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November 24, 2008

Surprisingly, the debate continues

I really thought a resounding win against the Eagles would be enough to convince people that the Ravens are for real, but I've gotten plenty of e-mails and blog comments dismissing yesterday's victory because of the problems the Eagles have had the past two weeks.

Fair enough, I guess, but it's also fair to point out that the "last-place" Eagles would be just a half-game out of first place in a couple of other divisions, and would be in first place in those two divisions with the record they would have if they had won yesterday. So, you have to give the Ravens credit for beating them and beating them soundly.

Sometimes, you have to give a team a break. The rap on the Ravens was that they hadn't beaten any quality teams, but when you're assessing them you have to give them credit for coming very close to beating both the Titans and Steelers earlier this season. With a couple of notable exceptions, they have been highly competitive throughout a season of so-so expectations.

This is a pretty good team that has overcome a league-leading 16 players on injured reserve with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. I'm ready to have a parade down Pratt Street right now, regardless of how the season ends.

To quote one of the truly great, phony musical groups -- The Partridge Family -- "C'mon, get happy!"

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 10:03 AM | | Comments (36)
Categories: Just football


I'm with you, Schmuck. I figured they'd be lucky to win 7 games this entire season, so this is definitely enjoyable. I hope they don't overlook the Bengals next week.

Later, dude.

Get happy? No this crowd and not your co-workers who go out of their way to find fault or play down the Ravens.

How much money we could have made if we thought this team would be 7-4 at this point of the season.

Pete's reply: I agree with your last point, but don't think you understand the role of the media in all this. The football reporters analyze the team on a weekly basis. They are not supposed to be part of the cheerleading squad. The fact is, this team was banged up to start the season (which was a fact that had to be written) and it has overcome some tremendous obstacles during the first 11 weeks. I'm very impressed, but I wouldn't have predicted this, and would have been irresponsible to act like the problems weren't real.

Pete, there are some "fans" that wouldn't think the Ravens are any good if they were 11 -0, stating they couldn't beat the Bears of the 50's or Steelers of the 70's. I guess they have "super team" envy or were frighten by the movie thiller the Birds. Too bad, if they are from Baltimore they are missing a good time and if they are from other cities (Cleveland) they have Ravens envy.

Unlike Mike Preston's column, I agree 100% with this article!! 7-4? Whoda thunk it!!!!!

Personally, I find it funny that a couple of weeks ago everyone thought the Eagles had a solid offense and an overall good football team. I mean everyone thought because they barley lost to the Super Bowl Champs, that they were a playoff threat. Also, everyone thinks the Redskins are good and they barely beat the pathetic Seahawks. I think we will show what kind of team we are down the stretch, especially on Sunday Night Football.

You said it Pete. The Ravens have already won more games than I was expecting them too right after the pre-season. The fact that they have kept going so well with the freight load of injuries they have had is a testament to the new head coach and his staff.
They've had just two bad games this season.

Man do I agree with you. I live in Florida, so I rarely get to see a Ravens game (having 3 "home" teams even though none are within a 2 hour drive of me means I get to see those games, not the one I want to see), but the fact that their record so far means I get to see them play 2 sundays from now is very exciting. I expected a lackluster season, on par with the season the Browns are having, and now we're getting picked for primetime games. That's awesome.

Yes, I should get satellite, but it rains too much here.

Peter - The world is full of haters. Don't you know that by now? As John Madden put it last night, this time last year, NO ONE saw the Giants winning the Super Bowl so anyone that counts the Ravens out is foolish. Also, as you correctly point out, the Ravens should have beaten the Titans and Steelers, so they have already demonstrated that they can play with anyone in the league. As long as they do not have to play the Colts, I think they have a shot. For whatever reason, Peyton and the Colts own the Ravens.

It seems the Ravens can't win even when they win. The national media and the announcers say he Ravens haven't beaten any quality teams , and when they beat a good team it is not because the Ravena beat them , the talk is always about how bad the other team played, don't they think that maybe these teams played bad because the Ravens were that good when we played them. When other teams win they get heaped with praise , when the Ravbens win it is because the other team played bad, well good teams make other teams look like they played bad, and I am not saying that the Ravens are an elit e team but they are a good team in this league, no matter what the so calle dnatinal experts say or think, to hell with them , let's just go out and beat all the other teams because they played bad, and I hate to take a quote from Billick but" a win IS a WIN!!!! and right now we have 7 of them and let's hope to get to 10!!!!

Here is how I see it.

The Ravens have 5 games left.

2 we should win Cin. and Jac

2 we can be competive and might win; Was. Pit.

1 that could look like Ind, Nyg: Dal.

Win them all and we should be in.

3-2 is my Positive guess: 10-6 We still might need help. but should make it.

Go 2-3 and 9-7 might keeps us on the outside looking in.

We are really in Compitition with the Colts and Patriots/Jets for the wild card spots. Miami, Buf. are there but, on the outside looking up.

Colts and Patriots are starting to play good (as expected)

Lots of games still to play, and way to many scenerios to figure out.

Lets just win out and and WIn the AFC North!!

The Ravens are "for real," but are they in the league's elite? That's what the whole debate has been about.

Yes, we're all thrilled with the teams assault on the expectations that were placed upon them in August, but the weather is getting colder and the "P Word" is lurking. So the standards, as well as the foundation of the debate must change.

In our wins, we've dominated. Part of the knock on us is the systematic dismantling of our opponents reputation after they've played us (read: they were nowhere near as good after they played us as they were before). Our losses have shown that we can take the league's elite down to the last minute, or we can lay an egg. But we haven't beaten them yet.

Make no mistake, the debate will end if we make the postseason because with so many records ranging from 6-5 to 8-3, those who make it will have earned it by winning.


Perhaps you should talk to your colleagues who for the most part picked the Ravens to lose, and are now sandbagging the effort saying the Eagles are terrible. Why is it that most of the sports writers for this paper pick against the Ravens, even when they are playing at home and favored? I expect the disrespect from ESPN, and other national outlets but can't we get some respect from our home paper?

Pete's reply: I could have sworn that in our picks, most of us, including me, picked the Ravens to win.

Pete, there is not pleasing the major media nor the football fans who reside outside the CIty Limits of Baltimore. Hell, it's hard pleasing the media from Baltimore. But they said the Ravens have not beaten anyone with a winning record. Well, yesterday they did, and I don't care how the Eagles have played the last 2 weeks. The Eagles beat the Squeelers. We only have to take care of business and not turn the ball over and they can win 4 out of the last 5. Ravens can still win the division. Pittsburgh and Dallas will be the toughest games left and I see the Ravens beating Pitt at M&T.

You are absolutely correct. It seems that the media and fans alike are still stuck on 2007 when the Ravens finished an abismal 5-11. If we are going to live in the past we should also point out that the year before we went 13-3. I am man enough to admit that we will not only make the playoffs but also win the division. You heard it hear first. The problem with the Ravens is the fact that they are unable to win the big game. Until they do that, it won't matter what they're record is, they will lose in the playoffs. hit the nail on the head!
Guess I'm a typical "homer" and want the Ravens to get the positive attention I feel they deserve, BUT...

With this team being of the mindset they are and have been for at least eight or nine years, I think they perform better (with a few exceptions, i.e., Giants) when they are disrespected or are considered the underdogs. So, although I hate it when everyone seems to think the Ravens are "pretenders", in the back of my mind I keep saying to myself "that's right, keep talkin trash because our birds will make you eat your words".

Your right with the eagles game, it didn't mean anything with the wild and shameful happening( I'm a Eagles fans). When Ravens have to step up to a big fight they've hung in there, except the Gaints. If the Ravens do make it to the playoff's, they won't go anywhere cause they can't win the big games!

The Ravens are a very good with the potential of being a Super Bowl contender. The Steelers are over-rated and could potentially fall out of the playoff picture by week 16. The Steelers' schedule is brutal over the next four weeks: Pats, Cowboys, Ravens, and Titans. The last I looked at the Steelers, they had difficulties running the ball. I can't see them (Steelers) establishing a running game over the next 4 games and I think this spells trouble. I hate the national pundits when its time too evaluate the Ravens. If you look at the Steelers who have they beat to be coronated as potential Super Bowl participant. Don't be surprise if the Ravens win the division and the Steelers fateful be calling for Mike Tomlins head. Oh, how fitting this would be?

Umm isnt Miami another "winning team" who the ravens beat? So when the ravens knock off th skins in two weeks, will the skins be portrayed as a different team after the Ravens play them? There just isnt pleasing some people. Houston was supposed to be a winning team as well...

I put money on the Ravens making it to the playoffs after game two. At that point and time the payout was +350. Lets go Flacco, Ray Lew and crew.

Just enjoy the wins and if the Ravens make the playoff- still enjoy it!

Anyone a little freaked by Clayton almost breaking his neck on that showboating dive in the endzone? When will they stop that madness? The last thing our kick coverage teams need is a 15 yard penalty. I also think the reputation of our defense is really screwing with the brains of the opposition OCs. Calling several of those pass plays on third and short, and at the goal line, was playing right in to the Ravens' hands. but their history of performance has earned them that fear and respect. Way to go Birds!


I believe at least three of the picks were for the Eagles. Hensley and Maese and one that is escaping me right now. Hensley did the breakdown article and took the Eagles.

Pete's reply: I recall you said "most" of the Sun pickers said the Ravens would lose. I believe four of seven picked the Ravens. Last week, by the way, I picked the Giants to win. That wasn't because I don't support the Ravens. It was because I thought the Giants would win. My job -- and Jamison's job -- is not to cheer for the Ravens. It's to analyze the team week by week as objectively as possible.

I think everyone will agree that the ream is playing over their heads. A rookie QB and head coach and to be 7-4? But the facts are, who have they beaten? Philadelphia? a team that came into B'more in last place at 5-4. The talk about "we came close to beating the Steelers and Titans, doesn't count. They still lost. All this playoff talk will be a moot point if they lose to the Bengals, which can easily happen.

Pete's reply: I don't think anybody can "easily" lose to the Bengals, but it certainly is possible. Now, let's go back to your logic. If you can say that the tough Titans and Steelers games were meaningless since the bottom line is that the Ravens lost, then you have to say that the victory over the Eagles is meaningful because the bottom line is that the Ravens won decisively. You can't have it both ways.

Hensley, Murray, and Maese all picked the Eagles to win. The page is still archived.

Pete's reply: Yes, they did, but you said in your complaint post that "for the most part" the Sun writers picked the Eagles, when in fact -- and it is archived -- four of seven picked the Ravens.


Pete's reply: I'm not deaf. You don't have to yell.

Yeah I agree give them a break, they've beaten teams that they were supposed to beat and came very close to beating the Steelers and Titans, whom they really should've beaten. They had to play a ferocious Eagles pass rush with a beat up O-line, they came through, maybe not pretty on that side of the ball but they did it. You can say all you want about how bad both Eagles QBs were, and they were bad but this was a defense that sought redemption and got it in a big way. They played like they were pissed off about last week and thats what Ravens fans love to see.

Are they an elite team? No, but who cares? They are a good team in the AFC and certainly good enough to make the playoffs. I just hope they don't overlook the Bungles, yeah they are awful and I believe they will win that game. BUT the Ravens have not won in Cicny since 04 so, as bad as they are, they should not overlook them.

Rookie coach and rookie QB, but both seem to be winners. Gotta give credit to team owner and management who got two rookies who seem to be very talented and smart. I think the table is now set for a lot of winning years.

I'm with you, Schmuck... I went over the schedule when it came out and even with my rose-colored glasses on I came up with 6-10. It's all gravy from here, and I am happy they're back in the hunt this quickly! The remaining schedule is challenging but this team looks hungry to prove the doubters wrong...

As a transplanted Ravens fan living in Montreal, I subscribe to my Canadian satellite service’s NFL package to see their games. To Roy in Florida, apparently snow flakes don’t interfere with the satellite signal as much as rain (but I would easily trade places with you for the next four months!)

Anyway, I am very concerned about the kicking game. Stover has been a gold plated kicker over the years, but he is definitely on the other side of the hill now – hope he bows out gracefully, given he has the PAT record. The new guy, Hauschka looks like he has real potential, nailed one 50+ field goal and just missed another. In addition he seems able to put the kick offs in the end zone on a regular basis.

Anyway, I am worried about the team looking beyond the Bengals, and getting mugged in Cincy next Sunday.

Speaking of the Bengals, wasn’t there a quote, a number of years back, from one of their players, saying that the members of their cheerleader squad -- the “Ben-Gals” -- were just like the girl next door; if you lived next door to a whorehouse.

Pete, this is my first season commenting on ravens games but i have been doing it since game one. maybe im a know it all but i did predict this. my name is dwayne and if you have time one day you can look back and see that im telling the truth. i knew flacco would be fine as the season went on. i knew troy wasnt the answer even though we never got the chance to really see if that is true. and everybody knew kyle wasnt the answer. even if flacco didnt do as good as he has been doing i knew he was a better qb than kyle and smith so regardless i thought he should have been in there starting from day one. the only peace to the puzzle the ravens seem to be missing on offense is a big play receiver and i hear arizona cant afford to keep bouldin next season. i admit i was worried when mccalister went down but we have been doing fine without him. i think we would be in first place in defense with him but second place isnt bad either.

my only problem is mcgahee. as i said last week mcgahee is soft and rice is good but too small to be an every down back. mcclain is a load and i love watching him play but he runs like jamal lewis and i dont think he is a long term solution at running back. i noticed that the ravens are 4th in running the ball this season even though mcgahee is barely playing and we seem to have a different back starting every week. i think its more about flacco getting the ball down field so teams cant stack the box the way they used to with jamal. the coaches have done a great job getting flacco prepared to play this season and i think harbaugh should get some kind of recognition after the season is over for what he did with this team that nobody, except me, thought would be in contention this season.

one last thought. wilcox is back and we can use him cause he used to be a receiver. heap is a good blocker and a great te who knows how to play the slot. i hope the ravens figure out how to make wilcox and/or heap key receivers before the playoffs cause flacco needs another receiver to throw to really bad. in the playoffs, teams will concentrate on stopping the run and shutting down mason (very hard to do) and flacco needs another outlet to throw to. clayton is too inconsistant and throwing to the running backs all game isnt going to cut it.

ocho cinco is probably going to another team next season and the cincinnati would never let him come her so i pray we get bouldin next season. but until then we need to work these tight ends into the game like we did a little bit against philly.


Pete's reply: Don't have time to review that many posts, but I'll take your word for it.


I agree completely. They have played better than I ever would have thought at the beginning of the season. Are we the best team, no. Are we good enough to get to the AFC Championship or the Superbowl... probably not. But this team is exciting to watch and it is great to be in a playoff hunt. One question. I am genuinely conflicted as to who to root for in the Pittsburgh - New England match up this week. A Steeler loss is a blow to a division rival, but a Patriot loss would be a big defeat to a team that will be serious competition for a wild card spot.

I'm not as annoyed with the national or local media for under-rating the Ravens as I am with them over-rating the Steelers. I know their record. But they are playing some ugly offense right now. Just looking purely at stats, there has been a role reversal between the Ravens and Steelers. Both playing great defense, but the Ravens are playing better offense. I actually think the Ravens have a better chance at winning the division than a wild card. If you look at the Colts remaining schedule, it is likely they win out (unless the Titans play starters, which I doubt now that they are no longer going for 16-0). Of the Pats, Jets and Steelers, only the Steelers have a tougher remaining schedule than the Ravens. The way the Steelers are playing, this could very well come down to the winner of the head-to-head in December. I predict that if the Ravens win that, they win the North. If not, they will need some luck to beat out the Pats/Jets for the second wild card.

Beware the "rookie Wall" that all rookies have to contend with about week 13 or 14. If Flacco is like most rookies, he will begin to wilt when the November and December games come along and the teams are playing for playoff spots.

Pete's reply: Maybe, but Ravens fans are playing with found money already.

C'mom , get happy !!!! My God Pete, what could have caused that brain of yours to think of the Partridge Family ?? The sad thing is I know what you are talking about !!!!

Pete's reply: I have to admit, I had trouble looking myself in the mirror after that. But I stick by my crush on Susan Dey, even when she was in LA Law.

I find it funny that we return to form and do a fine job on defense and offense against the Eagles just to have the foot Gods look down and say no it's not the Raven’s time. What I'm saying is, instead of ESPN or any other station talking about how impressively the ravens won they were talking about how McNabb got benched. Damn!!!!!!!

Sounds like someone wants a cookie....

Pete's reply: Funny you should mention that. I would like a cookie.

10- 6, That's all it will take 10-6!
Right Pete?

Pete's reply: I believe so.

Regarding the Rookie Wall... one thing you have to note is that Flacco played 15 games last year for Delaware and the last three of them all involved travel (some of it not so easy). I'd be highly surprised if he hit a wall.

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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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