Here we go again…the Baltimore Ravens have their third consecutive division game this week. After previous losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, will the third AFC North game be the charm for the Ravens when they face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday?
It is their first home game since losing to the Green Bay Packers on October 13. Despite the loss the Ravens typically play well at home, they hope to find their stride this week, they have their work cut out for them.
Currently the Bengals lead the AFC North followed by the Browns, Ravens and Steelers. A win would put the Ravens back in the race.
The Ravens have had the same challenges all season, but can’t find ways to overcome them. One problem is not having a running game. Running back Ray Rice suffered an injury to his hip flexor in week two and hasn’t been the same since returning from his injury.
Rice doesn’t take his critics seriously and assures them that he is healthy and able to play despite averaging 2.7 per carry this season.
“If you watch the film, you’d understand that we’ve been playing pretty good fronts,” Rice said. “We’ve got eight games left, and that’s my focus now.”
Late last season the Ravens lost three games in a row, then went on a playoff run. Head coach John Harbaugh believes in his team and their potential to turn things around. On Monday he said “momentum is a crazy thing.”
Linebacker Terrell Suggs also believes in his team:
“Any one of these games can be the one where it finally clicks for us and we start playing like we know we can,” outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “We’re just holding onto that.”
Coach Harbaugh said in order to win the Ravens need to start faster and the offense needs to find a way to get an early lead. The defense has improved, but needs to make big plays.
There is no doubt Sunday’s game will be tough and physical. The Bengals sit atop the division and want to stay there. The Ravens are hungry to win in front of the home crowd; it is a MUST win, hopefully they will get things going again.
While it’s been a frustrating season, every so often we have something to smile about like rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown’s two touchdowns last week against the Cleveland Browns.
Ravens Nation isn’t ready to give up on their defending Super Bowl Champions, but it is getting harder for them to remain optimistic about another playoff run. Hopefully this week will be the difference maker…