Ravens fans…we’re in trouble.

October 26, 2009 | Paul Hoke

Over the years, I have grown to enjoy Ravens’ bye weeks. It’s an opportunity for me to sit back, relax, and watch football for a weekend without having to worry about what my hometown heroes were doing. I don’t know about anyone else, but if the Ravens lose the 1pm game, I’m done with football for the day. So any chance I have to sit on my couch, watch the NFL Sunday Ticket through DirecTv, and just be a football fan, is appreciated. With the exception of my wife dragging me out to Weber’s Farm to pick stupid pumpkins that will eventually rot on my porch, yesterday was a good day. With the notable exception of course, that our two AFC North rivals won Sunday. And one of them, the Cincinnati Bengals, won big.

I’ll get the to Steelers lucky win against the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings in a second. First and foremost, I want to talk about the way Cincinnati dismantled the Chicago Bears, 4 million to 10. An exaggeration, I know, but if they canceled halftime, I think Cincinnati could have gotten in the neighborhood of 4 million. And that’s what scares me, as a Ravens’ fan. Carson Palmer threw the ball all over the Bears’ defense, and is completely in sync with Chad Johnson (sorry, I can’t bring myself to say his new name). This team is very good. The Bengals are for real, ladies and gentleman, and all credit goes to Marvin Lewis. As much as I HATE the Bengals, only because they’re our AFC North rival, I love Marvin Lewis. I loved him when he was our defensive coordinator, and the reason Cincinnati is where they are, is because Marvin is a hell of a coach. He finally has the defense he has been working on, and with a healthy Palmer and motivated Chad Johnson, along with a rejuvenated Cedric Benson, this team could beat anyone in the league right now. So what we thought would be a two team race between the Ravens and Steelers, has all of a sudden become a three team hunt. And I think the Ravens may be the odd team out this time. The Steelers are the Steelers. While I believe they were very, very lucky to get out of the game yesterday with a win, the Steelers are still a very good team. With a defense that held Adrian Peterson to 68 yards. I understand the game was in Pittsburgh, but you have to acknowledge, they beat the Vikings, we didn’t.

So I sit here today, as the Ravens prepare to take on the undefeated Denver Broncos, and I admit, that I’m worried. Forget about the Patriots and Colts, the Ravens have their hands full within the division. Only after the dust settles in the AFC North, can we truly judge where our Ravens rank. Problem is, we may just be the third best team in this division. Didn’t see the Bengals coming, but Ravens’ fans…they’re for real.