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I think people are trying to point to one particular thing causing the problem when I think it's multi-faceted.  I think several problems are hindering the running game.  Why couldn't it be?

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13 hours ago, Bolts2Colts said:

Through six games, Rivers leads the league in big-time throws in the first half (per PFF) and is top 5 in deep throw accuracy. 
 

Why do you guys have to blame Rivers for everything. 

Because it’s convenient...

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14 hours ago, Bolts2Colts said:

Through six games, Rivers leads the league in big-time throws in the first half (per PFF) and is top 5 in deep throw accuracy. 
 

Why do you guys have to blame Rivers for everything. 

Because a portion of current Colt fans were born into their fandom with a Manning pacifier in their mouth. 

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20 hours ago, chad72 said:

It is more an indictment of Reich's predictable play calling, IMO. 

 There are situations that call for “predictable” plays to be called: 4th and 1, qb sneak, running down the clock when you have the lead, 3rd and long, pass, etc.

   Have you forgotten the 7step drop mentality that got Andrew Luck killed and

influenced his early retirement? I’ll take Reich over that, any day!

   I have to disagree that Reich isn’t creative (I’m assuming that’s the point of your comment). I would agree that he’s still learning and has made some calls, he’d like to have back (the pass to big Q). 
   We don’t know how many of those failed calls were to bad execution, like the run on 4th and 2 in the Jacksonville game, which failed in part, due a missed block.

   We look at the result and assume it was solely on the coach.
   Even if a play is predictable, If it succeeds because they see something (even though the other team knows it’s coming), isn’t that good play calling. 
   In Philadelphia, a lot of fans recognize Reich as a huge part of their 2017 success and see a big contrast in him and what they have now. IMO he’s an above average play caller that is getting better.

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20 minutes ago, coltsfeva said:

 There are situations that call for “predictable” plays to be called: 4th and 1, qb sneak, running down the clock when you have the lead, 3rd and long, pass, etc.

   Have you forgotten the 7step drop mentality that got Andrew Luck killed and

influenced his early retirement? I’ll take Reich over that, any day!

   I have to disagree that Reich isn’t creative (I’m assuming that’s the point of your comment). I would agree that he’s still learning and has made some calls, he’d like to have back (the pass to big Q). 
   We don’t know how many of those failed calls were to bad execution, like the run on 4th and 2 in the Jacksonville game, which failed in part, due a missed block.

   We look at the result and assume it was solely on the coach.
   Even if a play is predictable, If it succeeds because they see something (even though the other team knows it’s coming), isn’t that good play calling. 
   In Philadelphia, a lot of fans recognize Reich as a huge part of their 2017 success and see a big contrast in him and what they have now. IMO he’s an above average play caller that is getting better.

 

Yes. He is not a terrible play caller by any means, just that he has been more predictable early on. I have not seen enough rub routes to get WRs catching passes like Rivers used to do with Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams. Rivers was always good for connecting on one or two bombs to the lesser known WRs in Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman then. Marcus Johnson fits the bill there. Not having a TE or WR catch enough passes in the middle against weak safety corps of the Browns, a secondary we should have exploited, it is either that he is predictable or his conservative nature is playing into the predictable aspect. He can still call several plays that scheme guys open in the passing offense, not yearning for 7 step drops whatsoever.

 

That is why I said I hope it doesn't take a deficit like vs the Bengals to pass on early downs and keep our O less predictable. The X factor I do not have any knowledge of is if Rivers is given the freedom to audible out of plays. Given Rivers' experience, it would be a natural thing that would benefit us.

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5 minutes ago, chad72 said:

 

Yes. He is not a terrible play caller by any means, just that he has been more predictable early on. I have not seen enough rub routes to get WRs catching passes like Rivers used to do with Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams.

We've run plenty of rubs, at least in several games. The "third and Rivers" break down showed a few if you want to google the youtube.

 

5 minutes ago, chad72 said:

Rivers was always good for connecting on one or two bombs to the lesser known WRs in Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman then. Marcus Johnson fits the bill there. Not having a TE or WR catch enough passes in the middle against weak safety corps of the Browns, a secondary we should have exploited, it is either that he is predictable or his conservative nature is playing into the predictable aspect. He can still call several plays that scheme guys open in the passing offense, not yearning for 7 step drops whatsoever.

He's had some good calls, just not consistent at all. He's a lot more predictable than creative. Loved those unexpected sail routes to Mo, and then we never saw them again. He seems to settle with too much forcing to TY and Pascal. I feel like early on he was doing that with Burton too. Burton did well last week though. 

5 minutes ago, chad72 said:

 

That is why I said I hope it doesn't take a deficit like vs the Bengals to pass on early downs and keep our O less predictable. The X factor I do not have any knowledge of is if Rivers is given the freedom to audible out of plays. Given Rivers' experience, it would be a natural thing that would benefit us.

Yea, not sure either. I know he's changed a few, but most plays look to go as called. I'd love a few more Air Coryell type plays. That dime he threw to Pascal before he broke was incredible. I'd prefer to throw it to someone faster than Pascal though. 

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22 minutes ago, EastStreet said:

We've run plenty of rubs, at least in several games. The "third and Rivers" break down showed a few if you want to google the you tube.

 

It is just never enough for me but I stand corrected there. :) 

 

Pascal has gotten open enough times to hit him in stride to be honest but Rivers doesn't look for him enough, IMO. Last week, guys like Pascal and Burton produced, mainly because Rivers and the offense started looking for them more. If we are short of pass catchers due to injury, might as well use every single person we have that can catch passes. Our guys not named TY were getting open even before the Bengals game, just need to look for them and trust them more.

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4 minutes ago, chad72 said:

 

It is just never enough for me but I stand corrected there. :) 

 

Pascal has gotten open enough times to hit him in stride to be honest but Rivers doesn't look for him enough, IMO. Last week, guys like Pascal and Burton produced, mainly because Rivers and the offense started looking for them more. If we are short of pass catchers due to injury, might as well use every single person we have that can catch passes. Our guys not named TY were getting open even before the Bengals game, just need to look for them and trust them more.

Pascal runs great routes, and gets open, but he doesn't really get good separation comparatively. His average sep/targ is 2.5 this year, which is ranked 95ish. IIRC, the average separation in the league is around 2.8. He did well last week in that area though with a 3.23.

 

As far as trust goes, route running is key. That's likely why Pascal and TY get over targeted, while at the same time less than the league average in separation. But it also ends up impacting things like catch %, which both TY and Pascal are poor compared to league average, while Rivers is actually top 10ish in completion %. It's also why they rank relatively low in YAC.

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On 10/23/2020 at 2:56 PM, DownHillRunner said:

According to Next Gen Stats 

 

 

"Rookie RB Jonathan Taylor has faced a stacked box on 27.27% of his carries this season. 5th most in the NFL (min 30 attempts)."

 

 

 

Last season, Marlon Mack saw a stacked box on 12.15% of his carries. 39th in the NFL (min 85 carries).

 

 

Nobody fears Rivers ability to throw the ball downfield until he proves he can do it on a consistent basis. The Bengals game was a start and Marcus Johnson will help stretch the field. People should stop pointing fingers at the offensive line and dig more deeper into why the running game hasn't been better than it was last year. Loosing Mack hurt a lot more than people thought as well. The Lions give up a ton of yards on the ground and if the running game is going the time is now!

 

 

You do realize this stat actually makes Taylor look even better, right? Lol.

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17 hours ago, Four2itus said:

Because a portion of current Colt fans were born into their fandom with a Manning pacifier in their mouth. 

There is a lot of truth to this comment if you think about it. 

It is never easy for a fanbase to get over the loss of a QB some consider one of the best to ever play the game.

Then Manning was replaced by Luck. When Luck was healthy he was a beast. A linebacker mentality playing QB. 

What made him fun to watch is what lead him to an early exit. 

With Manning and then Luck this team was carried by the play of the QB position. 

 

I think Ballard has been working on a team that is not dependent on a pro bowl caliber QB to win games. 

A lot of Colt fans don't get excited when we don't have a super hero that puts us in awe. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, crazycolt1 said:

There is a lot of truth to this comment if you think about it. 

It is never easy for a fanbase to get over the loss of a QB some consider one of the best to ever play the game.

Then Manning was replaced by Luck. When Luck was healthy he was a beast. A linebacker mentality playing QB. 

What made him fun to watch is what lead him to an early exit. 

With Manning and then Luck this team was carried by the play of the QB position. 

 

I think Ballard has been working on a team that is not dependent on a pro bowl caliber QB to win games. 

A lot of Colt fans don't get excited when we don't have a super hero that puts us in awe. 

 

 

Problem is that non pro bowl caliber teams almost never advance in the playoffs. 

 

I dont think that's the plan for Ballard I think it's more the reality with luck's sudden retirement.  This team is actually built around elite qbing imo.  Had Ballard known before, he would have been wise to try to get an elite qb because elite QBs win championships.  I'm glad we have Buckner big time but if we dont find a qb solution we are going to be one of those teams just talented enough to get a middle 1st round pick and will need to get lucky at qb drafting.  Eason. Could be the answer.  Who knows?  QB drafting is like drafting hitters in mlb.  There is rarely a hitter or qb drafted that is surely going to be good.

 

I hope I am wrong but I think the team is in for a tough couple months after the lions.

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5 hours ago, Nickster said:

Problem is that non pro bowl caliber teams almost never advance in the playoffs. 

 

I dont think that's the plan for Ballard I think it's more the reality with luck's sudden retirement.  This team is actually built around elite qbing imo.  Had Ballard known before, he would have been wise to try to get an elite qb because elite QBs win championships.  I'm glad we have Buckner big time but if we dont find a qb solution we are going to be one of those teams just talented enough to get a middle 1st round pick and will need to get lucky at qb drafting.  Eason. Could be the answer.  Who knows?  QB drafting is like drafting hitters in mlb.  There is rarely a hitter or qb drafted that is surely going to be good.

 

I hope I am wrong but I think the team is in for a tough couple months after the lions.

Brutal schedule coming out of the bye. I think this team can hang with the titans. Its those two home games against the Ravens and Packers that concern me. They have to win at least 1 of those games. 

 

The reason Ballard was in a position to acquire D Buck is because he has done a great job building this roster with depth which gives him the flexibility to part with draft picks. I'm not saying he is going to trade up to get Fields, Lawrence, or Lance; I'm saying he has options to get this team's next franchise Quarterback. Add that to the cap space next season and you have a lot of flexibility. 

 

Another thing, if Ballard think this team is ready to compete for a Super Bowl title lets say next season and Eason isn't ready until 2022, there is no doubt in my mind that he will load the cannon and fire to get his franchise Quarterback. Rivers will not lead this team to a Super Bowl title regardless if they bring him back and give Eason another year to develop. 

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On 10/23/2020 at 4:49 PM, bestQBever said:

Finally someone who sees it for how it is. I really like JT but his vision imo is a glaring issue and is what is preventing him from being an elite RB already. We saw guys like zeke and saquon pop off year 1 and I believe that physically, JT is better than both of those guys. I think right now he is thinking about what to do at every level of the play instead of saying "oh, if the play unfolds like this, this lane will be open and then I can beat this guy at this angle." I think while Marlon didn't have the size, his vision is pretty much what catapulted him into a top 10 RB status.

 

Not quite sure JT is more physically gifted than Saquon (not sure any RB in the NFL is, TBH -- maybe Derrick Henry due to how massive he is?).  Their 40 yard dash, 20 yard split, 10 yard split, 20 yard shuttle are just about identical (JT ran a 4.39, SB ran a 4.40).  Saquon had a 5 inch higher vertical leap and 12 more reps at 225 lbs on bench and is also 8 pounds heavier and 2 inches taller.

 

Also, not sure Mack is a top 10 RB.  I like Mack, he had a good year last year... but behind one of the top OLs in the NFL, he ranked 24th in average yards per carry last year out of those who had >100 carries.  He has developed good vision over time and he is a pretty solid receiving back (which Taylor is proving to be as well).  Mack has never been 'dominant' and he certainly wasn't any more than 'average' as a rookie.  Taylor's performing better than Mack did as a rookie and his vision and decisiveness seem to be improving every week.  If he stays healthy, he'll be just fine.

 

On 10/23/2020 at 7:37 PM, Painterman said:

Anyone think we may be sandbagging? Long season, schedule gets harder, shouldn't show too much too soon. 

 

I have thought that at points... but due to the amount of injuries we have had to key players (Pittman, Campbell, Mack, all of our top 3 TEs at time, etc.) I think Reich/Sirianni have been forced to pull back some on O play calling.  I also think TY is not the same TY he has been in the past, whether he's lost a step or is just not syncing up with Rivers or a combination of the two, he doesn't seem to be his old self.  It seems like Marcus Johnson is now our primary deep threat (think about that if you're an offensive play caller - a guy who got cut and resigned to the practice squad is the #1deep threat when going into the season we thought Campbell, Pittman and TY would be 3 very solid deep threats).  If the guys we have stay healthy and if Pittman (and potentially Campbell) come back 100% healthy, I could see them opening up the playbook a bit more, but I think we've been pretty limited in the WR (and at times TE) part of our offense.

 

On 10/25/2020 at 4:19 AM, crazycolt1 said:

There is a lot of truth to this comment if you think about it. 

It is never easy for a fanbase to get over the loss of a QB some consider one of the best to ever play the game.

Then Manning was replaced by Luck. When Luck was healthy he was a beast. A linebacker mentality playing QB. 

What made him fun to watch is what lead him to an early exit. 

With Manning and then Luck this team was carried by the play of the QB position. 

 

I think Ballard has been working on a team that is not dependent on a pro bowl caliber QB to win games. 

A lot of Colt fans don't get excited when we don't have a super hero that puts us in awe. 

 

 

 

Ballard has been saying that since day 1.

 

On 10/25/2020 at 6:57 AM, Nickster said:

Problem is that non pro bowl caliber teams almost never advance in the playoffs. 

 

I dont think that's the plan for Ballard I think it's more the reality with luck's sudden retirement.  This team is actually built around elite qbing imo.  Had Ballard known before, he would have been wise to try to get an elite qb because elite QBs win championships.  I'm glad we have Buckner big time but if we dont find a qb solution we are going to be one of those teams just talented enough to get a middle 1st round pick and will need to get lucky at qb drafting.  Eason. Could be the answer.  Who knows?  QB drafting is like drafting hitters in mlb.  There is rarely a hitter or qb drafted that is surely going to be good.

 

I hope I am wrong but I think the team is in for a tough couple months after the lions.

 

I don't think Rivers is really too far off from being pro-bowl caliber.  He's 6th in completion percentage and 9th in average yards per pass.  He has thrown a couple of baffling INTs, but otherwise he's playing good ball and he's playing with a new group who he had no preseason games with, a limited camp with, and is down his #2 and #3 WR, #1 RB, and has seen all of his top 3 guys miss at least one game.  It'd be nice if his TD numbers were a bit higher, but with the loss of Pittman, we don't really have a truly dangerous RZ WR.  

 

I think we'll be just fine to be hunting for the playoffs and AFC South title after this next stretch.  Pitt beating TEN was big for us last week.  TEN is going into Cincy who has lost 4 of 5 games by 1 score or less and who has tied once.  They're not really a pushover (I expect TEN to win, but won't be shocked if Burrows and Cincy give them a heck of a fight).  Then they have CHI who is 5-2 and who beat TB after we basically dominated them.  They've got to play IND twice, CLE, GB, and Baltimore after CHI (they also have Jax, HOU, and DET) -- they don't have a walk in the park down the second half of the season.   

 

We should be able to beat DET, LV, sweep HOU and beat Jax at home... that's 5 wins (9-7)... but I think we can at least split with TEN (now we're 10-6), and win at least 1 of 3 out of Baltimore, GB, Pitt (that'd be 11-5).  We should get a WR target back very soon (Pittman), potentially get an additional pass rusher (Turay) at some point down the stretch and potentially get Campbell back late in the  season.  So long as the guys we have now stay healthy, we should continue to improve as the season goes on.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To the original poster - I don't think teams stacking the box is their way of disrespecting Rivers.  Rivers is top 5 in the league in deep ball accuracy and he's shown multiple times he still has an arm.  I think teams do fear Taylor a bit, he has shown on several occasions (including his first NFL catch) how fast he is and how dangerous he can be if he gets into space.  Our offensive play calling has also been pretty predictable at times.  Finally, I think the main reason why teams are stacking the box is because we don't really seem to have a true deep threat.  TY and Rivers have not been in sync all season, TY's had a few bad drops and I think he has lost a step (maybe I'm wrong, but he doesn't seem like the same dynamic TY and I think he was better the first half of last year with Brissett, so I don't think he was just a product of Luck).  Rivers lost his fastest WR, Campbell, and has been without his biggest WR, Pittman.  Going into the season with TY, Pittman, Campbell as the top 3 WRs really seemed like they'd be able to blow the top off defenses -- after 3 games it seems like TY's not the TY of old, then Pascal, Fountain and Dulin don't seem to have been able to strike much fear into opposing defenses (though, I do think Dulin could be a deep threat).  Maybe Marcus Johnson will turn out to be a deep threat -- he's averaging 20.9 yards per catch... and in the 3 games he's played he has had a long of 27, then 36, then 55 yards.  If he keeps that up against stiffer competition, teams will likely have to start accounting for it or pay the price if they keep stacking the box.

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18 hours ago, CurBeatElite said:

 

Not quite sure JT is more physically gifted than Saquon (not sure any RB in the NFL is, TBH -- maybe Derrick Henry due to how massive he is?).  Their 40 yard dash, 20 yard split, 10 yard split, 20 yard shuttle are just about identical (JT ran a 4.39, SB ran a 4.40).  Saquon had a 5 inch higher vertical leap and 12 more reps at 225 lbs on bench and is also 8 pounds heavier and 2 inches taller.

 

Also, not sure Mack is a top 10 RB.  I like Mack, he had a good year last year... but behind one of the top OLs in the NFL, he ranked 24th in average yards per carry last year out of those who had >100 carries.  He has developed good vision over time and he is a pretty solid receiving back (which Taylor is proving to be as well).  Mack has never been 'dominant' and he certainly wasn't any more than 'average' as a rookie.  Taylor's performing better than Mack did as a rookie and his vision and decisiveness seem to be improving every week.  If he stays healthy, he'll be just fine.

 

 

I have thought that at points... but due to the amount of injuries we have had to key players (Pittman, Campbell, Mack, all of our top 3 TEs at time, etc.) I think Reich/Sirianni have been forced to pull back some on O play calling.  I also think TY is not the same TY he has been in the past, whether he's lost a step or is just not syncing up with Rivers or a combination of the two, he doesn't seem to be his old self.  It seems like Marcus Johnson is now our primary deep threat (think about that if you're an offensive play caller - a guy who got cut and resigned to the practice squad is the #1deep threat when going into the season we thought Campbell, Pittman and TY would be 3 very solid deep threats).  If the guys we have stay healthy and if Pittman (and potentially Campbell) come back 100% healthy, I could see them opening up the playbook a bit more, but I think we've been pretty limited in the WR (and at times TE) part of our offense.

 

 

Ballard has been saying that since day 1.

 

 

I don't think Rivers is really too far off from being pro-bowl caliber.  He's 6th in completion percentage and 9th in average yards per pass.  He has thrown a couple of baffling INTs, but otherwise he's playing good ball and he's playing with a new group who he had no preseason games with, a limited camp with, and is down his #2 and #3 WR, #1 RB, and has seen all of his top 3 guys miss at least one game.  It'd be nice if his TD numbers were a bit higher, but with the loss of Pittman, we don't really have a truly dangerous RZ WR.  

 

I think we'll be just fine to be hunting for the playoffs and AFC South title after this next stretch.  Pitt beating TEN was big for us last week.  TEN is going into Cincy who has lost 4 of 5 games by 1 score or less and who has tied once.  They're not really a pushover (I expect TEN to win, but won't be shocked if Burrows and Cincy give them a heck of a fight).  Then they have CHI who is 5-2 and who beat TB after we basically dominated them.  They've got to play IND twice, CLE, GB, and Baltimore after CHI (they also have Jax, HOU, and DET) -- they don't have a walk in the park down the second half of the season.   

 

We should be able to beat DET, LV, sweep HOU and beat Jax at home... that's 5 wins (9-7)... but I think we can at least split with TEN (now we're 10-6), and win at least 1 of 3 out of Baltimore, GB, Pitt (that'd be 11-5).  We should get a WR target back very soon (Pittman), potentially get an additional pass rusher (Turay) at some point down the stretch and potentially get Campbell back late in the  season.  So long as the guys we have now stay healthy, we should continue to improve as the season goes on.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To the original poster - I don't think teams stacking the box is their way of disrespecting Rivers.  Rivers is top 5 in the league in deep ball accuracy and he's shown multiple times he still has an arm.  I think teams do fear Taylor a bit, he has shown on several occasions (including his first NFL catch) how fast he is and how dangerous he can be if he gets into space.  Our offensive play calling has also been pretty predictable at times.  Finally, I think the main reason why teams are stacking the box is because we don't really seem to have a true deep threat.  TY and Rivers have not been in sync all season, TY's had a few bad drops and I think he has lost a step (maybe I'm wrong, but he doesn't seem like the same dynamic TY and I think he was better the first half of last year with Brissett, so I don't think he was just a product of Luck).  Rivers lost his fastest WR, Campbell, and has been without his biggest WR, Pittman.  Going into the season with TY, Pittman, Campbell as the top 3 WRs really seemed like they'd be able to blow the top off defenses -- after 3 games it seems like TY's not the TY of old, then Pascal, Fountain and Dulin don't seem to have been able to strike much fear into opposing defenses (though, I do think Dulin could be a deep threat).  Maybe Marcus Johnson will turn out to be a deep threat -- he's averaging 20.9 yards per catch... and in the 3 games he's played he has had a long of 27, then 36, then 55 yards.  If he keeps that up against stiffer competition, teams will likely have to start accounting for it or pay the price if they keep stacking the box.

Here's the thing for me.  The Colts really have not been able to do what they planned to do because of personnel issues, so it is hard to see how good they might be if they switch up gears.

 

I think they toyed with the idea of going to a more power type of running style because they had the fullback on the squad but decided to stick with the Mack outside/inside zone stuff that was effective while he was in there the last two years.  I think they wanted to run this stretch action and couple it with alot of deep crossers to Campbell and this is a great combo.  The stretch play opens up the play action when it holds the backers and Campbell could run right behind them in front of the safeties.  To do this effectively, that long handoff is the key.  You also can screen that when you get a big upfield rush from the line.

I don't think Taylor has shown he can be very effective at this type of play yet.  Apparently, we don't have anyone who the staff thinks can run that crosser effectively.  

 

Now with Mack out, Campbell out, musical chairs at TE, TY's drop issues earlier, etc., I think it's hard to run the type of offense that they planned on and JT is not a versatile type of back right now that can do "different" things.  He in all likelihood needs to have a more quick hitting power running philosophy.  

 

I think the early easier schedule makes it difficult to tell how well we've adjusted.  Even the Lions are a little better.  The next 5 weeks are probably as brutal a stretch as there will be in football.

 

I say all this to say that I think Rivers has done pretty well despite the circumstances.  He is the guy I wanted the Colts to sign in the first place.  But if we are going to run into the problems I think we will run into this next month or so, having a guy who could make plays after the play breaks down might be essential.  

 

I've been saying we will know where we stand after the next 5 weeks, but I think Lions and Ravens will tell us a lot.

 

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