Can the Ravens close out a game against an actual starting quarterback?
That was the question this week, all across NFL media. They weren’t facing E.J. Manuel, Tom Savage or Brett Hundley. They were playing a solid Lions team from top-to-bottom, with Matt Stafford leading the way.
They responded by the scoring 37 points on offense, and posting a total of 44 points on the day.
Suddenly, this 7-5 team hits the ground running, with only one true obstacle left on the back half of their schedule.
After a 20-0 lead, this team lost Jimmy Smith, of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, to a season-ending injury.
The Lions attacked his replacement, first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey, bullying him on multiple drives. But as always, the Ravens feed off their momentum just as much as their opponents. They feel the opposition gain ground, their footing slipping, until they strike back. Marlon Humphrey lost his coverage, regained ground, and adjusted to the football with a key interception.
Now the Ravens stand two games above .500, and the remaining games are all within grasp.
@ Pittsburgh Steelers: The biggest game of the year, and it’s next week. The red-hot Steelers are at home, but this game is always a showdown. Records don’t matter.
@ Cleveland Browns: Baltimore bullied them once already, and unless their bus never arrives, they win this game. This defense would never allow DeShone Kizer to claim victory.
vs. Indianapolis Colts: The 3-9 Colts are no match for this offense, defense or special teams. The Ravens should win this handily.
vs. Cincinnati Bengals: They are essentially out of the playoffs, but boy would they love to play spoilers. If the Ravens win against the Steelers, they may have breathing room on this game. Regardless, it would be nice to sweep the season series against the Bengals, a feat not done since 2012.
If the Ravens finish 3-1 on the last four, their record holds up at 10-6. At 2-2 they march to a 9-7 record. Both records are feasible to win wildcards.