The Baltimore Ravens suffered a painful 24-18 loss to their AFC North rival Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The loss was another thorn in the side of the defending Super Bowl Champions and the first time the Ravens lost to the Browns since 2007.

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The 3-5 Ravens currently sit in third place in the AFC North, one game above the Pittsburgh Steelers. They find themselves in another must win situation this week when they face the Cincinnati Bengals at home.

How did the Ravens find themselves fighting to stay alive this season? First they lost nine starters from last season due to free agency, retirement, trade and/or injury.

Their offensive line has struggled all season. Quarterback Joe Flacco has little time to throw the ball and his targets can’t separate and get open.

Their run game is virtually non-existent.  After a hip injury in week two, running back Ray Rice struggles to find his stride.

For the first time under head coach John Harbaurgh, the Ravens are in danger of missing the playoffs. The reality is hard to fathom, but it will happen if they can’t turn it around now.

The Ravens aren’t used to losing, at least under coach Harbaugh. Historically when they lost a game, they bounced back the next week, but history hasn’t repeated itself this season.

Currently the AFC North is still up for grabs, but the Ravens would need to go on a long winning streak and pray that their rivals went on long losing streaks, a scenario unlikely to happen.

A poll on the website asked if the Ravens will make the playoffs…the majority said “no”.

Coach Harbaugh continues to stay positive and believes his team can start winning:

“I think we have good players,” Harbaugh said. “I know our players are good enough to win these games. There’s no doubt about it. We just have to play better.”

While I believe in them, I don’t believe they can go on a playoff run. It is hard watching my team implode after working so hard to rise to the top last season, but I am learning to deal with the situation.

Bleeding purple is never easy, but I will continue to cross my fingers and hope for the best (while I prepare for the worst).

By MelissaRubin

Self-proclaimed sports junkie. Lifelong Baltimore sports fan residing in DC. Baltimore Ravens are my favorite team, I'm a die-hard fan and in constant need of a football fix. Baltimore Orioles and Washington Capitals fan too. Follow her on Twitter @egoddess1