The last five weeks

December 01, 2009 | Paul Hoke

Here we go. The last five weeks of the NFL regular season are upon us, and, just like a year ago, our Ravens are right smack in the middle of the playoff hunt. On the outside looking in right now, but they’re still in the hunt.

And I guess, that’s all we could ask. This has been such a roller coaster season, that for the Ravens to be sitting at 6-5 in second place in the AFC North, maybe we should all wipe our brow and give a big WHEW! Or, we should lament the close losses this team has suffered to keep them from being 9-2 and in control of their division. Whichever side you pick, you aren’t wrong. That’s what this team is. They are a frustratingly good team that, in my opinion, is playing hurt. Flacco is banged up. Ray Lewis is banged up. Haloti Ngata, Dominique Foxworth, and Matt Birk…all banged up. But for them to be 6-5 at this point, it’s all right in front of them. They hold the tie-breakers over Denver and San Diego. They have a win over Pittsburgh in their hat. And Jacksonville is not as good as the Ravens. This all sets up, for a frenzied last 5 weeks. We will know, especially after next Monday, whether or not the Ravens deserve to be in the tournament come January, after these last 5. And ladies and gentleman….I’m concerned.

The Ravens aren’t in the same league as the Colts or Patriots. Can you imagine how this secondary would fair against the New Orleans Saints? Pretty scary. But that’s who they are right now. A good team that will look average against the elite teams. Look, I know anything can happen in the playoffs, look at last year. But I do know that this team, isn’t the same team as last year. The ball isn’t falling their way, as it did last year against every other team not named Pittsburgh. And that is what concerns me.

It starts in Green Bay this coming Monday night. If this team can go on the road and beat a quality opponent, then I will feel better about where the Ravens are right now. If they go into Lambeau and get skull-dragged, then my concerns will be validated. Either way, the playoffs started for this team last Sunday against Pittsburgh. They won that one. Now comes the next challenge. It’s one game at a time from here on in. And next up is Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers. Another test that I hope our secondary can rise to the challenge and beat. If not…this road gets longer.

Go Ravens!!!!!!! It’s time to hunt.