At this point, it is about pride. E.J. Manuel, the disgraced first round pick, presents the next obstacle in the way of the Baltimore Ravens. Following two frustrating losses that did not leave a lot of positives, the Ravens are at a point where the upcoming match-up against the Derek Carr-less Raiders is in fact a must win game, not only for the playoff race, but for the mental state of a team that could be staring down the barrel of collapse.
Granted, the season is still young but the manner with which the last two defeats have transpired has left many fans questioning not only the direction of this particular Ravens team but the direction of the franchise as a whole. While it is not to be expected for the players to react with the same somewhat extreme levels of concern, a certain sense of earnestness must be present in the locker room. A loss against E.J. Manuel's Raiders could be a loss that the team is unable to recover from with the matchups against the schedule's better teams looming on the horizon.
The upcoming game is on the defense's shoulders. At this point, the offense should not be counted on to score more than 17 points. If he defense is up to the hype that the players themselves have garnered, then 17 points against Manuel's Raiders could - and perhaps should - be enough to win.