Well, thanks to the Tennessee Titans uncanny ability to completely dominate a game, but still not score any points and lose it, the Ravens don’t find themselves in first place this morning.
The preview train rolls on. For the final four weeks of the season, when we all hope the Ravens are fighting for playoff seeding, things don’t look so easy. We have two NFC North foes at home, and road trips to Pittsburgh and the west coast.
Of course, all of these predictions are based on rosters, teams, etc., as they stand today. Injuries, suspensions, and whatever else could easily drastically change my feeling about any or all of the games. This is for fun more than anything else, so don’t go calling your bookie on my recommendations.
Week 14 – vs. Lions
Baltimore once again welcome home native son Jim Schwartz. However, Schwartzy’s team this time around isn’t quite the squad he brought to B’More last season. As the new head coach of the Detroit (0-16) Lions, the days of #1 playoff seeds are but a distant memory for Jimbo. The Lions will be playing for nothing but pride and another high draft pick by the time they visit M&T. Ravens roll.
Chance of victory: 90%
Week 15 – vs. Bears
Chicago is another team that many pundits are high on in 2009. With the acquisition of Jay Cutler at QB, da Bears have a competent signal-caller for the first time since FDR was in office (approximate). Their defense isn’t what it was a few years ago, but everyone seems willing to overlook that. Running back Matt Forte is one of the top young rushers in the NFL, and if Cutler and his rag-tag group of receivers can develop some chemistry by the time they come to Baltimore, this could be a very tight game.
Chance of victory: 60%
Week 16 – @. Pittsburgh
A late season visit to the three rivers, in what will most likely be another crucial battle for the AFC North crown and playoff seeding. The Ravens could have gotten this game out of the way last night, but I still have no problem with them asking out of it. The Ravens have played prime time games in Pittsburgh three of the past 4 seasons, and enough was getting to be enough (especially considering the way they play under the lights, under the previous regime anyway).
Start loading up on the antacids now.
Chance of victory: 35%
Week 17 – @ Oakland
Sure, it looks like a cakewalk now, sitting here on the eve of Week 1. But are you really comfortable with the Ravens having to go across the country and play on the west coast if a playoff berth is on the line?
Yeah, me neither.
By season’s end, the Raiders COULD be preparing for another Top-5 draft pick, the entire coaching staff in MIGHT consist of Tom Cable and nobody else, and Al Davis MAY have returned to his natural habitat in the chilly waters of Loch Ness.
Slightly less likely though, is that they have come to at least resemble an NFL team, and would love nothing more than to knock the Ravens out of the playoffs as some payback for embarrassing them several times over the past few seasons.
Hope the Ravens have secured their spot by this game, and are just resting the starters.
Chance of victory: 75%