Will the Ravens suffer another end-of-year collapse?

Ravens, Tyler Huntley (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Ravens, Tyler Huntley (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Unfortunately, “collapse” is a word that has often been used to describe the Baltimore Ravens’ recent history.

The Ravens suffered devastating fourth-quarter collapses earlier in the year in losses to the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, whether from sloppy defensive coverage or an offense that couldn’t hold onto the ball.

With Lamar Jackson potentially sidelined for one to three weeks, Baltimore could be doomed to go down the same wayward path of last season, when the Ravens took a nasty fall from the top of the AFC North.

That time of year, Jackson was also diagnosed with a week-to-week injury, and the Ravens similarly held a 8-4 record and sat in first place in the division.

Will history repeat itself in 2022?

Not this time, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. Zrebiec gives two main reasons the Ravens won’t crumble in the final stretch of the 2022 season.

"“There are two big differences: A year after their roster was decimated by injuries, the Ravens should be getting healthier with running back J.K. Dobbins, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and safety Marcus Williams expected to return in the coming days.A year after its final five-game stretch of the regular season included games against two of the NFC’s top teams, the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams, and division matchups with winning Steelers and Bengals squads, Baltimore plays only one remaining team with a winning record, and that’s a Week 18 game versus the Bengals.”"

Ravens’ circumstances in 2022 are very different from those in 2021

There’s no need to rehash the pain of last season’s results. Baltimore lost all six of their final regular season games, five of them by three points or fewer, and the Ravens finished last in the AFC North, crashing out of the playoff race.

This season, the Ravens are in an almost identical position, yet they have much more margin for error since only seven teams in the AFC have winning records at the moment.

Baltimore could feasibly lose two or three games and still secure a postseason berth, and that extra leg room will dramatically lessen Tyler Huntley’s burden if he does indeed start under center for the next few weeks.

On top of that, there’s the much, much easier strength of schedule in 2022. Last year, Baltimore faced the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, and Cincinnati Bengals in the final five weeks.

This year, the team will only play one team with a winning record: the Bengals. Huntley’s work isn’t fully cut out for him as he could face a well-coached Steelers squad twice, but it’s a much less treacherous path for Huntley and the Ravens to climb in 2022.

Baltimore should also see a number of previously injured starters return to the field with the most important being Ronnie Stanley, who was memorably absent in 2021.

Huntley could possibly have an elite left tackle and two talented running backs to support him in the offense, and the secondary remains mostly healthy with Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, not to mention new addition Roquan Smith has firmly taken the reins of the defense — overall, this is a far cry from the Ravens’ decimated squad from last year.

dark. Next. Ravens OC Greg Roman praised for Week 13 play-calling

Knock on wood, but this healthy Ravens team is on track to rewrite history and make the playoffs with or without Lamar Jackson in 2022.