The Ravens season is on life support in Week four. The bad news is, as most fans know by this point, only three teams have ever emerged to make the playoffs after such an abysmal start. The good news is the Ravens have a pulse. It’s weak, but it’s still there, and that’s based largely on some luck and their upcoming schedule.
Nothing bothers me more than when fans cheer when a player is hurt, regardless of who it is or what team they play for. But when you’re watching a game with a large group, there’s always a couple jackasses in the room. That was the case this past Sunday when during the Ravens game they showed a quick highlight of Ben Roethlisberger being carted off the field. While I didn’t cheer, I won’t lie, I did breathe a sigh of relief. Having to watch Ben Roethlisberger carve up the Ravens secondary in Week 4 wouldn’t have been fun, and the Ravens caught a break, a HUGE break. Thursday’s game went from a game where the Ravens had little chance, to one that they absolutely should win, and the fact that the Ravens are facing Michael Vick instead of Big Ben may have just saved their season. It’s a last gasp, but because of the injury to Roethlisberger hope remains. If you watched any of the highlights with Vick under center he looked like a player who had no plans of playing in 2015. Chances are he was hoping to hold a clipboard and collect a paycheck all year.
Following the Steelers game the Ravens have ten days to regroup before they head back to M&T to host the Browns. Barring any major injuries this week the Ravens have an opportunity to be as healthy as they’ve been all season heading into that matchup. With his latest reported setback it’s hard to say if Breshad Perriman will return, but he could. Regardless this is another very winnable game. Ten days rest, playing the Browns, at home is about as much of a gimme as you can get during the season.
In Week 5 the Ravens travel to San Francisco to face a team that may be in as much disarray as they currently are. Since looking like a competent team in Week 1, the 49ers have been outscored 90-25. After abrupt retirements by several key pieces of their defense this offseason, and with a new head coach at the helm, they are perhaps the worst team in the NFC. If the Ravens can build some confidence heading into their Week 6 matchup, they could potentially get back to .500.
Everything hinges on this week in Pittsburgh. Even with Roethlisberger out, the game is far from a gimme. The Steelers are still loaded with with weapons on offense and Vick might not have to do much. If John Harbaugh’s team starts 0-4 with back-to-back division losses and four straight conference defeats you can officially write off the Ravens in 2015. But if they can start digging themselves out of their 0-3 hole this Thursday they have a favorable schedule in Weeks five and six.
The first three weeks have been awful, there’s no sugar coating that. But the Ravens aren’t as bad as their record indicates. While things may look bleak, the Ravens aren’t dead quite yet.