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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

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Of the Ravens’ final 11 games, four of them will be played against teams with first-year starting quarterbacks. That includes the two games against the Cincinnati Bengals and their rookie signal-caller Andy Dalton , the game against the Curtis Painter -led Indianapolis Colts and Monday night’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert . It does not include the Oct. 30 Arizona Cardinals tilt, though it easily could because Kevin Kolb is essentially an undisputed starter for the first time in his career. Another two will be played against the Cleveland Browns and their struggling second-year quarterback Colt McCoy . And then there are the games against the Seattle Seahawks, who will likely start Tarvaris Jackson , and the San Francisco 49ers, who barring an injury will start Alex Smith . Both Jackson and Smith have been maligned throughout their young careers. All of what I just mentioned is a long way of saying that the Ravens will face two elite quarterbacks – the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and the San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers – the rest of the regular season. That, more than anything, is why I think the Ravens will wind up winning more games than most people originally expected. We all know the “Any Given Sunday” cliches, but the Ravens have been feasting on young and unproven quarterbacks for years. The Jets’ Mark Sanchez and the Rams’ Sam Bradford were added to that list already this season. With how aggressive defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has been and how well the Ravens have shut down the run, it’s very hard to envision some of these quarterbacks having any extended success against this defense.     


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