of a .500 team able to make a real run, but desperate for a win before we get to the midseason mark.
Baltimore will have to step it up defensively. They've given up an average of 28 points a game against New England, Minnesota and San Diego, the latter being a Week 2 win. They've done a complete reversal from last year when they were built on D, running the ball and letting Joe Flacco manage the game. Now, with old defensive coordinator Rex Ryan in New York, along with a couple players, they are relying on Flacco to carry them. He's responded to the pressure and outplayed both Brady and Favre and had his team in position to win both games. Denver is doing it the Raven way of '08 this time around, playing good defense, pressuing the quarterback and getting efficient work from Kyle Orton. But the win streak comes to an end on Sunday and Baltimore keeps themselves afloat at home.
A couple other modestly interesting games to watch will be
when Miami plays the Jets on the road, in a rematch of their Monday Night game a few weeks ago. The Dolphins need to win to stay in contention, but I don't think it happens here. And Houston goes up to Buffalo. The Texans are hanging around, and this is the kind of game a team like that often finds a way to lose and drive its fans crazy. But it doesn't happen here, and the Houston dream lives a little while longer.
Tomorrow we'll look at the three big ones--Giants-Eagles, Vikes-Packers and Falcons-Saints on Monday night.