Really, how much has Matt Stover's absence hurt the Ravens?
I was a little late getting going this week, sort of like the Ravens in Cleveland on Monday night.
As we know, a win is a win. But that one was not particularly inspiring. At least the Ravens don’t have to face an undefeated team on a short week this Sunday.
As for our free tab of the week based on the prediction for Sunday’s game, you’re all paying. Because the house won. Or at least I came the closest on both sides to predicting the 16-0 win. I had 24-6, and so did Frederick McMurray (a drink chip your way).
We all assumed a Ravens’ beating for the Browns, but most of us overestimated the Raven’s offense. There were three customers who predicted shutouts; the closest was 27-0.
So, yeah, the Ravens won, but there were plenty of red flags from that game. Most alarming was the continuing number of yellow flags. There’s a fine line between aggressive and stupid.
Monday also marked the end of Steve Hauschka’s Ravens career. Missing a 36-yarder and having an extra point blocked was not the way he needed to rebound.
Now the Ravens are kicker shopping with a more than a week to go before Black Friday. Not a good sign for a team that still has playoff hopes.
Forget Monday-morning quarterbacking, the Hauschka decision should create some Wednesday-morning placekicking. It’s pretty obvious the Ravens should have stuck with fan favorite Matt Stover this season. His accuracy is definitely missed.
But how much? What I mean is how much different would this Ravens’ team be with Stover, who is now with Sunday’s opponent, the Indianapolis Colts? Would it still be in “long playoff run, Super Bowl talk” discussion?
One school of thought is that Stover would have given them a win against Minnesota and possibly one against Cincinnati. The other way of thinking: Stover is a kicker. If your team is lamenting the loss of its kicker, it’s got bigger problems than missed field goals.
My opinion: Stover would help, for sure. But unless he can cover 6-foot-4 receivers, provide a pass rush and get to the line of scrimmage without a false start, I am not convinced Matt Stover is the difference between a playoff Ravens’ team and an also-ran.
Then again, I am a baseball guy by trade. School me, people. Learn me, football gurus.
Daily Think Special: How much has Matt Stover’s absence hurt the Ravens?