Baltimore Ravens: The AFC North Prepares You For Playoffs
The easy way is never the path that the Baltimore Ravens get to take
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The AFC North is one of the toughest divisions in football. The Pittsburgh Steelers always pack a punch. The Cincinnati Bengals are a tough team to beat (in the regular season). The Browns may not be good, but they are always up for a fight. The Ravens have been to the playoffs in six of the last eight seasons and won a Super Bowl in the 2012 season.
The tough division is a good thing for the Ravens. Have you ever noticed the teams that go relatively unchallenged through the regular season usually lose in the playoffs? The Carolina Panthers went 15-1 and got steamrolled by the Denver Broncos in the big game. The 2007 New England Patriots went 18-0 but fell to the New York Giants.
There has only been one undefeated team in both the regular season and the playoffs. That was the Miami Dolphins in 1972. There is a reason it never has happened again. A football season by nature, is a roller coaster with euphoric highs and brutal lows. Perfection is impossible, the Dolphins merely proved that there is an exception to every rule.
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The Ravens won two Super Bowls in two seasons where there were record-breaking lows. In 2000 the Ravens went four games with out scoring a touchdown. In 2012 the Ravens went on a three game losing streak. Limping into the playoffs the Ravens fired their offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron. The Ravens defied all logic and won it all.
The AFC North is tough, but that is a good thing. If the Ravens are a playoff caliber team, they will handle their business. When the playoffs come around Baltimore is the toughest and resilient team in football. I hate giving credit to the Steelers and the Bengals, but they put this team through some brutal battles. Brutal battles are all you get in the NFL Playoffs, so knowing you are up for the task goes a long way.
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So bring it on Pittsburgh. Bring it on Cincinnati and Cleveland. If the Ravens are the team we think they can be, they can handle it. The harder you push the Ravens in the regular season, the more sharpened they will be when it really counts.