John Harbaugh's Ravens have been an upper echelon team for the entirety of his tenure, minus the super bowl hangover and last season. But now, this team is clawing its way to the postseason.
This fact can only beg the question: Shouldn't expectations be raised?
The Ravens are in a position where making the playoffs is expected; but squeaking in as a wildcard seed with the division there for the taking isn’t good enough. The Ravens have done that already.
For those who may say, “getting into the dance” is the only thing required for a team to win a Super Bowl, I would suggest it is also important for said team to be legitimately good. The 2012 Ravens did more than just get hot. They were fortunate to find the right offensive line combination to bring out the array of weapons for Joe Flacco.
If the standard and the expectations are to simply make the playoffs, the Ravens will not get back to the elite levels the franchise saw in 2000, 2006 and from 2010-2012.
John Harbaugh's mantra of, “It wasn’t pretty, it wasn't easy, but it was us,” perhaps attests to the fact he stands by the team not performing at the highest of levels, even if wins are squeaked out. These wins are only a mirage.
At this moment, the Ravens cannot beat the elites of the NFL and are not consistent enough to earn a first round bye. With this version of the team, “making the playoffs” will not amount to much. More than likely, another heart breaking loss. The standard needs to be raised, as the Ravens have been a step behind the elites since the Super Bowl XLVII.