It's over, we lost to the division leading Cincinnati Bengals and now have lost two in a row to sit at 3-2 and tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for second place in the AFC North going into week six at the Minnesota Vikings. However, if many of us looked at the 2009 season schedule before the games started, we thought this was just where we'd be record-wise. Unfortunately, we probably thought we'd have lost at the San Diego Chargers and beaten the Bengals, but the record still stays the same.
What makes it so tough is that after looking pretty good for three straight weeks, back to back losses in games we had every chance to win despite playing relatively poorly leaves a bad taste in your mouth. To make matters worse, we are now going into a dome to play an undefeated Vikings team that has every reason to beat us and send us into the Bye week at 3-3. You just know the league will be waiting and watching for us to swipe, touch or even breathe on another one of their prized possessions in Vikings QB Brett Favre.
The combination of Favre playing like the star that he can be combined with the best RB in the league make this look like a tough game to compete in. The Vikings offensive line opens huge holes for Adrian Peterson and Favre has cut down on the mistakes he has made from his gunslinger days and the result is a tough offense to game plan against. Defensively, their line is among the best in the league, from the two Williams' in the middle and pass rushing freak Jared Allen on the outside making life miserable for opposing QB's.
It'll be interesting to see if Ravens LT Jared Gaither is playing and if not, how rookie Michael Oher will do in what would be by far his toughest match up of his young career. Either way, if we continue to make mistakes, both in execution and in the eyes of the zebras, we will not have a chance to win that game at the end. This game will require a solid effort on both sides of the ball, which is always a daunting task on the road in the NFL, much less in a dome against an undefeated team.
But for now, forget about the loss and release the frustrations that have had you venting like this is the end of the season after only five games. There are still winnable home games against Denver, Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh and perhaps even Indianapolis. Road games at Cleveland and Oakland could be expected and if we can win at least one of the other road games at Cincinnati, Green Bay Pittsburgh then we can still reasonably expect to fight for the AFC North division title and at least another playoff berth. It's a game by game thing in the NFL and amnesia can be a good thing if we can forget the bad things and focus on doing it right. We did it last year when no one expected us to and there's no reason why we can't get back on track. Besides, in the NFL, it's how you finish, not how you start. Be patient, be reasonable and most importantly be a fan.