Last year, the knock on the Baltimore Ravens was that while they would put a solid beatdown on the teams they were favored and supposed to beat, they just couldn't seem to beat the better teams in the league. Things have seemingly reversed in 2011, as while the Ravens have lost on the road to the poorer teams in the NFL, they are taking care of business against the tougher competition for a change.
The Ravens lost three times to teams with losing records when they played them, the Tennessee Titans (0-1), Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) and Seattle Seahawks (2-5). Only the Titans sport a .500 record at this point of the season. On the other hand, the Ravens are undefeated against teams with a winning percentage of over .500 when we played them. Two wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as wins over the New York Jets Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals last week and now the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night.
Of course, with a ten day layoff and another road game at what is considered a lesser opponent, many Ravens fans and so-called "experts" will be rolling their eyes, expecting another letdown in what has been an inconsistent season. Some people say that Baltimore is not mentally tough to handle the success that lies before them. Others say that they are so over-confident that they expect those teams to lay down in fear of them but we all know that in the NFL,..."on any given Sunday..."
However, the good news is that it appears that the Ravens are on their way to the post season for the fourth straight time in the head coaching career of John Harbaugh as well as the NFL careers of both QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice. Once they reach that big stage, there should not be any "lesser" opponents and if they stay on track and keep winning, they should not only make those playoffs but perhaps even get a home game, which would be a first in all of their playoff careers.
The Ravens are 6-0 at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium in 2011 and with only two home games left with the Indianapolis Colts (0-10) and Cleveland Browns (4-6), an undefeated home season is a definite possibility, if not an expectation. Unfortunately, it's the road games that are their Achilles Heels and with three left, their margin for error is slim if they want to get a first round bye and a home game, much less secure the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC.