And now, a week of uncertainty looms.
That’s always the hardest part about losing in the NFL, especially when you think you have a good team and you come up against another good team and get whacked like the Ravens did at the Meadowlands on Sunday.
John Harbaugh will say the right thing today at his weekly press conference in Owings Mills. By the time the players return on Wednesday, they’ll have it all scripted out as well. It will be “business as usual” at the facility this week. They’ll do their best to flush away any thoughts of Sunday’s debacle and move on to preparing for the Eagles in Baltimore this Sunday.
But deep down, uncertainty is there.
There’s always uncertainty when you get out-willed, out-played and out-muscled like the Ravens did on Sunday.
No one in the Ravens organization could foresee the thumping they took on Sunday. Everyone expected a marquee performance from the guys in purple. A lot of people – players, coaches, fans, etc. – figured Sunday would be a sort of unofficial “coming out party” for the Ravens, where the rest of the league got put on notice that John Harbaugh’s team is for real.
And, of course, they still might be for real. After all, they are 6-4 and they’ve played 6 of their 8 away games already. Position wise, the Ravens are in decent shape in the AFC North.
So don’t let one loss take away what the Ravens have earned in the last 11 weeks. There’s a decent chance that they’re a good team that just had a bad day in New York. I’ve been saying they’re a playoff team since beating Cleveland a few weeks back and I’ll stick with that prediction. That said, they have to win some games or they’ll miss out on the post-season.
Every loss hurts you in a 16-game schedule but the time spent between games gets you thinking too much about what might have been instead of what might lie ahead.
That’s the hardest part about losing in the NFL. The wait.
You lose on a Wednesday night in the NHL and you have another game with 72 hours. In baseball, you can lose a game on a Tuesday and win two more before the sun sets twice.
In the NFL, winning means you don’t have anything to prove for six more days. Losing means you have to wonder if you’ll win again this season.
There’s no shame in losing to the Giants, obviously. At this stage, you have to figure the NFC Championship will go through the Meadowlands in January.
But losing is one thing. Getting clobbered is another.
Which Ravens team shows up next Sunday in Baltimore when the Eagles come calling?
We can only hope it’s not the team that journeyed to New Jersey yesterday.