Baltimore Ravens not facing must-win games yet


Nov 9, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) celebrates with wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

In a 16-game NFL season, every single matchup is important. This is particularly true for a contending team in a playoff race that is so tight at the moment. This statement applies to the Baltimore Ravens.

They currently hold a record of 6-4, and four other teams in the AFC fighting for a wild card spot have records of 7-4. At first glance, this can make the Monday Night matchup with New Orleans look like a must win for Baltimore. That, however, is not the truth.

In fact, if the Ravens do indeed win this game, they will have grabbed a bonus victory. The reason I say that is because they are facing a team that isn’t even in their conference in the New Orleans Saints. So although every game is important, this is probably the one that the Ravens least need to grab.

Over the next two weeks, they will face the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins, and those teams hold records of 7-4 and 6-5 respectively. Those two games are far more important than this week’s game in the Big Easy. Since both of these teams are in the thick of the wild card race, holding a head-to-head tie breaker is a big deal for the Raven, not to mention the importance of overtaking those teams’ records.

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And in Week 17, they will face the Cleveland Browns. That game could have multiple implications, because not only are both those teams fighting for a wild card spot, but they are also both fighting for the AFC North division crown. Which games do you think are more important?

Please don’t take this article out of context. I am not by any means stating that tonight’s game does not matter for Baltimore and they should just take a day off. Far from that.

This is still a very important game, and it would be a huge victory for the Ravens to take. Weeks removed from a truly good performance, a win tonight would at least be huge for morale, if not necessarily in the big picture playoff race. What I’m saying is that if the Ravens do lose, it won’t be the end of the world. The Ravens can lose two of the next three games and still make the playoffs, though they’d need some help.

Finally, the Ravens still have two below-average teams in Jacksonville and Houston remaining on the schedule, so a loss tonight should not produce panic in Baltimore.