Subscribe to our newsletter

Critical Stretch

Calais Campbell
Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Ravens season will be defined in the next seven weeks.

Over that stretch, they’ll play five AFC North opponents and the division could come down to the final game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens are in first place heading into this critical stretch, so they do control their own destiny for the playoffs.

However, they will face some tough tests against the Browns, Bengals, and Steelers.

The AFC North is the only division in the NFL where every team has a winning record.

“It’s just a great division,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I have been in this division now for many years, and it’s always like that. It really doesn’t really matter what the records are; it’s still always really, really tough to play these games, yet now, everybody is above .500, and everybody is in it. And all the games are now at the end, between all of us, so it’s going to be pretty exciting.”

The Ravens cannot afford to slip against their division rivals. They already lost to Cincinnati 41-17 on Oct. 24 at M&T Bank Stadium. The Bengals beat the Steelers and looked like the class of the division until they lost two to the Jets and Browns.

The Bengals could be a force down the stretch if they find their early-season form.

Pittsburgh was expected to struggle this season, but here it is, right in the thick of the playoff hunt. However, the Steelers are dealing with a myriad of injuries and the offense has been largely inconsistent.

This was the year that Cleveland was supposed to take the division. But the Browns are in last place at the midpoint of the season. Cleveland is dealing with some internal strife and questions abound about quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has played with various ailments throughout the season. If the Browns don’t make the playoffs, Baker’s future becomes murkier heading into his contract year.

The Raves host the Browns on Nov. 28 and then travel to Cleveland on Dec. 12. Cleveland has its bye in between those games. The Ravens can knock them out of the playoff picture with a sweep.

The Ravens play at Pittsburgh on Dec. 5 and then finish the regular season with the rematch at M&T Bank Stadium. That last matchup could decide the AFC North and playoff seedings.

The Ravens play at Cincinnati on Dec. 26 in a revenge match.

“It’s hard to win in the National Football League; it’s a big challenge,” Harbaugh said.

The biggest question surrounding the Ravens is with quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was reportedly so sick that he didn’t even know that the team plane landed in Chicago on Sunday.

Instead, backup Tyler Huntley got the start and led the Ravens to a come-from-behind 16-13 victory.

The hope is Jackson will be back in the lineup this week against the Browns. The Ravens’ season ultimately will go as far as Jackson will take them.

Harbaugh expressed some optimism this week that Jackson will be back in the lineup.

“They tested. There’s no influenza, there’s no COVID, so I don’t know – I’m sure if he doesn’t clear up, they’ll keep testing, but I’ve got to think it’s going to clear up. We’ll pray for that,” Harbaugh said.

John Harbaugh glasses sideline
Street Talk

Harbaugh’s “Rookie Tax” Likely to be Light in 2022

As head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh has consistently made rookies earn their spot. Rookies don’t have a free pass to the starting …

Read More →
Sam Koch holder OTL
Out To Lunch

An Ode to Sam Koch

“Way to do your job.” The Ravens’ special teams mantra referenced so many times by Sam Koch is a little ironic to me, considering how …

Read More →
RSR Replay
Russell Street Replay

Offseason Analysis and 2022 Preview with PFF’s Tej Seth

Nikhil Mehta is joined by Pro Football Focus research and development intern Tej Seth to break down the Ravens’ offseason activity and preview their 2022 …

Read More →
Sam Koch
Lombardi's Way

A Change Gonna Come

When the Ravens used the 130th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on a punter, we all knew that Sam Koch’s career as a …

Read More →
Sam Koch training camp OTL
Out To Lunch

Retirement(s) Incoming?

I’ll cut to the chase here, as the day’s biggest news is likely still to come. The Ravens are holding a Press Conference with both …

Read More →
Marcus Peters
Street Talk

Ravens Putting Pieces in Place to Run Back 2019 Blueprint

When the Ravens loaded up on tight ends with a double-dip in the 2022 NFL Draft, it was an obvious signal that they were trying …

Read More →
Don’t Miss Anything at RSR. Subscribe Here!
Latest posts
Join our newsletter and get 20% discount
Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue