The Baltimore Ravens had a chance to solidify themselves as AFC favorites yesterday. Instead, they left fans with a lot of concerns surrounding the team’s consistency. Watching a 6-2 playoff contender get dismantled by a 2-6 division bottom feeder was not something very encouraging after that same team swept their division rivals and fellow AFC powerhouse the week prior. Going forward, the Ravens are faced with many must wins if they want have a first round bye and home field advantage in the playoffs.
More after the jump…
With the Ravens losing to Seahawks and the Steelers knocking off the Bengals, the Steelers have regained the number one spot in the division. While this is disheartening to many Ravens’ fans, hope is not yet lost. The Ravens take on the Bengals next week while the Steelers have a bye week. If the Ravens can beat the Bengals, they will tie the record of the Steelers and thus jump back atop the AFC North due to tiebreakers. The chances of this are good considering the Ravens have yet to lose against a team with a winning record (makes perfect sense, right?). However, losing next week will put the Ravens in a tough spot and basically hand the division to the Steelers.
It’s going to be a tough round ahead for the Ravens. The hardest opponants remaing for them are the Bengals twice, the 49ers, and the Chargers. But with Phillip River’s schizophrenic play, the Chargers may be easier than you think. Considering how the Ravens have played against bad teams, none of the other games are gimmes. I think it would be fair to say that realistically, the Ravens will lose 1-2 of their remaining games. Looking at the Steelers’ schedule, the 49ers will be difficult and the Chiefs could provide a potential challenge. A fair guess would be that they will lose at least one of their remaining games.
The divisional sweep of the Steelers is extremely important for the Ravens as they only need to tie the Steelers’ record to take the AFC North. With a win next week, the Ravens only need to match the Steelers remaining record to get in which is very doable. What the loss to the Seahawks does to the Ravens is remove a cushion that they had between the rest of the division. Now, they can’t make a mistake unless the Steelers make one too.