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October 21, 2008

Ravens: Why Not?

It'll take more than one win over the formerly 1-15 Miami Dolphins to get me to start looking at playoff contingencies, but it's fair to note that the landscape in the NFL has changed considerably over the past few weeks.

Thanks to an inordinate number of key injuries (Tom Brady and Tony Romo are the best examples), it's hard to find one of the preseason playoff picks that still seems like a solid bet to reach the Super Bowl:

romohurt.jpg The Patriots look like a shell of their former selves without Brady, and it looks like they may be without top defender Rodney Harrison for awhile after he went down during last night's victory over the Broncos.

The Cowboys are a fragile mix, with Romo down after getting hurt in the Cardinals loss (left), Adam "Pacman" Jones suspended again and Terrell Owens convinced he should be the offensive coordinator.

The defending champion Giants got smoked by the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football last week and weren't terribly impressive this week against the 49ers.

The Colts dominated the Ravens last week, but got the same treatment from the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The Chargers and Broncos aren't scaring anyone anymore either.

The point I'm trying to make is that nobody really knows how this season is going to shake out. The Ravens may not be positioned particularly well with the Steelers already two games up on them in the AFC North, but they've already proven they can compete with the two most legitimate teams in the conference -- the Steelers and Titans.

The conventional wisdom about the Ravens season holds that they will do okay against the remaining soft teams on their first-half schedule and then run into a buzz saw when all four NFC East teams show up on their schedule down the stretch. That's probably the way it's going to happen, but -- so far -- the only thing that has been predictable is the league's penchant for unpredictability.

It certainly won't surprise me if the Ravens end up winning seven games this year, but it also won't surprise me if they sneak into the playoffs. There is no super team in the AFC this season, so there's a pretty good chance that at least one team comes out from under the radar to force its way into the postseason picture.

Could it be the Ravens?

Why not?

Associated Press photo

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:30 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Just football


get off the ourple kool-aid. We need to beat some good teams to be considered playoff worthy. If we would have won against pitt and tenn i owuld say there is a chance. We have a rookie QB who is still going to have bad games.

Honestly Pete, I can agree with some of your statement...but not all of it. I believe if the offense for Pittsburgh suddenly starts to suck - B-more will have a shot at the division (maybe). Of course, we still would have to beat them the second game...who knows what that would be like. Now, the Pat's after last night - looked great, and I don't understand how they have been eliminated from their ability to be just as tough as last year? Ok...Brady is hurt (yada.yada.yada), but Cassell has got an awesome (proven) team around him and I expected their coach to right the ship as far as the offense goes. I love that the Cowboys suck. They have all that so-called talent, but tend to stink it up more than others on Sunday (frequently). That should makes us all happy! I still think the Giants hold the top spot in the NFC as far as their abillity to get to the top again, but the 'Skins and Eagles are gonna be tough.

B-More has one of the toughest divisions to play in. Yes...Cincy stinks, but they have the ability to be dangerous. The Browns and the Steelers is a tough win later this season for the Ravens. Which I think is the only way the Ravens will make the playoffs - if they beat their division opponents. Other than that, I can't see it. Just my opinion - of course. I was wrong about Miami last week - and now lets hope I will be wrong about Oakland.


You are right on. Your comment about T.O. is off a bit. He does not want to be Dallas' O.C. He wants to be their entire offense.

This from the guy that has been betting against them most of the season. Will we be mentioning playoffs after every Ravens win this year?

Pete's reply: When was I betting against them? I've pretty much picked them right each week, though I believe I picked them to beat the Titans.

With the Steelers two wins ahead of us, I would say that the division is still up for grabs since they have some tough games coming up. And the next three games for the ravens, well they are winnable games so it's a good opportunity for the ravens to go three games above .500, and by then we could be in first place in the division. So yeah you are right on about this though, there is no powerhouse AFC team like the Pats from last season so it's gonna be interesting.

I totally agree with you PSchmuck. That most consistent thing about this NFLseason has been inconsistency. Even Tennesee who is unbeaten doesn't appear to be "world beaters". They really should not have beaten the Ravens. Actually the Ravens beat themselves. Dallas is a wash. The way I see it the Ravens could just as well finish 7-9 or 9-7. My gut tells me its going to be a either Tenn or Buffalo vs Redskins or NY Giants. We'll see.

it would be nice if the ravens could make the playoffs,but i feel they are few horses short. as you say anything can happen. just maybe the titans might be the sleeper this far the titans are 6-0

I'm calling 13-3 right now and a crushing loss to the Colts in the AFC championship.....wait....

Everyone is convinced that the NFC East is the "big powerhouse" in the NFL?? I keep seeing them dropping each week. The lowly Rams dump the Skins and the Cowboys in consecutive weeks and then the Skins barely get by Cleveland. I hope the Skins beat the Steelers this Sunday but I wouldn't be suprised to see PBG drop the hammer on them.

The NFC east is not nearly as good as it was 2 weeks ago. The injuries and momentum swing things around every week.

I think the Ravens are on the way up. They match up well with anyone right now, and being able to run the ball and stop the run are the most desirable standards to build on for long term success in the NFL.

Living and dying with your frnachise QB and high flying passing game is a lot like the teams that fall in love with the 3 point shot in hoops instead of establishing an inside out attack.

Buffalo looks dominant. I get the feeling Trent Edwards is going to be a big name before long.

Too many ups and downs in this paper's reports. A win does not mean you start talking about the playoffs. A loss does not mean you start digging graves for your QB/GM/Coach.

Everyone just calm down.

Well constructed teams are competitive for a number of years, and those teams take some time to come together. Asking them to come together the year after a 5-11 season under a rookie QB/Coach is unrealistic. Asking the team to improve over the season is ok, but expecting that the team will have no setbacks is also unrealistic.

Again, everyone just calm down.

Got to give you credit for going out on a limb. Knew you would get the "kool-aid" remark from some "Titan of triteness." And to say we haven't beaten anyone is worn out. We are within two plays or so of being 5-1. We beat Cleveland soundly and they just killed the defending champs

Will everyone please stop drooling over the NFC East? If you break things down, team by team, the division is not all that impressive.

The Eagles are 3-3, banged up and over rated.

The Redskins just lost to the winless Rams at home, then got taken to the limit by the hapless Browns.

The Cowboys may be long on talent, but they are short on heart and injuries and attitude of the team are causing the wheels to come off in a hurry.

Lastly, the Giants may be 5-1, but they got smoked by the Browns on a Monday night and they have yet to beat a quality opponent (Redskins were terrible on Opening night). Nor have they even dominated a lessed opponent.

So can we please stop with the talk of how great the NFC east is.

Pete's reply: I thought that's what I did.

We'll be ok as long as we don't have to play the Colts again. If the AFC playoffs take us through Indy, then forget it, They seem to be the anti-Ravens.

if you check out the schedule, the team has a good shot at going into the last game of the year with the Jags at 9 wins (wins likely over Raiders, Texans, Browns, Bengals and possible vs Redskins, Eagles, or Pittsburgh). In which case we'd be going into the last game of the year with playoffs on the line, a possible prime time game to with the flex on at that point. Not sure they could beat the Jags in such a game, but not bad for a team with a rookie QB that no one expected anything from. Those early losses will come back to haunt us, but still, not bad picture.

lol Im with you mark the colts seem to be the anti-Ravens

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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