We know, B’More. After watching your Ravens completely decimate the previously undefeated Denver Broncos, you were ready to book your plane tickets to Miami for the Super Bowl. Now, though, after seeing Cincy completely undress our purple heroes for the second time in a month, you’re ready to throw in the towel on the 2009 season, with all hopes and dreams for any January 2010 “Festivus” activities lost forever.
But please, don’t jump off that proverbial ledge just yet. Hear us out.
The question now becomes – are the Ravens as good as they played against Denver OR are they as bad as they played against Cincy?
The answer is probably “somewhere in between,” but it’s going to take MUCH more of the former to have any hopes of a playoff berth. In all honesty, a 4-4 team has no business talking about playoffs, and the TEAM shouldn’t be. We, however, are just fans, and can be as unrealistic as we damn well please right?
Now then – Sunday’s game was reminiscent of Week 11 last year. The then 6-3 Ravens got manhandled by the New York Giants on the road, and at 6-4 were precariously holding onto playoff dreams. Remember? And remember how they responded? That’s right, by stomping the eventual NFC runner-up Philadelphia Eagles to the tune of 36-7.
With the Cleveland Browns next week (basically a 2nd bye), a similar stomping is very likely. And, with games against Detroit, Chicago, at Oakland, and in Green Bay against a Packers team that looks very pedestrian right now, all is NOT lost.
Let’s put “the p word” aside for now.
Instead, the Ravens’ ultimate goal should be 10 wins. Get to 10 wins, B’More, and let the chips fall where they may. Although in 2008, even 11 wins was not enough for the New England Patriots to get into the postseason, historically 10 wins will get you some January football.
At 4-4, is a 10 win season realistic? Looking at the remaining schedule, the “easiest” path to double digit victories would be as follows:
In decreasing order of “win probability” (based on exactly nothing) –
Win 5 – @ Cleveland
Win 6 – vs. Detroit
Win 7 – @ Oakland
Win 8 – vs. Chicago
Still need two more. The next “most likely” win would seem to be…
Win 9 – @ Green Bay
Winning in December in Lambeau is no easy task, but remember that the Pack just lost to the lowly Tampa Bay Bucs – stranger things have happened.
Unfortunately, that’s the last one that we can feel even remotely warm & fuzzy about. Harbaugh’s crew MUST be able to steal one of the remaining games:
Win 10 (?) – vs. Indianapolis
Win 10 (?) – vs. Pittsburgh
Win 10 (?) – @ Pittsburgh
If you can’t win your home games, you have no business being in the playoffs. Two of the three against Peyton and Ben are in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium. If the Ravens are able to squeak away with a “W” in any one of those three games, 10 wins is still very much in the cards.
So please, step back from the ledge, won’t you?