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Ravens Reeling From Reality Check

Great headline, huh!?

The Baltimore Ravens got a huge dose of reality yesterday as the New York Giants made a statement to them as well as the entire NFL yesterday in their 30-10 beatdown. The Giants let the league know that they won't back down to anybody and will bring it whenever they want, while the Ravens see that they may have a winning record but are not nearly among the league's elite teams.

However, we are still in the playoff hunt and are only one game behind the AFC North division leading Pittsburgh Steelers, who pulled another one out of their butts with a last second victory over the pass defense-less San Diego Chargers. We got some help around the AFC as the Pats loss helps us stay in the Wild Card race. While I would be thrilled if we made the post season, I wouldn't expect much from this team going on the road for a playoff game against a decent team, based on what we've seen so far this year. It would probably be a one-and-done post season for us and while that might impress a lot of you who never expected much before this season started, I now have higher expectations. I want to see the Ravens finish strong, taking care of business at home and beating the poorer teams on the road. If that can hold true, we can resonably expect to go 5-1 down the stretch, with key victories this Sunday over Philadelphia and then home versus the Steelers. That would put us at 11-5, and probably be more than good enough for the division crown, a first round playoff bye and at least one home game in the post season. The Steelers final stretch is actually tougher than ours and to expect them to win the three tough road games is going to be a real test for them (@ New England, @ Baltimore, @ Tennessee). They also host the Cowboys, as well as the Browns and Bengals, but the Dallas game will be also be a tough one as the Cowboys will be fighting for a playoff spot themselves.

Therefore, don't dispair about yesterday's whupping by the Giants. They are by far, along with the Tennessee Titans, worlds above the rest of the league right now. In fact, they could suspend the rest of the season and I'd pay big bucks to see them play in the Super Bowl next week! However, that's why they play the games and I can't wait to see us rebound and defeat the Philadelphia Eagles at home next week. The good news is that we still have won four of our last five games and now have four of our final six at home the rest of the season.

Thanks to all of you who joined me for the Open Thread yesterday. There will still be Open Threads for the home games, but I won't be joining you, as I will be in my seats screaming like a banshee (Billick reference here) and carrying a big stick!

Like Ray Lewis says, you can't win them all and now it's time to move on and get ready for the next one. The Eagles actually tied the Bengals yesterday and if they play like they did when they come here, we can defeat them and get back on track.

More to follow the rest of the week about this game and the upcoming Eagles game next Sunday, which thankfully, is staying at its 1pm time slot and not being moved to prime time. Whew!