Reality: The NFL Trade Deadline was Tuesday and only 1 trade was made.
Perception: There was more talk surrounding this year’s deadline than ever before… but that may have been just a result of social media and the hype that it brings. The Ravens were never in any serious talks with any teams. And they were NEVER looking at Larry Fitzgerald, as many fans dreamed about. It was just that – a dream. This isn’t Fantasy Football. There are many more things that need to come together besides just agreeing on a trade. Salary, Salary Caps, and more, make it tough to make a mid-season trade of any significance.
Reality: The Ravens released Marcus Spears and Michael Huff on Wednesday.
Perception: Yes, this was done to make a statement as many in the Ravens locker room were “shocked” by the news. But on the field, it’s really not big news at all. Spears, who missed two games due to a knee injury, only had 10 tackles this year on defense. Huff had just six tackles this season. He played terribly against Denver and was replaced on defense after that game. They are replaced by two young guys (Omar Brown and Brynden Trawick) who Coach Harbaugh says have “done a good job in practice and games on special teams” and that they will help there immediately.
Reality: The Baltimore Ravens allowed seven touchdowns in Week 1 of the NFL Season. They have allowed only six touchdowns since Week 2.
Perception: Fans have been complaining about the defense not pulling their weight this season. But this stat proves it’s been more about the Ravens lack of offense than the defense. No defense in the NFL has protected its end zone better than the Ravens, as they lead the NFL in red zone defense. Their six touchdowns allowed since Week 2 is the lowest in the NFL, and the defense has only allowed five of those (as the sixth was a Pick-6 in Miami).
Reality: Wide Receiver Torrey Smith has 0 dropped passes this season.
Perception: After losing Anquan Boldin in the offseason, everyone wondered if Torrey Smith could be a real #1 receiver. He has proven that he can. He has been targeted 57 times and has not dropped a pass yet. He and Larry Fitzgerald are the only NFL wide receivers with 45 or more targets who have yet to drop a pass. As I wrote about on Monday in Perception is Reality, the Ravens need to target Smith even more, especially with the long ball.
Reality: Terrell Suggs said “I’m very concerned… we’re at a state of emergency now.”
Perception: He is speaking the truth. With two division games coming up, you can’t afford to lose. A loss next weekend pretty much ends any playoff hopes, as a 1-2 division record will not cut it.
Reality: Head Coach John Harbaugh says Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns is “Make or Break” for the Ravens.
Perception: I agree! If the Ravens want to control their own destiny, they cannot afford to lose more than two games the rest of the season, and the losses cannot come in the division. If the Ravens lose Sunday in Cleveland, they would fall to third place with two division losses and only three division games remaining. They need to take care of their own business and not leave it up to how other teams finish the season.
Reality: Ray Rice has rushed for more yards against the Cleveland Browns than any other team (958 yards in 11 games).
Perception: The Ravens will need to count on Ray Rice to get the running game going this week and help the team get some sustained drives and control the clock.
Reality: Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 11-0 against the Cleveland Browns.
Perception: By no means is this a pushover/easy win. The Ravens have not played well on the road and have not played well period. This SHOULD be a win, after a week off, but who knows with this team? Let’s hope they get it together.
I predict a Ravens 27-17 win over the Browns Sunday.