Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Ravens: 5 Bye Week Thoughts

November 09, 2018 - 11:29 am
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By Joe Schiller

1. The Playoff Window Hasn’t Closed, Yet

Despite losing three straight game heading into the bye, the Ravens don’t believe they’re out of the playoff hunt. A mediocre AFC has them just on game behind the Bengals in the AFC North and just two behind the Houston Texans for the second Wild-Card spot.

The two teams ahead of the Ravens in the playoff hunt – the Dolphins and the Titans – are beatable. One currently has Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback. The other, the Ravens beat 21-0 on the road in Week 6.

At 4-5, the window hasn’t closed, but a loss against the Cincinnati Bengals could be the dagger for John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco, signaling a full-scale rebuild.

 

2. Now’s The Time To Get Healthy

In an unorthodox approach, John Harbaugh announced the Ravens will not practice during the bye week. This will give players a chance to relax and better yet, recover.

The Ravens have been fortunate to have not lost any notable players to season-ending injuries but many have been banged up, particularly on the offensive line. Both Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst missed last Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A much-needed rest is crucial throughout the 16-game season.

 

3. Ty Montgomery Could Be An Immediate Contributor To A Struggling Run Game

Montgomery was inactive in Week 9 after being traded to the Baltimore for a 2020 7th-round pick, but the former Green Bay Packer will be expected to see the field coming out of the bye.

Credit to the Ravens for taking advantage of a situation where the Packers were looking to dump Montgomery for just about nothing. He provides a dual threat out of the backfield and could provide a boost to a run game that ranks 27th in average rushing yards per game (92.7) this season.

 

4. A Good Defense Can’t Solely Win Games Anymore

Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness brought up an interesting point about the Ravens defense following their loss to the Steelers that makes complete sense. Through nine weeks they still rank first in total yards allowed per game (305) and second in passing yards allowed (205.2). They held the Steelers and Panthers below their average point totals but still lost.

In today’s high-powered NFL, that may just be the standard for top defensive units.

This isn’t 2000 anymore. The Ravens cannot hold opposing teams to 10 points a game and expect to win. Offenses are putting up record-shattering numbers and the age of relying solely on a defense  to win games just isn’t the case.

 

5. John Harbaugh’s Seat Hasn’t Been Hotter

The Ravens reached the playoffs five of the first six years under John Harbaugh – securing a coveted Lombardi Trophy in 2012. But since, they’ve reached the postseason just once and are in the midst of a three-year drought.

Before the start of the 2017 season, Harbaugh received a one-year extension through 2019 with his contract set to expire after the end of this season. The Ravens came one play away from making the playoffs but suffered heartbreak by way of Tyler Boyd and owner Steve Bisciotti said he contemplated firing the veteran head coach after the season.

If the Ravens fail to do the same this season, Harbaugh’s fate is almost certainly sealed. Lamar Jackson is the future-in-waiting and even with the success Harbaugh has had, after a while, the message gets stale.

 

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