Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why do people think the Baltimore Ravens are a contender? They're going to struggle just to make the playoffs...

I've heard a lot of talk this week about the 8-6 Baltimore Ravens, how they can win their division and be a serious threat in the postseason.  The other day CSNNE's Gary Tanguay even said he thinks they are one of two favorites in the AFC (with Denver).  I'm not buying this at all, not for one second.

All of the hype is coming because of what they did last season -- getting hot down the stretch and winning the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team.  If anything I think that makes them less likely to go on another playoff run.  They already had their luck a year ago; it's called "regression to the mean."  It's also funny to me that the Ravens bandwagon is gaining so much momentum the week after they failed to score a touchdown.  Kicking a whole bunch of field goals isn't going to get them very far.

But the main reason I don't think anybody has to worry about Baltimore is because the odds of them making the postseason just aren't very good.  In order to take the AFC North they have to beat 10-4 New England tomorrow, and then win at 9-5 Cincinnati next week.  That is no easy task.  If they lose one (or two) they still have a shot at a Wild Card, but the 8-6 Dolphins finish against Buffalo and the Jets, and could easily win them both.

Regardless, I like the Patriots' chances tomorrow in Baltimore, even though the Ravens are hot (4 wins in a row culminating in that ridiculous 61 yard field goal "buzzer beater" pictured above) and the Pats are coming off a tough loss.  The NFL is a week to week league, full of ups and downs, highs and lows.  The pendulum is due to swing back in New England's favor.

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