The bye week came at the perfect time for the Baltimore Ravens. After losing 19-16 to their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, they will rest, regroup and prepare for the second half of the season.
It is the first time under head coach John Harbaugh that the Ravens are under .500 at this part of the season.
In their sixth season under coach Harbaugh, the Ravens have faced countless challenges, yet they have always pulled through, made the playoffs and won a Super Bowl.
Continuously making the playoffs is awesome, but has it spoiled us? Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade the last five seasons for the world, but do we feel entitled to making the playoffs each season? Would it be the end of the world if we didn’t reach them this season?
After losing many key starters in the offseason, the Ravens are desperately trying to figure out their identity. The offensive line struggles to protect quarterback Joe Flacco and lacks a running game. On the flip side the defense can’t stop the run. The team also lacks a true leader, it is impossible to replace retired linebacker Ray Lewis.
They have a Super Bowl hangover. They are looking for a cure, none has been found so far.
Coach Harbaugh said they will do whatever it takes to become a good football team:
“We’ve got run the ball and we need to stop the run,” he said. “We’ve got to get turnovers, we need to not turn the ball over. We need to protect the quarterback, we need to get sacks. We need to score in the red zone…”
Basically the Ravens have to do everything better… easier said than done.
The Cincinnati Bengals lead the AFC North at 5-2, but the Ravens still play them twice and have one game each against the Cleveland Browns and Steelers so there is a chance for them to take back the division.
The battle for the AFC North is likely to be a dog fight, but coach Harbaugh believes it can be done:
“…Cincinnati has the edge. They’re the team that everybody is going to be trying to chase down now and we’re going to try to go get them. We’ve got to do that. To do that, we have to become good enough to do it and we have to win these games along the way.”
In the past the Ravens were plagued with inconsistency; hot one week, cold the next.
This season the Ravens are still inconsistent; cold in the first half; hot in the second often doing too little too late without enough time left on the clock.
Can they break out of their funk and find ways to win? Time will tell, I wish I had the answer, I knew it would be a slow start this season, but after seven weeks they should be warmed up already.
Hard as it seems, I’m keeping the faith. Stay tuned for the rest of the story…