The AFC is tight and the Baltimore Ravens need a victory against Colts:
The Baltimore Ravens have the misfortune of playing in the AFC. That’s where the good teams are. In the AFC North alone there are three teams with five wins. There are six teams with at least five wins in the AFC, with the Las Vegas Raiders being an intriguing four win team. There are more of the best looking teams in the AFC and there is no soft division like the NFC East.
There are seven playoff spots up for grabs (a sentence that still sounds weird). The Colts have the same record as the Tennessee Titans (another team on the Ravens schedule). It is very possible that an AFC South team gets a wild card spot. Getting behind the Colts isn’t a great idea, even if the division title is still somewhat in play.
The Ravens also can’t afford to have a breaking point of their season. They can’t let the game against the Steelers start a skid that takes them away from their ultimate goals. Momentum is a big thing and when it works against you it feels quite heavy. John Harbaugh needs to push for better.
The Colts aren’t perceived to be real contenders, but they are a tough team. Indianapolis isn’t just going to let the Ravens waltz in and get the win without a fight. If the Ravens make the mistakes that cost them against the Steelers they could lose. If Lamar Jackson turns the ball over, and the offense gives Philip Rivers a short field, he’ll do just what Ben Roethlisberger did.
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If the Ravens play sloppy like they did against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Colts may have more than just a comeback that makes it close. It’s not complicated, this game is a breaking point for Baltimore. They can either build on their bad habits or get right. They can either go on a slump because they lost their two biggest games or they can get on a roll and try to make this a great season.
So in the macro-view, the big picture of standings and playoff seeds, Baltimore has to win this game. In the micro-view, the picture of week to week, the way the Ravens play matters. It all goes into the team psyche, it all goes into the way things are going and the way we can feel about this team in the moment.
The Ravens haven’t had a compelling win for a while. The Eagles win was too scary for it to be compelling. The wins against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Football team were expected and those games could have been better showings. The Ravens have to start showing signs of being special to re-earn their contender status.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens defense is doing a great job right now. The team looks like a contender from that side of things. Still, the offense lags and the entire team has been sloppy. The Ravens have to start playing sharp football to pick up some steam for the second half of the season. While they just have to get hot at the right time, they may have to preheat the oven before then.
This game is huge. It doesn’t feel huge. It doesn’t feel like a Ravens vs. Steelers game and the Colts don’t seem like that great of a team. I get it. Here’s the thing though, the Colts have the same record as the Ravens. The Ravens have to prove that they are a really good football team because the results thus far have been uneven.