Baltimore Ravens seem to be stuck in NFL purgatory
The Baltimore Ravens seem to be stuck in an NFL purgatory:
The 2013 Baltimore Ravens went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. The 2014 Ravens lucked their way into the playoffs as a decent 10-6 team. 2015 doesn’t count, as injuries explain the story of that season. 2016 saw an 8-8 record. 2017 saw a 9-7 Ravens miss the postseason. It’s a story that doesn’t change, a wheel that continually turns one way.
The cost of the Ravens middle of the pack records is substantial. The Ravens do just enough to get out of range for top draft picks, and just bad enough to miss the playoffs. Baltimore hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2014. Harbaugh brought 5 straight playoff trips when he came to Baltimore. Now a Harbaugh coached team comes with a less than fun signature.
The mark of a Harbaugh team is a roller coaster of a season. The Ravens start off with a big win that starts the season with hope. Then the purple and black come back down to earth. After another stellar performance or two, they get smashed by a team they have the talent to beat. Every time the Ravens look like a contender, they get shown that they are not.
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In 2016 the Ravens started off 3-0 but they scraped by teams they should have destroyed. Then they proved to be pretenders, losing four straight. The season basically was over in week 16 after the Steelers made Baltimore’s Christmas heartbreaking.
The 2017 Ravens started with a 20-0 win in Cincinnati. In their 2-0 start they recorded 10 sacks and 5 turnovers. They were hinting at having a historically good defense. Then Harbaugh’s club lost five of the next seven games. They suffered another devastating loss in Pittsburgh. The Bengals beat Baltimore in the season finale and it was another playoff free year.
The 2018 Ravens started off with a 47-3 win against the Bills. After a 4-2 start, the Ravens had the number one defense in football and no other defense really compared. Now the Ravens are 4-4 and the defense just got embarrassed against the Carolina Panthers. While the season isn’t over, it feels like a movie that Baltimore has seen before.
What is so maddening is that this team seems to be desperate for approval. After every high note of the season we’ve heard Eric Weddle and other players saying “This is not the same old Ravens.” If Baltimore has learned anything from the old Ravens, is that we can’t see the whole picture in one week. The next time any Ravens fan wants to hear that is when their team has earned a playoff spot. Retire the phrase until then.
This Ravens team has plenty of talent. They also have eight more games to prove this narrative wrong. It just feels like the same exact point that the Ravens Flock has been on a yearly basis. The Ravens are in NFL purgatory. They are not quite in the fiery pit that houses the Buffalo Bills and the Arizona Cardinals. They certainly aren’t with the high company of the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. They are stuck in between and being in that spot has become the signature of a John Harbaugh team.