playoffs in a similar situation and then go deep, so you really never know, but man this secondary sucks.
4. What is the likelihood of Torrey Smith being back in Baltimore next season? Can he be a number one receiver, or will he always be a deep ball specialist?
I just don't know at this point. In Baltimore, we have seen some flashes of a guy that might be able to put it all together, but then we see three weeks in a row where he is barely targeted simply because he can't get separation unless it is a go route.
I think Baltimore puts up a decent offer but I don't think there is a ton of budging you will see from the front office simply because he hasn't been able to prove himself as anywhere near a number one type receiver at this point and guys that run really fast might not be a dime a dozen, but they aren't all that difficult to find for cheap in the NFL. However, there are more than enough teams out there that will toss huge money at a guy that can run in a straight line really quickly, so you can never underestimate a big contract coming his way from a team like the Dolphins or Raiders or Redskins. I think Torrey Smith's best chance at staying with the Ravens is if no other team wants to dump big money into a guy with no route-running ability and shaky hands or if he is willing to take a decent deal for two or three years as a prove-it type situation where he can hopefully cash in after that. Barring those two situations, the Ravens will draft someone early and take their chances with the young kids that are making more impact right now that are already on the roster for cheap.
5. What is your prediction for the game?
If the Texans weren't trying out quarterbacks this week, I'd say that they have a good shot at beating the Ravens. But starting any guy they have now or anyone they can get right now, the Ravens will riddle that poor guy until he thinks of quitting. That makes it far easier to sit on the run and hit the quarterback until mistakes are made and then capitalize on good field position and an offense that should be able to put up points. I think the Ravens win this game and it ends up being 27-17.
A big thank you to Matthew for stopping by. Make sure to check out all of SB Nation’s Ravens coverage over at Baltimore Beatdown, and of course be nice while you’re there…please.
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