The best thing about Monday Night Football is that we get to experience a sort of long weekend every week during the NFL season. Only during football season can we say we are looking forward to Monday, and this week's Monday Night Football matchup will be a clash of two defensive titans.
Tonight, the Baltimore Ravens will take on the New York Jets in a highly-anticipated battle at the new Meadowlands Stadium. The Jets have been in the offseason limelight through HBO's Hard Knocks, and Rex Ryan seems to believe that his team has already won the Super Bowl.
The Ravens have also had a taste of the "fame monster" with Ray Lewis' hilarious Old Spice commercial, but we really want to see what these two teams can do on the field.
Here are some bold predictions for tonight's Monday night showdown.
Expect the Jets to try and run the ball early against the Ravens' defense, and Shonn Green will be given the majority of the carries.
The problem here is that Baltimore is extremely successful defending the run, and the Ravens will be trying to force the Jets to put the ball in the air by defending early against the running back.
The Baltimore Ravens are known for their defense, but this will be the year in which their offense shines. The Ravens have surrounded young quarterback Joe Flacco with plenty of weapons to supply his arsenal against a strong Jets defense with the acquisitions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
As I've said before, I think this will be Joe Flacco's year to prove that he can run with the big dogs of the NFL's elite quarterbacks.
This might not be the boldest of predictions, but I expect Mark Sanchez to get torn apart by the Ravens defense. Sanchez is inconsistent and inexperienced, and he simply does not have what it takes to lead a team to the end zone against the Ravens.
The Ravens have a great running back in Ray Rice. Too bad he won't pick up much yardage against a tough Jets rush defense.
Joe Flacco will have to make use of his receivers in this game in order to move the ball because neither team will allow the other to gain yards on the ground.
The New York Jets, especially, will have to depend on their defense to capitalize on turnovers in order to score points against the Ravens.
With young quarterbacks on teams, this game cannot be won by offense alone. I am expecting both teams to rely on defensive touchdowns to put points on the board.
With the preseason holdout of Darrelle Revis, the Jets have encountered a big question mark regarding the cornerback.
The Ravens will test the Jets secondary early in the game with their strong receiving corps, and a rusty Revis would be very bad news for New York.
We will find out in the first quarter of this football game if Revis' game has been affected with his off-field troubles, and if it has, expect the Ravens to exploit this hole in the Jets defense.
Even though both of these teams are outstanding on defense, I expect the score to be higher than your usual defensive battle.
This game will come down to which quarterback has the best command of the ball, and I am predicting that Joe Flacco will outplay Mark Sanchez in every category.
Rex Ryan has had his fun bragging about the Jets defense, but tonight's game will be the real test. Last season, the Jets were at the top of the league in total defense, and after their game against the Baltimore Ravens, I expect them to slip in NFL defensive rankings.
Even though the Jets are favored to win over the Ravens, I am predicting an upset. The Jets have been over-hyped during the preseason, and Baltimore is just waiting for the chance to put them in their place.
Predicted Final Score: Ravens 27, Jets 14
Even though I have selected the Ravens to win this football game, I still think that both teams have playoff potential.
Later on in the season, the Jets will be able to rely on former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes to work some receiving, and these two teams will find themselves going head-to-head once again in the postseason.