THE WATER COOLER: Could the Ravens Get a 1st Round Bye?

Tom Brady
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) points across the line of scrimmage in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Perhaps partially lost in the hoopla of the wildest 2 minutes in NFL history was the return of Dennis Pitta. Pitta got off to a rough start and was hardly the sure-handed tight end we’ve come to know and respect. However he did adjust as the game went on and clearly made an impact when it counted most.

Pitta and his battery mate Joe Flacco have great chemistry and that’s important when plays don’t unfold the way they are designed. The ability to adjust on the fly post-snap is such an asset to any offense and one that Flacco hasn’t had at his disposal all season.

The threat of a productive tight end also boosts the running game even if said tight end isn’t productive as an in-line blocker. Linebackers have to respect the rapport between Flacco and Pitta and stay true to their assignments and drops in pass coverage. Otherwise the pitch and catch tandem will exploit gaping holes behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties. That respect and those drops create opportunities in the running game.

Joe Flacco clearly needs Pitta. But somewhere in Owings Mills, Ray Rice is smiling too.

ONE MIGHT THINK with the widespread usage of smart phones that the alleged rain of snowballs upon the Minnesota Vikings players this past Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium would have shown up somewhere on the web in the form of images and/or videos. Seems to me that the pouty Adrian Peterson embellished the scene a bit.

Other rumors have floated about that the Vikings actually fired back at the crowd. Again – no pictures or videos.

Neither is really appropriate as Torrey Smith indicated in this interview with former Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo. Even if his allegations are true it just seems like sour grapes on Peterson’s part, throwing the entire Ravens fan base under the bus.

If memory serves me correctly (and it does as evidenced here), a Vikings’ fan in 1975 threw a whiskey bottle on to the field at old Metropolitan Stadium that hit a game official in the head requiring several stitches.

So if you buy into AP’s way of thinking, Minnesota fans are a mob of drunken hooligans (and we know they aren’t, right?)

SPEAKING OF THE VIKINGS, they had more to complain about than alleged snowballs. The officiating was a much bigger problem. Not overturning this call on the field of a Toby Gerhart fumble was ridiculously bad and led to the Ravens first touchdown.

Usually teams will submit their officiating complaints on a weekly to the league’s offices in New York but this time, the league reached out to the Vikings and Leslie Frazier.

“It was a good conversation,” Frazier said. “The fact that they called should give you an indication of how they felt about things on that day. That was encouraging that they wanted to talk about that game from yesterday.”

It’s a developing problem around the league – incompetent officiating and the NFL’s willingness to look the other way and accept it is both arrogant and unconscionable.

YOU MAY RECALL the last time the Ravens traveled to Detroit in 2005, officiating was a bit of an issue – not to mention the complete meltdown of an undisciplined Brian Billick team. Mike Carey was the Referee and the Ravens were flagged 21 times for 147 yards in a 35-17 loss, one of the franchise’s most embarrassing days.

Terrell Suggs was so livid he went nose-to-nose with Carey, literally frothing at the mouth and was flagged 15 yards for having “malice in his heart” before his ejection. Here’s a look back at the game.

Will Suggs and Carey be reunited? Check in here for Week 15 NFL Referee Assignment.

What are your thoughts on the Ravens v. Patriots being flexed to CBS at 4:25 on December 22 instead of the featured Sunday Night Game at 8:30?
Yet another indication of a lack of respect for the Super Bowl Champs (65%)
Makes sense because the Chicago v. Philly game includes bigger markets (4%)
I am happy and actually prefer the 4:25 kickoff (31%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.

PLAYOFF SEEDINGS are on the line with every game the Ravens play from this point forward and while most of the team’s fan base hopes for that coveted 6th seed, it is possible (although admittedly unlikely) that the Ravens could be the 2nd seed in the playoffs.

Stay with me…

The Colts are currently the No. 4 seed and have been struggling. Currently they are (8-5) with remaining games against the Texans (home), Chiefs (road) and Jaguars (home). They could finish at (10-6) or worse.

The Bengals are currently the No. 3 at (9-4) seed and they face the Steelers (road), Vikings (home) and Ravens (home). If they lose to the Steelers, they too could conceivably finish at (10-6).

The Patriots are currently the No. 2 seed at (10-3) and the remaining games on their schedule are: at Miami; at Ravens; home v. Buffalo. Without Rob Gronkowski the Patriots could lose both road games and then host the Bills – not a gimme considering they squeaked by the Bills in their season opener 23-21. They could finish (10-6).

If all of this happens and the Ravens run the regular season table to finish (10-6) they would be the No. 2 seed based on a better conference record (8-4).

Now even if this long shot scenario unfolds as described, the Ravens would need the Dolphins to lose a game to a team not named the Patriots. Besides New England the Phins are at the Bills and host the Jets. If the Dolphins run the table their conference record would be (9-3) and that would trump the Ravens in a multi-team tiebreaker.

So, who’s watching football on Sunday?

If so root for the Steelers, Dolphins and Texans!

The Ravens hope to earn the 6th seed in the playoffs. Will you still send in your playoff ticket money anyway?
Yes, you never know what could happen. (45%)
No, they will likely be the 6th seed and 6th seeds do not host games. (55%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.

NOW…if you want to really get into the Holiday Spirit, take a few minutes on this snowy day and watch the video below.

YouTube Preview Image


9 Raves on “THE WATER COOLER: Could the Ravens Get a 1st Round Bye?

  1. Andrew on said:

    It’s going to be hard to root for Miami. That’s a lot of ifs. I think it better to root for the Pats and Steelers. We can still win the division but a Miami win means we need to win out to make the playoffs as a wildcard. Miami plays NE, NYJ and Buf. Those last two aren’t gimmes but Miami should win. If that’s the case we need miami to lose to NE. Well that’s where my head is at.

  2. James on said:

    Actually, I think Miami could still win out. I think we would own all tie breakers because we would have swept every team involved in the tie.

  3. Anonymous on said:

    I think we could steal the 3 or 4 seed from the Bengals. PGH definitely will play their hardest Sunday. They don’t wanna lose 3 in a row and get swept by the Bengals. They are also still mathematically not eliminated yet.

  4. Sam on said:

    Multi team tiebreaker doesn’t matter, because we’d win the tiebreaker over Cincy. The division tiebreaker comes before the wildcard tiebreaker, so for us to get the 2nd seed, we’d already win the tiebreaker over cincy. If Indy wen’t 10-6, and miami/pats (whoever won their division tiebreaker) went 10-6, we would have a 3 way tiebreaker for seeds 2-4, the wildcard teams that went 10-6 wouldn’t be considered

  5. JerryB on said:

    Too mind boggling for me to grasp! However, the best scenario from my perspective would be for us to somehow clinch a “Wild Card” spot while the Bengals win the AFC North, rendering the final game of the year in Cincinnati…..meaningless! Not sure if that’s even possible…….

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