Last Wednesday morning, “John from Canton” called in and started talking about the importance of Sunday’s (yesterday’s) game at Cleveland. “I think this it’s vital the Ravens win on Sunday…it’s almost like a playoff game. It’s that important,” John chirped.
I took it a step further.
“I’ll say it right now. Today at 7:13am. If the Ravens win at Cleveland, they’ll make the playoffs,” I replied.
I reiterated that comment several times throughout Wednesday and during the latter stages of the week as listeners chimed in with their thoughts on the game in Cleveland.
“If the Ravens win Sunday, they’re going to make the playoffs.”
And here I am, on Monday, November 3rd — and I’ll confirm it now.
The Ravens are going to make the playoffs.
Go ahead Steelers fans, circulate this on your message boards up there in Pittsburgh.
Same for you, Browns backers.
Barring an injury to our quarterback or a slew of injuries to our defensive line or the best linebacker in the league (you know who), the Ravens are going back to the playoffs. Sure, some of my confidence comes from the fact that a handful of teams that I THOUGHT would be in the playoff race are not very good: San Diego, Jacksonville and Denver. The Ravens are better than people thought – and those team’s, evidently, are not.
After next week’s win in Houston, the Ravens will be 6-3. You’re telling me they can’t win 4 of their last 7 games to finish at 10-6? Of course they can.
Baltimore’s remaining home games are against Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville. No reason at all why they can’t go 3-1 there.
On the road, they’ll visit the NY Giants, Cincinnati and Dallas. Win at least one of those three and there you have it…4 wins…for a total of 10.
Pittsburgh – racking up more injuries in each game than touchdowns (what a shame…) – has what can only be considered a difficult schedule between now and Christmas. Home games against Indy, San Diego, Cincinnati, Dallas and Cleveland. Road games at New England, Baltimore and Tennessee. They have five wins right now, heading into Washington for Monday’s night game with the ‘Skins. If they win 10 games this year, it will be a minor miracle.
Either way, Baltimore gets to 10 wins and makes the playoffs.
I’m well aware that Chris McAlister is likely out for the year and that our 2nd half successes depend greatly on Frank Walker and Fabian Washington.
Yes, that scares me.
I’m VERY aware that a majority of the Ravens’ final eight opponents have big play wide receivers who will pose a threat to our weak secondary.
But we have an offense now.
We can give up 24 points and still win.
We have a quarterback that can (and has) guide us back from 4th quarter deficits.
We haven’t really had that luxury before.
So, I’m sticking with my “call” from last Wednesday morning.
“If the Ravens win at Cleveland, they’re making the playoffs.”
And they did.
And they will.
I can’t change now.
I said it last Wednesday.
I’m sticking with it today.
(By the way, this is “Part 1″ of the series. Part 2, where I beat up the team a little bit for some stuff they’re doing, comes later on today. I figured it’s better to start with the good stuff first.)