Next two home games are “judge and jury” for Ravens

November 22, 2010 | Drew Forrester

“The Ravens beat the Jets on opening night in New York, but the home team didn’t have Santonio Holmes.”

“They lost in Cincinnati the following week to one of the most heartless teams in the league.”

“Some dude named Peyton Hillis shredded Baltimore’s supposed-stalwart run defense in week #3.”

“The following Sunday in Pittsburgh, Charlie Batch was at the helm in place of the suspended Ben Roethlisberger and it took a last minute TD throw by Joe Flacco to save the day in Pittsburgh.”

“The freakin’ Bills took us to overtime!”

You get the picture.

Lots of people have made those exact excuses about the Ravens this year.

Not me, mind you. I know how hard it is to win in the NFL. The other team tries too. But without fail, almost every Ravens win is met with some kind of contempt for one side of the ball and losses are greeted with cries of “we might not ever win again”.

So the team is 7-3 and yet some people in Baltimore remain unconvinced.

Yesterday was another day of “the jury is still out” despite the fact that Baltimore went down to Carolina and b-slapped the Panthers, 37-13.

A lot of folks in town who fancy themselves football die-hards have not yet bought into the Ravens this season, despite their first place position in the AFC North and unblemished 4-0 mark at home.

I’m not one of those people. I think the Ravens have a very good team. I’d say, right now, they have as good of a shot as anyone in the AFC of going to the Super Bowl.

But the jury is indeed still out for the Ravens as far as a great number of fans are concerned.

Here’s the good news: That will all change in the next two weeks.

A pair of good-to-very-good clubs are coming to Baltimore in the next 13 days, starting with the upstart and wildly impressive Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday. You’ve heard of the Bucs, I’m sure. They were supposed to finish with something like 4 wins – if they were lucky – but they’re now in the thick of the NFC playoff picture with a 7-3 record after a 21-0 whitewashing of the 49’ers in San Francisco yesterday. Unlike the Panthers this past Sunday, who put up little resistance, the Tampa Bay team