The popular thing these days is to criticize the Ravens. They have lost three games in a row for the first time since 2009, and two straight at home for the first time since 2007. They just got their doors blown in by the Denver Broncos at home. But I would ask does it really matter how well the Ravens are playing right now?
The Ravens have a playoff spot. That’s all that matters. Going into this year I didn’t think this was the year for stats but just getting wins. Well, the Ravens have done their part in that respect.
Yes they are 9-5. Yes there are three teams in the AFC with a better record than them. They know what they have to do.
Is Joe Flacco the Ravens’ “franchise quarterback?” I think he is, but I wouldn’t be concerned with those long-term questions right now. I’m concerned with how he plays in the playoffs. The Ravens have been good enough over the years to judge them by what they do in the playoffs and that applies to the entire team.
Recent Super Bowl Champions such as the Packers and Giants have proven that home field advantage does not mean as much as it used to. Those teams have traveled well in the playoffs as of late.
People these days are so quick to anoint who is the best team in the NFL with such assurance, just to change it the following week. That makes sense.
Yes, it looks bad for the Ravens right now. But if recent history is any indicator, the Ravens may simply be flying under the radar.
The Ravens have seven road playoff wins in the NFL since 2000, the most in the league.
They’re in the tournament, and they’ve yet to play their best football.
Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs have not even played together on the field this season (not even in the pre-season). Yet they still find themselves in great shape – a win away from another AFC North crown.
So as a Ravens fan, why would you be so concerned with the way the Ravens are playing in mid-December? A 9-7 Giants team won the Super Bowl last year. Are any of you going to say you could have seen them winning it after being swept by RG1 (Rex Grossman) last year?
The Ravens don’t need an elite record to make it. They have had the 13-3 and 12-4 records before. While very good, they don’t mean much if you can’t advance out of your own conference. This team will look noting like the team you will see in playoffs given the fact that many players are out with injuries right now.
That’s why I have the Ravens in the Super Bowl. When you look at everything in the last five years, they have experienced it all. The Ravens seem to be pacing themselves for the stretch run. They know these games are important, but they know January games are more important. So while the Ravens have their faults and are certainly struggling at the moment, they are not overrated, and they absolutely “deserve” to be in the playoffs.