Baltimore Ravens have no excuse to make this like 2017 finale
Yes, Baltimore Ravens fans, we know about 2017. It shouldn’t be the same thing:
The 2017 Baltimore Ravens finished with a 9-7 record, and that seventh loss was in the finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. We’re inevitably going to talk about Andy Dalton and the Bengals knocking the Ravens out of the postseason that year. Let’s get it out of the way now.
The 2020 Ravens are an objectively better football team than the 2017 Baltimore Ravens. In 2017 the Ravens started 4-5. While it’s notable that they won five of their last seven games, they lost every time they played a worthy adversary.
The Ravens lost 39-38 in Pittsburgh, in their most valiant effort of the second half of the season. That Steelers game was sandwiched by games against bad teams. They faced a Brett Hundley quarterbacked Green Bay Packers team and a 3-12 Indianapolis Colts team.
The loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars team in London was easily the worst a Ravens team has ever played. Blake Bortles and company beat Baltimore 44-7. Joe Flacco had 28 yards and two interceptions in that contest. The loss to the Bengals required them to give up a touchdown on a fourth and long attempt at the end.
You’re not always what your record says you are. The 2017 Ravens were worse than a nine-win team; they had a lot of issues. The 2020 team is easily better. Now, John Harbaugh’s current team does have some bad losses. None of those losses measure up to that Jacksonville loss or the Bengals game in the finale.
Should the Ravens take care of business on Sunday they will be 11-5. In most seasons that’s a record you’re comfortably in the playoffs with. In 2017 the Ravens would have been in at 10-6.
Except for the game against the New England Patriots, the current Ravens have taken care of the bad teams on their schedule. Their losses other than that came from playoff teams. The Ravens could have won every one of those games but the one where the Chiefs demolished them on Monday Night Football.
The 2020 team also has much more talent than the 2017 team had. Flacco wasn’t exactly in peak form and Lamar Jackson is a huge upgrade from the way that he was playing in 2017. I’d much rather have J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards over Terrance West, Javorius Allen, and Alex Collins.
If you think this receiving corps is bad you should look back at how bad it was in 2017. Say what you will about Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews they sure beat Mike Wallace and Maxx Williams.
The 2017 defense was decent but having Marcus Peters, Yannick Ngakoue, and Calais Campbell is a huge win for the current squad. Ravens fans wouldn’t go backward. They certainly should be happy with the upgrade from Dean Pees to Don Martindale. In almost every measurable way life is better for the purple and black.
The 2017 finale exposed the team. We already know where the skeletons are buried for the 2020 team and it looks like things are pointed upwards.
The Bottom Line:
The past is only relevant if the Ravens make it so in this game. This is a completely different team. Quite frankly, it feels like a re-energized organization. The Ravens have to take this game seriously and focus on the moment.
They should be trusted to get the job done. If not, shame on them. It still will have nothing to do with 2017, it would be a failure of the current roster’s own making.