The Baltimore Ravens, for the first time since 2009, have lost back to back games and yesterday fired their offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The Ravens are about to embark on a very tough three game stretch to close out the season, and although they have not clinched a playoff spot, they basically have. So what's ahead for Baltimore?
First, let me break down the playoff situation. The only way the Ravens do not go to the playoffs is if they lose their final three games AND Pittsburgh and Cincinnati win their two games that are not against each other and tie when they play each other in week 16. So basically, although we have had a tie this year in the NFL, Baltimore has clinched a playoff spot and still control their own destiny as they play the Bengals in week 17.
Now, let's breakdown what Baltimore is really facing here. In the final three weeks of the season the Ravens will face, in order, the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and Cincinnati Bengals, yes that's Manning, Manning, and a division rival. Quite a tough task for any team, not to mention a team that has already lost two in a row and will now be going forward with an offensive coordinator, Jim Caldwell, that has never been in control of offensive play calling, ever. One bright note regarding their schedule down the stretch is they get to face both the Manning brothers at M&T Bank Stadium.
It is no secret that the organization, coaching staff, players, and fans are thrilled that this team is likely to be going to the playoffs for a fifth straight season, but everyone aforementioned knows that it is Super Bowl or disappointment. Gaining momentum is extremely important heading into the playoffs. Of the last five Super Bowl winners, only the 2010 New Orleans Saints (lost last three after starting 13-0) did not win at least three of their final five games before heading into the playoffs. Baltimore would have to win out in order to win three of their final five games in the regular season heading into the playoffs. Having said that, the most important thing here is first ensuring you are in the playoffs, so goal number one is to win one of these final three games to get in, then Baltimore will turn their focus to the playoffs.
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