Reality: Baltimore is 3-5 and off to its worst start since 2005.
Perception: You can blame the bad record on the loss of 10 players from the Super Bowl Championship team, but I don’t believe that’s it. What is it? Who knows, but they are just not good. The offensive line can’t run block and create holes for the backs. They can’t pass block and give Joe Flacco time to pass. The receivers aren’t getting open and are dropping too many passes. Flacco is definitely haven’t an off year with many passes just being off the mark (unlike last year). The defensive secondary has been just terrible this year. The linebackers aren’t making tackles. The punter is having this worst season of his career. This team, as a whole, is just not good.
Reality: The Baltimore Ravens lost to Cleveland for the first time since 2007. It was the first loss to Cleveland, as well as the first loss after a bye, in the Harbaugh era.
Perception: This team is just not good at all right now. Cleveland, with their 3rd string quarterback, was better. The part that may be the most frustrating is that the worst two performances of the year were the games with the most preparation time. They got blown out in Denver after having the whole offseason to prepare, and then lost in Cleveland after the bye week off. That is unacceptable.
Reality: The Ravens are 3-5 and in 12th place (out of 16 teams) in the AFC.
Perception: They no longer control their own fate. The Ravens have 6 teams in front of them that need to lose (and the Ravens need to win out) to just make the playoffs. But let’s be serious. This team doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs. They are a bad team. Every aspect of this team is bad.
Reality: There are nine teams in the NFL with a worse record than the Ravens. There are 22 teams with a better record.
Perception: This team is closer to the #1 draft pick than they are to making the playoffs! It might be time to start realizing this team will not be making a sixth straight postseason appearance.
Reality: 17% of Super Bowl Champions have repeated. Eleven Super Bowl Champions have gotten back to the Super Bowl the next year. Nearly 70% of defending Super Bowl Champions (32 of 46 teams) get back to the playoffs. The year after winning the Super Bowl, the average amount of wins for that team the next regular season is 10.75. 30.4% of Super Bowl Champions have missed the playoffs. Only seven Super Bowl Champions have followed up a Championship year with a losing record.
Perception: It appears that the Ravens will be on the bad side of most – if not all – of those trends. This team will not win 10 games. This team will not make the playoffs, and looking ahead at the schedule, there is a very good chance this team has a losing record at year’s end. To not have a losing record, the Ravens need to go 5-3 the rest of the way. I see two losses against Cincinnati, and another loss against the Patriots. That means they would have to win in Chicago, in Detroit, and at home against the Jets, Steelers, and Vikings. That’s not an easy task, and that would just to get the Ravens to an 8-8 record!