1. Still alive- After watching the Chargers and Dolphins win their respective games this week against the top two teams in the AFC, it was tough to imagine the Ravens making the playoffs given their tough three game stretch. Then, the Bengals lost on Sunday night football to the Steelers, giving the Ravens the chance to win the division if they were to win out. With another crazy finish in the books, the Ravens are sitting at 8-6 and control their own destiny. Not only are they still the leader for the sixth seed in the AFC, but they can win their division if they win their next two games. What a ride this season has been, and how crazy is it to think that this team can win their division? The Ravens aren’t just winning games in December, but they are winning tough, close games that make a team a lot closer than blowout wins do. They need to continue to take it one game at a time, but when it is all said in done, the Ravens could be hosting a home game in January, and no team wants to go to Baltimore in the postseason.
2. Defense disappoints again- In the past few weeks I’ve talked about the fourth quarter struggles of this defense, and this Monday was no different. With a 5 point lead in the fourth quarter, the Ravens gave up a 80 yard touchdown drive to the Lions, continuing a trend of not being able to close out games. You can say whatever you want about the defense holding the Lions to 10 points for most of the game, but the fact of the matter is that in crunch time, with the lead, this defense crumbles. They play so well in the first three quarters of each game, but then are unable to get off the field in the fourth quarter. The Ravens have been able to get away with it the past couple weeks, but it could come back to haunt them at some point this season. It is time for someone on that defense to step up and close games.
3. Elam backs up talk- Earlier in the week Matt Elam made the rookie mistake of giving the opposing team bulletin board material. Not only did he do that, but he called out the other team’s best player. It was unacceptable what Elam did and head coach John Harbaugh wasn’t happy with the comment at all. Fortunately for Elam, he backed up his talk. He led the team in tackles with 10, and also came up with the game clinching interception. Johnson still had a solid game, coming away with six catches for 98 yards, but he was held in check for most of the game, and also had two costly drops. Elam’s comments were foolish regardless of the situation, but at least he was able to back up his talk by arguably having his best game as a pro.
4.Tucker for MVP- Who would have thought that when the Ravens signed some undrafted rookie kicker from Texas last offseason that he would turn out to be the team’s MVP for the season? I mean, what second year kicker is given the green light to attempt a 61 yard field goal with season on the line? Harbaugh has all the confidence in the world in Tucker and rightfully so. The former Longhorn has delivered time and time again this season, and tonight was his best performance as a pro. He converted on all six of his attempts, giving the Ravens their 18 points for the game. Without Tucker they do not win this game. There isn’t another kicker in the league who is capable of that performance. The mixture of Tucker’s talent and confidence is unparalleled, and the rest of America got to see that tonight. He is having a career year, and it appears as though the Ravens have found their kicker for the next decade.
5. Something is going on here- If these past three weeks have shown us anything about this team it is that something special is taking place. After starting 4-6, the Ravens are sitting at 8-6 with two games left to go, and can still win the division. Sure, luck has played a factor in this improbable run, but it takes a total team effort to get to this point. These wins aren’t just your typical regular season wins, these are crazy finishes that make a team that much closer. There is something going on here in Baltimore with this team. It is similar to how the Ravens playoff run started last year. This is a veteran team, with a veteran coach, and Super Bowl winning quarterback. That is a dangerous combination, and these past few wins are only instilling more confidence into a team that can be dangerous in January. They’ve seen it all this year and nothing has fazed them. They are tested, and are capable of doing some serious damage in the postseason. First, they have to get there. If they are still standing in January, they have a legitimate shot at making it to New York.