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The Ravens’ second half schedule presents no room for excuses

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Hundley, Tom Savage, Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, DeShone Kizer, Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton.

Those are the quarterbacks that, as of November 14, the Ravens will face in the second half in order. That list includes three back ups, two medicore starters, an aging veteran that still has some game, and just one quarterback playing at a high level: Stafford.

24th, 23rd, 22nd, second, 11th, 29th, 13th.

Those are the rankings, as of November 14, of the total defenses which the Ravens will face in the second half in order. Three are bottom 10 units, four in the bottom half of the NFL. The Bengals are nearing the bottom half in this stat, while the Browns are just outside the top 10. The Steelers second ranked total defense is by far the best unit the Ravens will face in the second half.

T-23rd, 12th, 15th, 10th, T-23rd, 27th, last.

Those are the rankings, as of November 14, of the total offenses which the Ravens will face in the second half in order. The Steelers 10th ranked group and the Lions 15th ranked group are clearly the best units the Ravens will see. The ranking of the 12th ranked Texans is inflated as their offense has tailed off dramatically since Deshaun Watson went down for the year. The Ravens will face four bottom 10 offenses, including the NFL’s worst total offense, the Bengals.

On paper, the Ravens seem to have a relatively easy schedule in the second half. The Ravens hardest game is obviously on the road against the Steelers, but beyond that one, there isn’t a game that jumps out as a game that the Ravens can’t win.

Given the schedule the Ravens will be presented with, and given that they are just one game back of the playoffs in a weak AFC, and already hold tiebreakers against the Raiders and Dolphins, which both have the same record as the Ravens, there are no excuses for this team in the second half. The offense will get to go up against enough weak defenses that they should be able to figure out how to move the ball, and the defense will get opporunitites to feast on either backup or mediocre quarterbacks and total offenses.

The teams currently in the two wild card spots are the Jaguars and Bills. Buffalo still has to play New England twice and goes to Kansas City. Jacksonville’s hardest game is a home game against Seattle, but otherwise they don’t have a very hard second half.

With the Jaguars likely to hold onto a spot, it’s the Bills spot that is up for grabs. The Ravens top competition for it are the Bills, Dolphins and Raiders.

The Dolphins play each the Patriots and Bills twice down the stretch, and also have to go to Kansas City. The Raiders will face New England in Week 11, get a visit from Dallas in a game that Ezekiel Elliott could play should he win an appeal when he is eligible after 12/1 (not going to lie, this legal situation has wildly confused me). This doesn’t even include a trip to Philadelphia for the Raiders.

The door is open for the Ravens to take advantage of their easier schedule, and opponents tough schedules to sneak into the playoffs. If the team can’t capitalize on this opportunity, then cleaning house could become a serious option for the Ravens. Even with a very poor offense, the Ravens have no excuse to miss the playoffs given the path placed in front of them. On paper, the playoffs seem like a real possibility. Now, the team needs to execute.