Even though it’s only one touchdown, being seven points away from victory can feel like a hundred when you’re on the losing end. It makes it even worse when that seven-point loss comes at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers. And doubly so when our team was listed as 1.5-point favorites, with the expectation of winning—check here for more on odds and how to bet on NFL.
Bye, Bye .500 (For Now)
Well, that loss to the Steelers put Baltimore at 4-5 (.444) as they head into their bye week. But it is doubtful that the players or coaches ewill get much time off. There are bugs that need to be worked out of the system. So much so that the media is already questioning the solidity of John Harbaugh’s job. Despite what the headlines read, we shouldn’t think that Coach Harbaugh’s job is on the line just yet. Sure, his seat may have gotten a bit warmer, but is he fully in the hot seat? Doubtful. Would Steve Biscotti drop the axe on Harbaugh in the middle of the season?
There are a lot of questions that need to be answered on the defensive side of the ball. They just couldn’t get off the field and were especially poor in stopping 3rd down conversion. A beat up and bum-fingered Big Ben converted 10 out of 16 third-down attempts. Some time off (if they aren’t running drills for two weeks straight) should help reinvigorate the defense.
But in all honesty, more attention should be brought to the other side of the ball. The Ravens were the #1 scoring defense in the league heading into Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Furthermore, they were #2 against the pass and #11 against the run. So, why the three straight losses? Simple. The offense hasn’t been producing as it should. More blame needs to be placed on the other side of the ball instead of just blaming defensive collapse.
It seemed like Joe Flacco was on his way to a career year through the first few games. Then productivity slowed. Flacco threw for 206 yards but couldn’t get a touchdown. In fact, overall Red Zone performance was poor. Having to settle for two chip-shot field goals resulted in a loss. So what’s the answer? Is it time to give Lamar Jackson a legitimate shot? Or do Harbaugh and Marty need to go back to the drawing board and rethink the entire offensive strategy?
The Ravens Must Bash The Bengals
It’s a good thing that there are nearly two weeks to get this figured out before the next division rivalry game in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals. As a consolation prize, TeamRankings still has the Ravens at #6 in their power rankings and projections. That said, there is now only a 33% chance for Baltimore to get a playoff berth.
The Bengals get the Saints this week, and the Ravens need a little help from Drew Brees and company. If the Saints can take the Bengals down to 5-4, and the Ravens can knock off the Bengals in Week 11, both teams will be at 5-5 and 1-1 head-to-head in the division. A win against the Bengals and a strong finish will keep playoff hopes alive. A loss to the Bengals means the dream dies and the playoff drought continues. If that happens, Biscotti has some tough decisions to make.