A week ago, this writer stated that the Baltimore Ravens would own a 2-3 record by the end of Week Five. The way Baltimore’s offense looked in a humiliating 44-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars that week, there was just no way the Ravens would beat the explosive Pittsburgh Steelers in Week Four, nor the Oakland Raiders in Week Five.
After watching the Ravens confirm those doubts in a 26-9 home loss to the Steelers on Oct. 1, it may be time to go further: the Ravens won’t win more than five games this season.
Baltimore’s offense is a complete joke, and the defense simply isn’t as good as they looked during the first two weeks of the season.
That stings, because Baltimore truly did look like a legitimate championship contender at the start of the season. The defense was rabid and forcing points off of turnovers, and even when the offense wasn’t clicking, it still featured players with championship experience. Joe Flacco, Mike Wallace, Ben Watson, Marshal Yanda and Danny Woodhead are all players who have played meaningful roles for teams that have reached the Super Bowl.
Then Woodhead went down on the Ravens’ very first offensive drive, right after he caught three passes for more than 30 yards and helped Baltimore effortlessly move into scoring position. On the play in which he injured his hamstring, he could have easily caught a touchdown pass.
The Ravens offense hasn’t moved the ball as efficiently since the loss of All-Pro left guard Marshal Yanda in Week Two.
Now that Baltimore’s defense is giving up more points to opponents, their offensive unit is fully exposed. Pittsburgh didn’t have a particularly strong day offensively against Baltimore; Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only completed 18-of-30 pass attempts for 216 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Baltimore had plenty opportunities to cut into the Steelers’ lead. They just failed.
Now the Ravens will have to face Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr’s Raiders next week, the first of several upcoming teams with explosive offensives, including the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 22 and the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 5. All of those games look like losses for Baltimore if the Ravens can’t find a way to generate points to keep up with their opponents. The Ravens may steal a few cheap wins over other struggling teams such as the Chicago Bears or the Miami Dolphins; but they’ll lose more than they win, and this season will end up another losing year for Baltimore.