With their first "real" Bye week in two seasons now over, the Baltimore Ravens trudge back to work like everyone else this Monday morning, in an attempt to stop the free fall that has resulted in three last minute losses in a row. Remember last season they were preparing to play the Houston Texans in week two but the game was canceled due to Hurricane Ike and that became their Bye week, although there was no true break for the players and team.
Head Coach John Harbaugh had the team practice last week on Tuesday and Wednesday before giving the players off until this morning. A four day break from the frustration of the past three weeks should have given this team the time to get away, refresh themselves and figure out how to end this slide that has them sitting at 3-3 and in third place in the AFC North.
(Continue reading " Ravens Get Back to Work" after the 'Jump')
The Ravens have a tough task ahead of them and I'm not just talking about facing the undefeated Denver Broncos next Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore. In addition to that critical game, the Ravens are looking up at both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, who both lead the division with identical 5-2 records, although the Bengals are actually on top due to their 23-20 victory over the Steelers earlier this season. Both teams won in impressive fashion yesterday, the Steelers holding off the Minnesota Vikings with big defensive plays and the Bengals destroying the Chicago Bears behind a career day from RB Cedric Benson against his former teammates.
After the Broncos come to town, the Ravens go to both Cincinnati and Cleveland before coming home to host Pittsburgh in a prime time nationally televised game. This four game stretch will show both the fans and the team whether or not this team is poised for a run at the division title and a berth in the post season. After such a impressive start to the season that at one point had the Ravens at the top of ESPN's Power Rankings, the team is now wondering what happened to the defense that was rated #2 in the NFL last year but has slipped far down the pack in 2009. At the same time, the offense is one of the NFL's top ranked ones and can put points on the board on any team, but it has seemed that we will have to outscore the opponents because the defense has not been able to shut down the opposing QB's when the game is on the line.
Has the team made whatever adjustments that the players will execute during this next stretch of games that should determine once and for all in 2009 if we are contenders or pretenders? We can talk all we want to here on The Beatdown, but it all will be decided this coming Sunday when the 6-0 Denver Broncos go on the road to face what might be their toughest test of their season as well. Get back to work, boys and like they say in the country, "git 'er done!"