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Make or Break Time for the Ravens

October 11, 2018 - 3:05 pm

By Tim Barbalace

The Raven's margin for error has narrowed after falling to the Browns 12-9 Sunday in Cleveland.  It may prove to be very costly as Baltimore is set to enter the toughest stretch of their schedule.  The next five games feature four teams with current winning records; four of the five teams also made the playoffs last season.

The Titans, Saints, Panthers, Steelers, and Bengals have a combined record of 16-7-1 which is good for a .695 winning percentage.  It is imperative for the Ravens to go at least 3-2 in this stretch of games to have a realistic shot at the postseason. 

First up, Sunday's game on the road against the Titans (3-2).  Tennessee has been impressive defensively as they are ranked seventh overall, third against the pass and fourth in points per game.  This game could have implications down the line as the winner will hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Ravens will then return home to face the Saints (4-1), who will be coming off a bye.  New Orleans boasts the leagues highest scoring offense with Drew Brees fourth in the league in passing yards.  Brees is 0-4 against Baltimore; the Ravens remain the only team he hasn't defeated.

After the Saints game, the team will travel to Charlotte to take on the Panthers (3-1).  Carolina has the league's best rushing attack and represents the Bengals lone loss of the season.

Following their match-up with the Panthers, the Ravens will host the Steelers (2-2-1).  Baltimore knocked off Pittsburgh in their first match-up of the season (26-14) on Sunday Night Football in Week 4.  The last time the Ravens swept the Steelers was in 2015.

The final game of the six-week stretch has the Bengals (4-1) coming to Baltimore following the Ravens bye.  Cincy won the first match-up 34-23 and dominated in the first half.  The Ravens cannot afford to be swept if they want a legitimate shot of winning the AFC North.

The remaining six games of the season feature battles with the Raiders, Falcons, Chiefs, Bucs, Chargers, and Browns.  Those teams have a combined record of 14-13-1 which is good for a .518 winning percentage.  If the Ravens can stay afloat during the next handful of games, they will give themselves a chance to make a push for the playoffs.