REALITY: The Ravens are 30th in the NFL in turnover ratio with -8.
PERCEPTION: Man, how times have changed. When the Ravens were known for their dominant defense, they were also known for being near the top of the league every year in the turnover ratio. To see them have more giveaways than takeaways is so odd.
Look at the rankings in Giveaway/Takeaways and you’ll see that the top teams are also the teams likely going to the playoffs. It says a lot.
REALITY: Justin Tucker’s field goal percentage has gone down the last three seasons.
Justin Tucker's Declining FG% 2012 – 90.9 2013 – 92.7 2014 – 85.3 2015 – 82.6 #RavensInsight
— Dan Clark (@OriolesDC) November 17, 2015
PERCEPTION: I love Justin Tucker. Ask anyone that follows me on Facebook or Twitter. I constantly argue how Tucker is the best kicker in the league. But something just seems off this year. The guy has a really strong leg… one of the strongest in the league, for sure. We have seen it plenty of times in practice that he hits 65+ yard field goals. But he has missed an uncharacteristic amount of kicks this season.
Though he came into the year as the 2nd most accurate kicker of all-time, he is currently 28th in the NFL in Field Goal Percentage with 78.6%.
Tucker's 5 misses from 50+ in 2014 were from 54 yards or longer. Was still 3-for-3 from 50-53. However, he's 2-for-6 from 50-53 in 2015.
— Luke Jones (@BaltimoreLuke) November 23, 2015
Last year, Tucker had five missed field goals, but they were from longer than 54 yards. Through just 10 games this year, he has missed five field goals from 50+ and four of those were under 53 yards.
Tucker will be a free agent this offseason and if the Ravens want to put the Franchise Tag on him, it will cost them around $4.534 million. This year, he is the 5th highest paid kicker, but a bigger pay day is coming for Tucker. Will Baltimore sign him to a long-term deal, tag him, or let him go? I think they find a way to keep the Wolf Pack together, but Tucker also has to find a way to stop missing field goals.
REALITY: Joe Flacco’s streak of 122 straight starts in his career, 5th-longest in NFL history, comes to an end Monday night.
PERCEPTION: Do you remember it? December 20, 2007… the last time a quarterback not named Joe Flacco started for the Baltimore Ravens. His name was Troy Smith and he is no longer in football.
So what are the Ravens to do? Well, we know that Matt Schaub will start Monday night against Cleveland. Marc Trestman’s former QB, Jimmy Clausen was signed Monday to be his back-up. So those two guys will help the Ravens limp along the rest of this season, but what about moving forward?
Will Flacco be ready to start 2016? The Ravens will surely have to draft a QB or bring in a more competent QB to help the offense for the beginning of next season if Flacco is not ready to go, right?
Could they trade for a QB? According to two respected writers they could.
Joe Flacco's ACL tear could make Ravens a potential trade partner next year for 49ers & Kaepernick. GMs like each other. Harbaugh factor too
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) November 22, 2015
Cam Inman writes for the Mercury News in San Francisco. He posted that tweet Sunday night, after the news about Flacco’s injury came out.
Because of the Harbaugh connection—and now, because there’s no guarantee Joe Flacco will come back from his torn ACL and MCL suffered Sunday, considering that the third preseason game for the 2016 season comes exactly nine months from this week.
I’m sorry, but I just do not see it, not matter how many connections or relationships may exist. Kaepernick is owed $13.9 million next year… don’t the Ravens have enough issues with quarterback money next year?
I see Kaepernick as the perfect fit in Philadelphia, not Baltimore. And I want to see how Schaub does. If he can get through a game without turning the ball over, he might be more valuable to the Ravens than Kaep. We need a QB that can help through training camp, preseason, and maybe a couple of games of 2016… not one to take over and change the offense.
REALITY: The Ravens lead the regular season all-time series with the Brown 22-9.
PERCEPTION: The Ravens lost to the Josh McCown led Browns 33-30 in overtime back in October. The Ravens will need to figure out a way to defeat McCown and the Browns this time without their QB (Flacco), their top RB (Forsett), their top WR (Smith Sr.), their starting center (Zuttah), their top LB (Suggs) and their top draft pick (Perriman). Need more? How about two of their top secondary (Elam, Davis), or a promising young WR (Campanaro)?
I’m not sure if a team could be more beat-up than what we see with the Ravens. But somehow, the Ravens have been in every single game this season, even holding a lead in the 4th quarter of every game. The Ravens are also the first team in NFL history to have every one of their first 10 games decided by one score (8 points) or less. No one wants to hear it, but frankly, that means the Ravens could be 7-3 just as easily as they are 3-7.
But with all the injuries and a QB throwing his first pass in the NFL in over a year, I just don’t see how the Ravens can pull this game out. So… Baltimore wins 17-13.