Week 9 was a week off for Baltimore fans. It was an opportunity to watch some of the other teams around the NFL and try to see how the Baltimore Ravens stack up against some of the other teams in the league. The only rooting interest you likely had on Sunday was hoping the Oakland Raiders could beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and whatever guys are on your fantasy football teams. If your luck was anything like mine yesterday, you watched the Steelers win and your fantasy team lose.
This NFL season has been one of the craziest years yet. The Carolina Panthers have been the Cinderella story of the season. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are dismantling their opponents. The Ravens, like many other teams around the league, are feeling the effects of the injury bug once again. And those Raiders? They are no longer the laughingstock of the league. They have the potential to be a legitimate contender in the upcoming years.
This season has not gone according to plan to say the least. A lot of people had this Ravens team making a deep run into the playoffs. At 2-6, it’s a major long shot to even make the playoffs.
What you have to like about this Ravens team is that they still think they’re one of the better teams in the NFL. They are not lacking in confidence either as many players really do think they have the pieces to run the table. While it’s hard to imagine that this team can win out with how things have gone this season, you have to like the faith that the team has in each other to turn it around. That is in large part because of the way John Harbaugh handles his team. He expects to win every game, regardless of how things went the week prior.
There are two ways we can look at this season the rest of the way. You can have a negative perspective that Baltimore should pack it in and get the better draft pick. The Ravens would hold the No. 5 or 6 pick in the draft if the season ended today (Chargers play tonight and a win would move them behind of Ravens). This team has holes throughout the roster and could use a high draft pick to restock talent.
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Or the Ravens can continue to fight to win because they are realistically only three games behind the Steelers for the final playoff spot, and they are now without Ben Roethlisberger once again. The AFC is having a down year – outside the Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos who have one loss combined – but the race is wide open otherwise.
The Ravens are going to get the opportunity to play a lot of the teams currently ahead of them in the AFC Wild Card chase. They get the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, and have the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Steelers and Bengals upcoming. They are all games the Ravens are capable of winning also.
Now let’s assume the worst for a second. Say the Ravens slip up and find themselves eliminated from postseason play with a few weeks to go. They can still play the role of spoiler and maybe keep the Steelers or one of those other teams from a playoff berth.
A win on Sunday against the Jaguars is the first step to making a historic run into the playoffs. A loss this week would be inexcusable as the Ravens are coming off that crucial midseason bye week.
The schedule maker wasn’t too kind with the Ravens in the first half of the season, but the rest of the games are gonna be tough also. That’s not to say they cannot make a historic run and get back into the playoff mix. Why can’t the Ravens make a similar run that the Panthers are currently on? They have the coach and quarterback to right the ship.
The Ravens have a big hole to get out of, but if there is one coach you want in your corner when things go array, Harbaugh is the guy. The confidence coming out of the Ravens camp starts at the top and trickles down to the players. This team will continue to play hard and we know they are still a confident bunch.
Now they just need to start winning.