My hunch: If Ravens lose tonight, they won’t make the playoffs

December 13, 2010 | Drew Forrester

This one in Houston tonight isn’t for all the marbles — three games remain after this evening’s contest — but let’s just say it’s for a bag-full.

Monday night’s affair with the Texans is about as “must-win” as the Ravens can get.

Not only would it go a long way in washing the taste of that loss to the Steelers out of their mouth, but it would keep the Ravens deadlocked with the Jets at 9-4 and put Baltimore two games ahead of the 6-loss teams like San Diego, Indianapolis and Miami.

This one is big tonight.

In fact, it’s so big I have a weird pit-of-the-stomach-feeling that it might make or break the Ravens. They’re either going to go down there tonight and exorcise the demons that still swirl around in their head in black and gold uniforms or their free-fall will continue.

I might as well not beat around the bush anymore. I’ll just say it. If the Ravens lose tonight, I think they’ll miss the playoffs.

That makes it ultra-important to win tonight.

If Baltimore loses tonight, that shows me the downward spiral is at Category 3, and with the Saints coming to town, it could be a batten-down-the-hatches kind of storm next Sunday when Drew Brees and Company visit Charm City.

In other words — one loss, leads to another, which leads to another, which…well, you get it. You know where I’m coming from.

This one tonight is huge.

A win and the Ravens are in great shape.

A loss and it might be nail-hammering in the Ravens’ coffin.

In fact, to me, there’s no “might be” about it.

If Baltimore loses tonight, you better start asking the Ravens for a refund on those playoffs tickets you bought.

By the way, for the record, I don’t think the Ravens are losing tonight. I picked them to win 33-19 last Friday during “Picks and Comment”. I would be surprised if Baltimore didn’t win tonight. But I have seen enough of the NFL this year to know that there’s definitely a chance the Ravens could lose tonight. They could sleepwalk through the first half like they do a lot on the road, rebound in the second half with a couple of scores, and then give up a late TD to lose to the Texans. I’d be surprised if that happened. But I wouldn’t be shocked.

And if Baltimore doesn’t win tonight, I have a bad feeling about the rest of the season.

Just call it a hunch. If the Ravens lose tonight, they won’t be able to rebound from it.