It’s Must Win Time for The Ravens Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Lombardi's Way It’s Must Win Time for The Ravens

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Game 3 of the NFL season typically isn’t a must-win for most teams. But for the Baltimore Ravens, their upcoming Game 3 against the Denver Broncos is exactly that.

If the Ravens have playoff aspirations, and really what team in the watered-down NFL besides the Buffalo Bills doesn’t, they can’t afford losses at home against a team they should beat. The Ravens, 5 ½ point favorites over the Broncos, need to hold serve at home and seek to split their games on the road, just as they did last season.

A loss on Sunday would drop the Ravens to (1-2) as they prepare for a three-city road tour through Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Nashville. Following those three games the Ravens will host the Saints, head down Tobacco Road to Charlotte to face the Panthers and then return to M&T Bank Stadium for another showdown with the Steelers before their bye on November 11.

A (1-2) start would put the Ravens behind the eight ball. It would make a playoff berth less likely and as we all know, the coaching staff must punch a postseason ticket. Four seasons of playoff-less football are grounds for dismissal.

Random Ravens Thoughts

Tony Jefferson’s last season in Arizona was a very good one. Since then he’s struggled. As a Cardinal, Jefferson had the luxury of some very good cover defensive backs and consequently Arizona could afford to play Jefferson where he’s most comfortable – in the box. To say he’s a liability in space may be a bit harsh but clearly, he isn’t comfortable out in the great wide open. Making matters worse, Eric Weddle covers less ground than he once did. Here’s a scientific fact: players don’t get faster with age.

During the offseason I made the erroneous prediction that Weddle would be a surprise offseason cut. In 2017 he hardly looked like a willing tackler and his ability to provide over-the-top support dipped from his very solid 2016 season. By releasing the veteran safety during the offseason, the Ravens could have saved $4.75M against the cap. And when Derwin James was still on the board when the Ravens were on the clock during Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft, I thought for sure James would be the pick and Weddle would soon thereafter, be gone.

Hayden Hurst may end up being a very good player for the Ravens. If training camp and the preseason are any indication, he will be when he finally takes the field during the regular season. But that said, it will be interesting to watch and observe Hurst’s career versus the other tight ends drafted in 2018. And then there’s that Derwin James guy who might someday draw comparisons to Ed Reed.

When the news broke that Josh Gordon was traded to the Patriots, who among you was surprised? New England is in a unique position. They have veteran leadership, the game’s greatest all-time quarterback, a highly-decorated head coach, a brazen owner and an incomparable history of winning in the modern era. If there’s any team that could swing and miss on a talented but troubled player like Gordon, it’s the Patriots. From a perspective purely driven by winning, it’s not much of a gamble at all. The risk would have been much greater for the Ravens. Much.

Remember Pittsburgh’s Killer B’s? Messrs. Ben, Bell and Brown? Let’s just call them the Queen Bees now, as in drama queens. Roethlisberger is a regular contributor of drama, whether it be threats to retire, milking injuries or sabotaging offensive coordinators, Big Ben knows how to draw attention to himself. Bell? If he isn’t smoking weed or holding out while creating divisiveness in the locker room, he’s now liking posts about the Chiefs waxing the Steelers. As for Brown, he’s a social media flunky, a whiny diva who publicly berates teammates and coordinators and fails to show up to work.

And if you’re a Ravens fan, this all HAS to put a smile on your face.

But this doesn’t…


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BMore meets Pitt again… great seeing this guy

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is the founder and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Report and Armchair Quarterback both seen and heard on Fanimal Radio. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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