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Ravens Season on the Brink

October 31, 2018 - 3:16 pm

By Tim Barbalace

The season is starting to slip away from the Ravens, but these next two games at home could be a good indicator of how their season could finish.  I recently wrote before the Titans game that Baltimore has to go 3-2 in this stretch of games to have a realistic shot at making the postseason.  Well, so far the team is 1-2-- which puts even more importance on these next two games.

After a dismantling of the Titans, the Ravens have dropped back to back games to the Saints and Panthers.  Baltimore held the number one scoring Saints offense to 7 points through three quarters but stumbled in the fourth allowing 17 points.  On the road against the Panthers, the Ravens were dominated offensively and defensively.

These losses have prompted many fans to proclaim that these are the same old Ravens and that the season is beginning to spiral.  I am not ready to say that, but if Baltimore drops a third straight on Sunday to the Steelers than I will have to buy into that notion.  The reality is with two straight home division games the opportunity to get back in the play off mix is theirs to take. 

The margin for error is razor thin down the stretch for the Ravens, but back to back wins over the Steelers and Bengals will put the team right back in contention for the AFC North.  The Raiders will also come to town following those games which give Baltimore a very winnable game before heading to Atlanta at the beginning of December.  This all sounds good on paper, but there are many issues the Ravens will have to correct before hopefully getting on a roll.

After a strong start to the season, Joe Flacco has cooled off.  In the first four games, Flacco completed over 64 percent of his passes for 1,252 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions, which is good for a 96.9 passer rating.  In the last four games, Flacco has completed under 58 percent of his passes for 1,007 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions, which is a 72.9 passer rating.

The defense, which surprisingly still ranks number one, has also seemed very vulnerable.  The Ravens have registered just one sack since their 11 sack performance against the Titans and have allowed 53 points in their last five quarters.  Baltimore is also struggling to force turnovers as the team has seven takeaways in eight games, which is a far cry from the 17 forced in the first half of 2017.

Several jobs may be on the line as the second half of the year gets underway.  First up is the Steelers, who will be looking to avenge a 26-14 loss to the Ravens at home in Week 4.  A Raven win will send the team into the bye with hopes for a playoff push, while a loss will put Baltimore into a deeper hole-- that may be too tough to overcome.