It's early in the week, but I might be away from the computer for some time, so here are my thoughts on the Baltimore game:

WHY WE WILL WIN

1. Confidence - Last week was the first game this year that we put forth a solid effort from the start till the end. The improved production on offense gave the defense that added boost that kept their energy levels high throughout the entire game. We had shot after shot after shot to win that game against the Cards, but there was just too much going against us (rusty QB, officials, injuries) that we just couldn't pull it off. Early indications are that Tye Hill and Todd Johnson will both be available this Sunday. The heavily criticized Corey Chavous could return also, and we need him despite his unsteady play up to this point. Hill, in particular, could give us the boost of energy we need in this game to give us a shot to win. Look at the difference Incognito made on the line last week and the impact Brown had out on the edge. If motivated properly, this team should be able to be flying pretty high come mid-week based on the improved performance against the Cards, and should be brewing with confidence come gametime Sunday, as they seek their first win.

2. Locking down the slow Baltimore receiving core - Baltimore is passing more than ever this season, average more than 41 pass attempts per game. However, their receiving core lacks speed and is averaging a paltry 8.9 yards per PASS COMPLETION! Derrick Mason leads the team with 44 catches @ a 8.5 yards a clip and they have zero deep threats. They'll throw to Heap and McGahee out of the backfield, but with our speedy corners, I think it will be difficult for the Baltimore QB's to get anything downfield, effectively allowing us to stack 8 or 9 guys in the box against McGahee. If we can keep McGahee bottled up between the tackles and avoid play action strikes downfield, we should be able to keep this affair low scoring, which is crucial, as it could be difficult to score alot of points against Baltimore.

3. Attack deep and out downfield - This is not the typical devastating Baltimore defense of the past. They are giving up 19 PPG and they have more holes than usual. It will be difficult to run the ball against the Ravens, so it is crucial to attack downfield and to the sidelines. With Hagans likely to see significant time, I would love to see him running skinny posts down the edge and flag patterns to the sideline. We are going to have to pass first in this game to later establish the run, and we can successfully do this if the line can give Frerotte time. The O-line was significantly improved last week and they should be even better this week. Bennett could be a huge factor against Baltimore's bigger corners.

WHY WE WILL LOSE

1. Getting gashed by McGahee - If we let McGahee run all over the field, Baltimore will use their pass-action passing game to take some shots downfield. They haven't be successful up to this point, but they could be against our corners, if they are forced to take chances. Early pressure would be crucial to disrupting this play action attack, and putting McNair on his back early who cause him to be tentative all game.

2. Failure to Pick up the blitz - This is simple enough. The Ravens will blitz early and often. If we can sit back and pick up this blitz, we can gash the Ravens downfield. If they get numerous sacks, especially early, we may not score ten points.

3. Build a lead - If we could get a 10 point lead in this game, I don't think Baltimore will recover. They don't have the offensive firepower to overcome big deficits, and if we can control the clock, and field position, they could be a long day for their offense.

Prediction -

Rams 16, Ravens 9