For all you fans out there worried about the Ravens after that hideous game, relax. The second week of the NFL is almost over. The Ravens are 1-1, winning an ugly game and losing an uglier one. That means they're tied with 14 other teams in the NFL and 9 other teams in the AFC. These numbers will likely remain the same if the Saints win tomorrow as expected (in any case, that game has no effect on the AFC). Rounding out the AFC, there are 4 teams that are 2-0, one in each division, and 2 teams that are 0-2.
Unlike the rest of the AFC, however, the Ravens have yet to play a home game. Only one other team, the 2-0 Miami Dolphins have gone on the road twice. Thus, the Ravens have 8 home games remaining, while the majority of the other teams contending for playoff spots only have 7. I cannot emphasize enough how big of an advantage this is, especially since we are one of the better home teams in all football (we're not too bad on the road either).
Last year, New England, Cincinnati, San Diego, Dallas, Philadelphia, Arizona and Green Bay started 1-1. 7 of the 12 playoff teams lost at least 1 of their first 2 games, and none of these teams started the season with 2 road games!
Further evidence of the difficulty of road games in the NFL can be derived from the road records of last year's playoff teams:
To balance out a poor road record, any playoff team under .500 (4-4) on the road won at least 6 games at home. I'd say the magic number of wins to make the playoffs is 10. 11 would almost ensure your spot and get you a better seed, but 10 probably lets you play in week 18. I imagine that this team should win 7 games at home: Cleveland, Denver, Buffalo, Miami, Tampa Bay, Pitt and Cincinnatti, with a loss coming at the hands of the Saints. We only need to win 2 of the remaining 6 games on the road to reach the magic number. With Cleveland and Carolina on the schedule, I see the 2 wins right there. That would give the Ravens 10 wins, likely getting them into the playoffs. That's not even mentioning that the Ravens could win a game in Pitt, Atlanta, New England or Houston.
To reiterate my points:
1) It is actually not yet time to panic. The Ravens are in a good place if they can get their offense going. Their defense has been playing lights out.
2) The Ravens are tied for the 2nd best record in the AFC. There are 4 teams ahead of the Ravens, and they get to play 2 of them. The Ravens have an extra home game over the 9 teams with which they are tied.
3) The road to the playoffs is built with home wins. The Ravens are very good at home. They also play plenty of mediocre teams at home, with their divisional games sprinkled in. The Ravens, therefore, still have a good chance of making the playoffs.
4) The fact that the Ravens went to New York last week and won on the road should further buoy your hope that the Ravens are indeed fine. The Ravens are well on their way to winning the 3-4 games on the road it should take to get them into the playoffs.
Give Joe another chance. One bad game, and everyone jumps ship. Is this New York? Are we Jets fan, going from 'we're gonna win the SB!' (the sack to open the MNF game) to 'we're the worst team in the NFL, fire everyone' (after we beat them)? Let's try to keep some perspective