It's the first week of Playoff Prediction Friday.
Let's hope it's not the last (for the Ravens anyway).
Speaking of the Ravens, last week's 13-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was highly uninspiring. It also was highly unexpected given your predictions in this space last week.
I had the Ravens winning, 27-7, and there weren't many closer. In fact, no one was within 10 points, with most everybody expecting the Ravens to score at least 20.
So I am not giving out free drink chips or bar tabs this week. This is not a charity watering hole. You've got to earn it.
No worries, though. You can earn it today.
I know the Kansas City Chiefs have been good this year and that city will be rocking with playoff football to host Sunday. I just think the Ravens are better. Plain and simple. No matter where the game is held.
So I'm taking the Ravens, 21-13. My hero of the game will be Joe Flacco, who throws three TDs to three different receivers. An assist will go to the defense, which will cause three turnovers, including a late one to seal the victory.
Now it is your turn. Predict the winner, the score and the hero of the game (as a tiebreaker). If anyone gets close, I certainly will mention it next week. Promise.
For those of you who demand Orioles in this space, I'm here for you. It's been an eventful week, and there are plenty of topics from which to choose. But let's make it a general one.
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail was getting ripped early this offseason for not doing anything while guys like Victor Martinez, Jayson Werth and Adam Dunn were signing elsewhere.
Instead, MacPhail kept saying he had a plan and he would fill the club's holes. Now, in early January, the Orioles have added two corner infielders (Mark Reynolds and Derrek Lee), a shortstop (J.J. Hardy), two utility infielders (Cesar Izturis and Brendan Harris) and three relievers (Kevin Gregg, Jeremy Accardo and Koji Uehara).
The Orioles have been busy. They've gotten better, too, though they didn't add any marquee names and still aren't in the same class as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. And that may be how they have to be judged. I'll leave that up to you.
What I want to know is how you think the Orioles have fared this offseason. I want you to grade MacPhail on his moves. I'd say a B-. Overall, it was solid, but I think a little more aggressiveness would have gotten them Martinez, and given them a B+ without breaking the bank. Your take?
Daily Think Special: Prediction Friday: Ravens-Chiefs
Bonus Think Special: Grade the Orioles/Andy MacPhail's offseason