The Baltimore Ravens have entered uncharted territory since John Harbaugh has taken over as head coach. Coming off a disappointing loss at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, another loss on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals will put the Ravens at 0-3 for the first time in franchise history.
Last week was one of those games that was not really a must-win, but was definitely a game in which the Ravens needed as things get even more difficult from here. Now the Ravens enter an important divisional matchup against the Bengals, knowing that they travel to Pittsburgh just a few days later. The possibility of the Ravens going 0-4 to start the season is very real.
That’s why this week is a real must-win for the Ravens or you can kiss any shot at the playoffs goodbye.
The biggest disappointment for the Ravens has to be the defensive play so far. It is just inexcusable to shut down Peyton Manning, one of the greatest of all-time, and then get lit up by second-year quarterback Derek Carr. The secondary was able to contain one of the best wide receiver duos in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but let Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper run wild.
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The offense has been up-and-down to start the season as well. The offense did absolutely nothing against the Broncos until its final drive. Steve Smith Sr. dropped a pass in the end zone and then Joe Flacco threw an interception into double coverage. The Ravens lone touchdown came on defense with a Jimmy Smith pick-six. They came out firing against the Raiders, putting up 493 yards and 33 points, but the defense let them down by allowing 37 points, allowing the go-ahead score with 26 seconds remaining.
So which team shows up against the team that Harbaugh dubbed “the most talented team in the league” earlier in the week? That’s what leaves us scratching our heads.
It’s hard to hard to judge when teams play similar opponents because every team is different each week. What cannot be looked over is that the Raiders allowed 33 points in back-to-back weeks. The Bengals managed to get a win. The Ravens did not. Cincinnati held Oakland to 13 points, while Baltimore gave up 37. Right now, the Bengals are the better team.
The Bengals are averaging 392.5 yards of total offense and have scored 57 points in two games. Andy Dalton has yet to turn the ball over or be sacked. The defense has allowed just 32 points and is currently ranked in the top-six in both yards allowed and points allowed. Through two weeks of this season, it is fair to say that the Bengals are ONE of the best teams. I’m not ready to name them the best as long as the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots are still led by their future Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
If there is one thing to look forward to its that the Ravens have yet to play that complete game. The defense played great one game and the offense didn’t. The next time out, it was the opposite. If the Ravens are going to beat the Bengals, this is the week they need get it all together.
Otherwise, the Ravens will start their 20th year of existence with the worst record in franchise history with a short week in Pittsburgh upcoming.
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