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December 1, 2008

Ravens: Confidence game

claytongetty.jpgGuess I totally underestimated Cam Cameron and the attitude the Ravens would take into Cincinnati. I really believed Cam and John Harbaugh would play it safe, keep the ball on the ground and just pound out a victory against the overmatched Bengals.

What I didn't take into account seems obvious now: They had no doubts about the ability of Joe Flacco to protect the ball and put points on the board. The free-wheeling offensive attack -- which included several big plays by receiver Mark Clayton (right) -- is proof that this team isn't focused on just sneaking into the playoffs. The Ravens are starting to believe they're bound for glory and will get another chance to prove it next Sunday night against the Washington Redskins.

So, while people like me were looking for them to be a little bit defensive yesterday -- because they couldn't afford to suffer any kind of lapse against the Bengals -- the coaching staff was more concerned with building on the tremendous progress that Flacco and the offense have made over the past six weeks. That's a great sign.

What's even more encouraging is the number of points that offense has been scoring. The Ravens, who were expected to depend heavily on their terrific defense to be competitive this year, are tied for third in the AFC in scoring (292 points) and 10th overall. They've won six of their past seven games and averaged 34 points in those six victories. Who would have imagined that after so many years of offensive frustration?

Getty Images

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:00 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Just football


This is really fun, but the real test comes now. You would like to think that all they have to do is win two of four and they are in the playoffs, but if you take a look at the remaining schedules of the Patriots, Colts and Jets, it is very possible that those teams all get to 11 wins. The Dolphins actually could get there too. So, most likely we are going to need to win three of four to make the playoffs. If we get to 11 wins, we should have most of the tiebreakers given our conference and divisional records and having beaten Miami. I think we still would only be looking at a wild card given Pittsburgh's better conference record. Winning the division will be a tall order, requiring the Steelers to lose their next three games (Dallas, us and Tennessee) and us to win out. If we just win three of four while they lose three of four, we'll be tied in record, divisional and conference records. Not sure of the tie breaker beyond that. Hard to believe it could take 11 wins to make the playoffs in the AFC, but it sure looks that way to me.

maybe you didn't notice , but the Bengals took the run away from the Ravens and did it effectivley, we were very limited as to what we could do on the ground. As far as the playoffs go we will just miss out unless something that should not happen happens, we will miss with a 10-6 record , tha Colts will end up 11-5 we didn't get any help from the schedule makers this year.

Cam Cameron is the best thing thats happened to this team IMO .

If they run the regular season table - look out! They could be hard to handle. At 8-4, they could split and be in - 10-6. But it might take 11-5 to make sure. 12-4 and division champs with a bye would be better!

Everybody move over a little bit, Schmuck's jumped back on the bus, at least until he takes the Redskins to beat the Ravens in a few days.

Pete's reply: When was I ever off the bus. I was Whacko for Flacco on draft day.

Important Stats this years as opposed to those in 2007. The Ravens are scoring more and the Defense is once again stifling opponents. In 2007 the Ravens opponents through 12 games averaged 24 pts per game. The Ravens average score was 17 PPG. In 2008 opponenets are averaging 16 PPG, while the Ravens are scoring 24 PPG. That is a big turnaround. Need I say more ? There is but one area that I believe needs to improve...special teams play. Yamon Figurs is hesitant and it seems a little too timid to run back kicks and punts. Our coverage on punts and kicks needs to be tightened up. Coach, get on top of these areas. Keep up the good work.

Good Win ravens, I am liking what I see from the offense at this point. Although we do still have to work a bit on the protection for Flacco. Also lets hope Rex Ryan doesnt ends up with either Bengals or Browns....

I think it is great to see the offense working well together (even with the injuries on the O-Line). My main concern for this season is - can they be successful against teams with winning records like they were yesterday? I would think they can, but they will not look as good as they were yesterday. I think the true tests are coming up in a hurry. The game at night against Washington worries me...they seem to find ways to choke in prime-time coverage. Then the Steelers...ugh...I hate talking about them, but it will probably be the toughest game left on the schedule - and a must win if we are to have playoff hopes this year. Then the Cowboys? I would place my bet with the Ravens - but only if they are successful against the first two games. The Jags will be a hard game I believe, but a win is not out of the realm of possibilities either. The main issue I have is that their are teams right below the Ravens in the wild-card that are ready to take the next spot up...and they all of them look to have 'cream-puff' schedules left. I think the Ravens can probably get away with 1 loss in the last 4 games and still make the playoffs, but the Steelers game is most important. Any more than that, we can probably look at missing the playoffs....even with a great season record. I see that Flacco is getting better, but he (and the rest of the offense) needs to show up against better teams. I guess we will see against the 'Skins this coming Sunday.


"If we just win three of four while they lose three of four, we'll be tied in record, divisional and conference records. Not sure of the tie breaker beyond that."

Ummm terpfan .. Might want to check your math. :-)

The Steelers are now 9-3 and losing 3 out of four would leave them 10-6.

We are 8-4 and winning 3 out of 4 puts us at 11-5.

Lets worry about Wash this week first and see what the Cowboys bring against the Squealers.

Pete, what's with this Cheese guy. Must be a once and a while reader. You have been the biggest, consistent writter- fan the sun paper has. Keep up the good objective reporting.

Pete's reply: I don't know about being a fan, but I've been pretty upbeat about the Ravens since the beginning of the year. Took quite a bit of heat for it, too.

I would love to see more first down passing and more slant patterns.

The Ravens will beat up on the Washington pretenders, but then come the tough games, Pitt., who eviserated New England yesterday and the resurgent Cowboys in Texas.
If the Ravens are going to get into the playoffs, and more importantly, do better than one and done if they get in, then they have to win at least one of those two games.
So far they have proven they can beat bad and mediocre teams, they have to beat some good ones to go all the way.

great win because any win in the nfl is a great win. I thought the o line was pushed back too much at the start of the game but got better as the game went on. How bad does this make Billick and his coaches look? answer: very very bad. This is almost the same team as last year expect for Flacco and the coaching staff and look at the prolific offense they are generating. Billick wasted some very good years of defense here with his botched play calling and consevative offense. He was what we needed at the time he was hired but he had lost control of the team and neeed to go. I like our chances against the skins. Stop the run and we will win.

Winning the division will be a tall order, requiring the Steelers to lose their next three games (Dallas, us and Tennessee) and us to win out.

Not to pile on here, but the Ravens would actually have the tiebreaker over the Steelers should they beat the Steelers as the first tiebreaker for the Division after Division Record (which would be an equal 5-1) is common opponents. By virtue of the Ravens win vs. Philly (a Steeler loss!), the Ravens will take 1st place over the Steelers provided the Ravens win the next 2.

Since Dallas and Tennessee are also common opponents, those Steeler results become just as important as Ravens results.

This is all provided that the Ravens beat the Redskins and Jacksonville at home - they don't deserve to mention the word playoffs if they lose those 2.

Of all the wild card contenders, the Ravens have by far the toughest upcoming schedule. The Ravens might have to chase down the Steelers to make the playoffs. No easy task after what the Steelers did to New England yesterday. At least the Ravens hold the tie-breaker against the Dolphins.

Hey Pete,
As I said in a comment to Mike Preston a week and a half ago, The embarrassment we experienced in NY that gave NFL commentators ammunition to refer to us as Paper Tigers, really seems to have fueled a fire in the Birds that hopefully no Opponent will have enough H2o to extinguish. This new "Chip On The Shoulder" Attitude the Ravens now posses can only be attributed to all the Negative Media Hype we get from a few of the NFL Network commentators. (what little exposure we receive) I won't mention any names....... but.......Thanks Chris particular !
You weren't that good when you played anyway, but us Baltimoreans welcome your trash talking the Ravens. Looks like it's working !!
Don;t Just Go Ravens........................

Here is the divisional tie breaker:
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.

The Wildcard 2 team non same division tiebreaker:
1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
4. Strength of victory.
5. Strength of schedule.
6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best net points in conference games.
9. Best net points in all games.
10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
11. Coin toss.

Right now we are tied with the Colts for the wild card. If we win all 4 we are in as wildcard unless Pittsburg loses to either Cleveland or Dallas. Then we win the division. If we tie Dolphins, Pats and Colts I think it is us and Colts as we have a better conference record.

But lets look at the bright side and if we win all 4 and Pitt looses 2 we win the division and are #2 seed even if the Jets win all 4 because we have better conference record!!

Quit thinking playoffs and BEAT WASHINGTON !!

Pete's reply: As much as I'm tired of hearing "one game at a time," I have to agree on this.

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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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