You can say I was a little harsh yesterday on the Baltimore Ravens. After days of trying to figure out how to explain what is going on with this team, the frustration of knowing that one of the better teams in the NFL could end up winless in the first month of the season was unfathomable.
Must have woke up on a different side of the bed because I’m feeling more optimistic today.
It is hard to be a Baltimore sports fan right now. At a time when the Orioles are teasing fans – that will likely lead to disappointment – usually the Ravens are always there to lift our spirits. Instead, the Ravens have put themselves in this hole by losing their first two games. It has put the team and city on edge.
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The Ravens will need of a complete game against the Cincinnati Bengals because the schedule only gets more difficult from here. They travel to Pittsburgh for a Thursday night game against the Steelers and road teams historically haven’t fared well on the short week. The threat of an 0-4 start is scary to think about for a team that many felt would be Super Bowl contenders.
The team gets a bit of a break before hosting the Cleveland Browns in Week 5, but another round of back-to-back games on the West Coast looms. They decided to stay on the West Coast for the first two games, but cancelled those same plans for the two games against the San Fransisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. The Browns are the only one of those teams that looks to be an “easy” win, but that’s what we thought about the game against the Oakland Raiders also. It’s very unlikely, but based on the competition ahead, the Ravens could start the season with just two wins through the first half of the season. It’s scary to think that it could be even less than that.
I said I was optimistic because it won’t happen.
The Ravens are one of a short list of teams who are capable of turning things around in a hurry and get right back into the thick of things. That’s in large part because the structure of the Ravens could go down as one of the best in the history of football.
If there is one coach you want in your locker room in a situation that’s begging for intensity, it’s Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. You better believe Harbaugh will have his team fired up because this is territory that the Ravens have never been in before. His teams have always been fierce competitors that rise to the occasion and that’s the situation the Ravens have put themselves in.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome continues to find ways to make his team better. With the team struggling to make plays in the secondary last week, he went out an added another talent at cornerback by trading for former Miami Dolphin Will Davis for a seventh-round pick. It’s no real loss for the Ravens because they picked up an additional seventh-rounder by trading Nick Easton at the end of training camp. Brilliant moves by the Ravens GM once again.
This team is too talented to be winless because the core of this roster is still one of the best in the league. The Ravens are stout in the middle of their defense as always. Brandon Williams, C.J. Mosley and Will Hill are off to fantastic starts despite the current record. The offensive line is still a strength and is led by the franchise leader in just about every passing statistic. Steve Smith Sr. might be in his final season, but he is playing like one of the top wide outs in the game right now. So far, that hasn’t translated into wins, however.
That changes tomorrow.
The Ravens will be at M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in nearly a month when the Bengals come to Baltimore. They are hungry for a win against a team that is feeling good about themselves through the first two games. Cincinnati has basically been flawless to start the season, but we know that’s not typical of them. Andy Dalton has yet to make any mistakes, but he’s known for being a turnover machine. It’s the perfect situation for coordinators Marc Trestman and Dean Pees to attack the Bengals and get back on the right track. Expect all three phases of the game to be on point Sunday.
It’s no fun when the Orioles and Ravens are both letting us down, but that’s the oath we take as fans. Things can’t get any worse – at least let’s hope not – than they have to start this season. No one wanted to start 0-2, but Harbaugh will get his team out of the current rut starting this week.
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