PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Head coach John Harbaugh (C) of the Baltimore Ravens talks into his headset during the fourth quarter of the Ravens 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 16, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Yes, the Baltimore Ravens 24-23 loss this past Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles might have strained the nerves of even the most loyal fans. However, before you decide to write off the Ravens as a playoff contender because they failed to pull out a tough game on the road against a good team in a hostile environment, take a look at how they fared at the same point over the past four years.
In head coach John Harbaugh and QB Joe Flacco's 2008 rookie seasons, the Ravens started off 2-0 but then promptly lost three straight to fall to 2-3 after five games. However, they re-grouped to finish 11-5, make the post-season as a Wild Card and then win two road games before finally falling in the AFC Championship Game to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 2009, the Ravens made the playoffs as a Wild Card once again after starting the season 2-0, but stood 3-3 after the first six games. They finished the regular season 9-7 and then shocked the New England Patriots in the postseason before getting put in their place by the eventual Super Bowl runner-up Indianapolis Colts.
For the third season in a row, the Ravens made the post season as the Wild Card after starting the season 1-1.They finished the regular season 12-4 but lost the division on a tie-breaker and ended their season with another post-season loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Finally in the 2011 regular season, Baltimore broke through to win the AFC North with a 12-4 record after sweeping the division. They also started 1-1 and made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game where every Ravens fan knows what happened in the AFC Championship Game at the Patriots when a certain wide receiver could not hold onto a perfect Flacco pass and a certain placekicker could not convert what appeared to be a chip-shot field goal.
What this shows, is that the season is usually not determined on the basis of the first two games. According to the NFL, there will be six teams headed into week three with 2-0 records and 26 others who are either 1-1 or 0-2. Six NFL teams are 0-2 and the trend has shown that winless teams, even at this early juncture, historically rarely make the playoffs.
That leaves those six undefeated teams and 20 others at 1-1 to fight for the 12 playoff spots, meaning the Ravens have every reason to be not only optimistic, but excited about their chances the rest of the season. Therefore, Ravens fans, step away from those ledges. There is a lot of football left and odds are in the team's favor that they will be fighting for a playoff spot come late December.