After last night's great game, where the Cleveland Browns handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their fifth straight loss and effectively knocked them out of the playoffs, the Baltimore Ravens need to understand that just showing up will not be enough to win. The Ravens need to play with that "sense of urgency" phrase that has been repeated over and over again lately. Over confidence is one attribute that this team has no business having, evidenced by losing six of their last nine games after starting off 3-0. At the same time, if they can continue to beat the teams that they are expected to, then they surprisingly still have a legitimate shot at the post season.
One thing about this game scares me more than any other, and I'm sure you've all thought about it as well.
The Detroit Lions will not be able to run the ball against us with any success Sunday. Their defense will not be able to shut down our offense. Our greatest obstacle, offensively, will continue to be ourselves, with drive stopping penalties derailing our momentum way too often. Otherwise, the Ravens will be able to put points on the board against one of the league's weakest defenses. While we need to get back to where our success came from last year, whether we run or pass the ball shouldn't matter and perhaps Joe Flacco can regain his confidence against the Lions by throwing the ball around to his receivers. Ray Rice should be able to pad his statistics with both running and receiving yards piling up in the process. It will be cold and a ball control offense producing long, time consuming scoring drives will be a fresh change of pace to prepare us for the Chicago Bears and then the final two road games of the season at Pittsburgh and the Oakland Raiders.
What scares me and most other Ravens fans is the Calvin Johnson factor. Johnson, a huge, fast receiver with great hands, is Detroit's only real threat, yet he continues to get targeted with success no matter what the defense seems to do to try to adjust their coverages. With the Ravens lack of pass pressure, Lions QB Daunte Culpepper should be able to have the time to set up and chuck the ball downfield in Johnson's direction. Combined with the poor coverage that the Ravens have shown, along with the current possibility that Ed Reed may not play again this weekend, there is every reason to be concerned.
Be it double coverage, over and under coverage, or just leaning the safety towards his side of the field, the Ravens need to limit the damage that Johnson can inflict on the team. If they can hold him from having a career game against this hurting pass defense, there is no reason that we shouldn't be able to put this game away early for a change of pace. If not, well we all saw what the Browns could do last night, when allowed to stay in the game.