What a crazy and unpredictable year it has been for the Ravens in 2012. We beat the Steelers in Week 1 by 28 points and later in the year, we didn’t convert a first down against an AWFUL Jaguars team until past the midway point of the 3RD QUARTER!
How does that happen?
Losses to Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Seattle are just unacceptable. Winning just one, just ONE of those games would put us 9-2 and looking for our 10th win against a team with no logo. (What is a Brown anyway?) 9-2 would have put us in a great position to win an AFC North title, which hasn’t been done since 2006. Now we are 8-3 and with one more mishap along the way, we could be looking at a Wild-card game and giving up home-field advantage for the games we do play.
Could you imagine what the atmosphere at M&T Bank Stadium would be like this year during a playoff game?
Now with the losses against under .500 teams seeming to become a pattern, the Ravens need to come up with a way to avoid having another crushing loss. I’m sure that the entire organization knows about what this game means, but will they put their words into actions this week?
If I had a couple minutes with Coach Harbaugh before Sunday’s game, here are 4 tips that I would be sure to add into the conversation:
1- Don’t be scared by the Browns “#1 Pass Defense”
Cleveland’s so called “great” pass defense didn’t look so great last week against Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Dalton completed 68% of his passes last week and put up 270 yards with a Touchdown. Dalton is only a rookie! This is not saying that Dalton is a bad QB, but I do think that Joe Flacco has a better skill set at this point than Dalton does. With the playmaking abilities of Smith and Evans, Flacco should be getting the ball to open receivers often.
2- Quick start is a key
In the three losses this year, we didn’t score on the first drive. Cam Cameron has to dial up the correct plays against this defense to score points when we need them most. In recent games, we ran on first and second down and we get stuck with a 3rd and long. If the run doesn’t pick up more than 3 yards on first down, don’t call the same exact play, Cam! Find a balance between run and pass on the first few drives to put the game out of reach early.
3- Remember the days when you were a Special Teams Coach?
If I remember, Coach Harbaugh was a Special teams coach for Philly. I will speak for the rest of Ravens Nation when I say, PLEASE just let us start from the 20! This year has been horrendous for the Kick returns. It seems that if we even try to take a ball out of the end zone, we end up at about the 15. Simple solution to the problem, find a person not named LaRdarius Webb to return kick-offs, or just put anybody back there and take a knee!
4- Look at the stats.
In all the Cleveland games in the Harbaugh era, we have scored 20 or more points in 5 of the 6 games. I think it is very simple, score 20 and we win. Our defense is NOT going to give up more than 20 points to the “dawgs”
Since Flacco has been at the helm of the Offense, we are 6-0 against Cleveland. Let’s continue that trend this week and walk out of Cleveland with a W!