We can discuss the Baltimore Ravens offseason, who the Ravens have signed, who the Ravens are interested in during free agency and who the Ravens might select in the 2016 NFL Draft. None of that really matters if the Ravens continue to struggle on the road during the regular season.
The Ravens have had a lot of talent on its roster in the past and the team still found ways to lose games on the road to teams that the Ravens had no business losing to.
The Ravens have obviously been one of the best teams in the NFL under head coach John Harbaugh. The Ravens have been one of the best teams in the NFL over the last 17 seasons overall. However, if there is one major flaw this team has on the field, it would be the struggles the Ravens face when playing on the road.
Every year we hear Ravens coaches and players talk about how the team is fighting for a first round bye in the AFC. Well, how can you do that when you are below average on the road?
Let's look at the Ravens regular season road record under Harbaugh:
- 2015 road record = 2-6
- 2014 road record = 4-4
- 2013 road record = 2-6
- 2012 road record = 4-4
- 2011 road record = 4-4
- 2010 road record = 5-3
- 2009 road record = 3-5
- 2008 road record = 5-3
The Ravens have had a winning record on the road twice in the last eight seasons. The Ravens haven't finished a season with a regular season winning record on the road in almost six years. That is awful and quite frankly, it may have cost the Ravens at least one Super Bowl appearance.
What do you mean the Ravens may have cost itself at least one Super Bowl appearance?
When you factor in that the Ravens had to travel to New England in the AFC championship game in 2011 with a 12-4 record and wonder wonder how the world the Ravens lost to an awful Jacksonville Jaguars team on the road by the score of 12-7 on Monday Night Football that season, the Ravens may have hosted an AFC championship game.
When you factor in that the Ravens lost to a 4-12 Cincinnati Bengals team in 2010 in a season where the Ravens finished 12-4, maybe the Ravens wouldn't have to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional round on the road that year. Maybe the Ravens host the Steelers at home instead.
To be fair to Harbaugh, the Ravens weren't that great on the road under former head coach Brian Billick either.
Let's look at the Ravens regular season road record under Billick:
- 2007 road record = 1-7
- 2006 road record = 6-2
- 2005 road record = 0-8
- 2004 road record = 3-5
- 2003 road record = 3-5
- 2002 road record = 3-5
- 2001 road record = 4-4
- 2000 road record = 6-2
- 1999 road record = 4-4
So as you can see, the Ravens problems on the road have been chronic.
What is to blame for the Ravens road woes?
Part of it has to do with the Ravens offense coming out of the gate slow historically. In terms of the present, it isn't a secret that the Ravens struggle to start games off fast with quarterback Joe Flacco under center especially on the road. This is really the only criticism that I have about Flacco.
Whether Flacco wants to acknowledge it or not, he sets the tone for the offense. He has to make sure that the Ravens offense is rolling on all cylinders early and often.
The Ravens have had lapses on defense on the road as well allowing big plays at the worst possible time and not forcing turnovers when needed. It isn't just one person or one particular reason why the Ravens have struggled in enemy territory. It is a combination of a lot of things.
Why is it so strange that the Ravens are a bad regular season road team?
The Ravens have the best winning percentage on the road in the playoffs all-time at .667 record and a 10-6 overall record. Those 10 road wins are the second most in NFL playoff history. Only the Green Bay Packers have more with 11.
Flacco has the most road wins in the playoffs by any quarterback in NFL history with seven.
So why is it such a struggle for the Ravens to match its quality of play in the postseason and put that same focus on the road during the regular season? Only the Ravens know the answer to that.
The Ravens road woes is getting old. The entire organization needs to be on the same page in this regard. The Ravens won't go very far when wins are important in a very tough AFC North division.